The Heiress by Augustus & Ruth Goetz

Tue 4th July to Sat 8th July 2023

How refreshing it was last week to see the Heiress. The wordy script by Augustus and Ruth Goetz is based on Henry James’s novel, Washington Square. Set in 1850s New York, it tells of the wealthy widower Dr Austin Sloper, whose only child, Catherine, does not live up to his expectations. She finally finds love, only to be wrecked by her father’s belief that her suitor is a gold-digger.

The script deftly delivered by the tight cast of nine, who were pacey, clear and engaging throughout. Rebecca Humphrey was outstanding as Catherine, who transformed from wilting wallflower to double bluffer. Richard Grant was perfect as her protective yet scary father and Nicci Harvey was an ever-welcome presence on stage as his larger-than-life sister Lavinia Penniman. Anthony Pollard impressed as handsome smoothie, Morris Townsend, Catherine’s love interest. His angry outburst with the doctor was beautifully handled. Amy Bradshaw, Helen Foreman, Lara Colotto, Charlie Sinclair and Maggie Kirk completed this efficient, interactive cast.

The elegant and charming set was designed by Nick Lewis. The play was director John Foreman’s swan-song and he’s gone out on a high.

(edited from Gordon Birch’s review in the Harborough Mail)

Photos by Andrew Wallace