Considered by many to be Dickens’ greatest work, Great Expectations is a brilliant exploration of crime, social class and ambition. Pip, the central character, begins life as an orphan but as the result of an encounter with the escaped convict Magwitch, he shakes himself loose from his background and begins to climb the social ladder. On his journeys he crosses the paths of a myriad of bizarre and bewitching characters, such as the cobwebbed Miss Havisham and the coarse Bentley Drummle.
Whether you’re diving into this classic tale for the first time or revisiting the story, the talented Martin Jarvis operates as a one-man cast, bringing each of Dickens’ characters to life. His skill is such that he deals with men, women, country-folk and city dwellers with remarkable versatility, giving each of them a life of their own. He imbues Pip with the necessary innocence to make him endearing, but without making him so wide-eyed as to become dull. Likewise, his rendering of characters as extreme as Miss Havisham still retain enough humanity as to make them perfectly believable.
Great Expectations is an epic journey, filled with adventure, heartbreak and suspense. Jarvis’ relish of the language only serves to enhance the experience, as he leads us through one of the most enjoyable pieces of literature ever written, by one of the world’s greatest authors.