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Murky Melodrama Set on the Banks of Old Father Thames

A storm rages and, in the darkest part of the night, a body is pulled from the swirling Thames.

‘This is a story of London, death and resurrection’ sing the cast as way of an introduction to ‘London Tide’ at the National Theatre.

Based on Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, it’s a show that ebbs and flows as much as Old Father Thames.

Across the city, two young women confront an uncertain future. In Limehouse, Lizzie Hexam (Ami Tredrea) struggles to break free of the river and its dark secrets. On the other side of town, Bella Wilfer (Bella Maclean), pictured above, mourns a lost marriage.

The appearance of the mysterious John Rokesmith (Tom Motherside) has the potential to change their lives for ever. Will they sink or swim?

This romantic and propulsive thriller is a hymn to the city and the river that runs through it. Directed by Ian Rickson (Translations) and adapted by Ben Power (The Lehman Trilogy), with original songs throughout, the genius of Dickens meets the fierce musical imagination of acclaimed singer-songwriter, PJ Harvey.

With a typically dense Dickensian plot, involving money, class, inheritance, lawyers, murder, family, love, and, of course, twists aplenty, there’s a lot going on in this three-hour period drama.

There’s also a strong cast, with a particularly stand-out performance from Ellie-May Sheridan as Jenny Wren, a doll-maker and friend to Lizzie.

The set – or more accurately the lighting rig designed by Jack Knowles – is awesome, undulating to evoke the movement of the waters of the Thames, rising and falling like the tide.

London Tides is at the National Theatre until June 22, with Audio Described Performances on May 18 (1pm) and June 20 (7pm), BSL Performance on May 25 (7pm), Captioned Performances on May 23 (7pm) and June 14 (7pm) and Sensory Adapted Performance on May 29 (7pm).

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