Close this search box.

Review: Tess at The Lowry is ‘bold adaption with spectacular results’

This incredible adaption of Thomas Hardy's classic novel, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, is a big hit.

Tess (directed by Alex Harvey and Charlotte Mooney) describes itself as a “Bold New Vision” of Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

Ockham’s Razor’s production provides exactly that at the Lowry, in this physical theatre adaptation of a novel that is as relevant now as it was in Hardy’s time.

Tess at The Lowry

When The Durbeyfield family learns that they are related to the aristocratic Tess of the d’Urbervilles family, their eldest daughter Tess takes her father’s place and must journey out alone from her family’s impoverished farm through the dangerous woods to meet her new family.

When tragedy strikes leaving her family helpless, Tess takes it upon herself to work for the d’Urbervilles which leads her on a journey that leads her down the path to meet manipulative Alec d’Urbervilles (Joshua Frazer), friends Marian (Lauren Jamison), Izz (Leah Wallings) and Retty (Victoria Skillen) and the romantic Angel Clare (Nat Whittingham) in this tragic tale of romance and endurance in the late 18th century.

Macadie Amoroso and Lila Naruse as Tess

The role of Tess Durbeyfield is shared between Macadie Amoroso and Lila Naruse. Amoroso plays the role of narrator and provides context to the scenes with her commanding and heartfelt delivery of Hardy’s prose, which serves as the only dialogue in the narrative.

Lila Naruse delivers a wonderful performance as she displays impeccable choreography and incredible acrobatic expertise. The duo’s performance both vocal and physical combine to create a powerful experience.

The cast is completed by Joshua Frazer, Lauren Jamieson, Victoria Skillen, Leah Wallings and Nat Whittingham who are also brilliant as they each play various different roles throughout the show.

They continue with their displays of incredible dancing, gymnastics and performance art to effortlessly deliver the story.

The entire cast gets time to shine with impressive circus acts and masterful integration of props and scenery in their performance that continues to leave the audience spellbound throughout the show.

Moments of comedy among heavy themes

Though the story does feature heavy themes and doesn’t shy away from the horrors that were faced by women of Hardy’s time, there are still moments of brevity and comedy as the cast do a wonderful job of bringing their characters to life with their performative arts in what makes for a very raw, very human production.

The show’s lighting (Aideen Malone), sound design (Holly Khan) and video (Daniel Denton) mesh superbly with the dancing and acrobatics.

With the music and lighting changing at just the right times, certain scenes hit harder. The video screen helps set the scene and completes the atmospheric feel of the show.

Beautiful costume design

The costumes (designed by Tina Bicât) and props (by Hannah Sharp) fit the timeperiod perfectly and are often used expertly by the cast in their choreography (by Nathan Johnston).

The show is over two hours long with over an hour for the first act and a much shorter second act with the show being divided into different phases of Tess’s life.

The pacing is well done and the timing of the interval is well placed to drive up intrigue for the show’s second half.

Ockam’s Razor’s production of Tess certainly delivers on its promise of a bold new vision with spectacular feats of strength, skill and acrobatic expertise that the cast effortlessly delivers from beginning to end.

Tess is showing at The Lowry until the 17th of February.

You can get tickets by clicking here

Did we miss something? Let us know: [email protected]

Want to be the first to receive all the latest news stories, what’s on and events from the heart of Manchester? Sign up here.


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

Got a story worth sharing?

What’s the story? We are all ears when it comes to positive news and inspiring stories. You can send story ideas to [email protected]

Close this search box.