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Posts Tagged ‘Freddie Hutchins’

When I decided to head north to Kentish Town to add to my Rattigan collection, I wasn’t expecting to be quite as surprised as I was. This wartime play set in wartime London is a rom com / farce and very unlike any other Rattigan play I’ve ever seen. No repressed emotions and lots of laughs!

The young Earl of Harpenden is about to marry the daughter of the Duke of Ayr & Sterling during his navy leave. He’s without a family and without a commission (a mere matelot) but with money, something the gambling Duke is banking on. A case of mistaken identity threatens the marriage as an American lieutenant he befriended the previous evening makes a pass at his betrothed, thinking her a girl the Earl has set him up with. This is after a French lieutenant becomes smitten with her too, on her train journey from Scotland to London. Cue lots of coming and going and confusion. It’s really rather funny.

The problem with the venue – The Lion & Unicorn pub theatre, a new one for me – is dreadful sight lines, with no stage and no raking for the seats except the back two rows. From the fourth row you couldn’t see much when the characters sat down, so the fact I enjoyed it so much may say something about how good it was. 

The performances of Freddie Hutchings as the Earl and Patrick Rogers as the Duke are hardly subtle, occasionally manic, but they are very funny. Iestyn Arwel and Mark Conway as the American and French lieutenants respectively are more restrained, with excellent accents. Bret Jones’ valet Horton does a fine line in withering looks and both ladies – Greer Dale-Foulkes and Sophia Sibthorpe – were excellent.

I’m not sure it was meant to veer so much into farce, but I’m not sure that mattered. It was a fun show so well staged that I was further surprised to find that the director Marieke Audsley is still studying directing (though she gained a lot of experience at University and has been in some illustrious company during her placements)!

Good to catch another rare Rattigan; one which shows his range too; pity it had only a handful of performances.

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