The two young actors who take the lead roles in the stage adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel which Mark Sterling has developed from Diana Morgan’s dramatisation are very good. The story itself is full of ambiguities, especially those of the title character, and Imogen Slaughter makes Rachel credible as a woman with many pasts but an uncertain future. Slaughter also looks right as a widow of the early Victorian period, even if her wardrobe seems overstocked with shoulder-baring black velvet.
Her cousin-by marriage Philip Ashley is played by Mark Jackson as a young man just shaking himself out of puppydom and veering frantically between diametrically opposed reactions to the people with whom he is comfortable and those newly come into his life. Again, it’s a credible portrait and one which binds the introductory and final voice-over sentences into a satisfactory knot.
There are a number of short scenes as the action incubates over its nine-month gestation and Sterling’s direction allied to Maurice Rubens' seemingly-solid set keeps the whole thing moving. Terry Molloy as the butler assists as he bustles around with trays of drinks, tea services and seasonal flowers. I would have liked some clearer enunciation from Paul Mooney as Rainaldi and Clive Flint as Kendall but Antonia Christophers gives a sprightly sketch of Philip’s cousin, a girl whose affection will never be reciprocated.