Theatre Review – Travels With My Aunt (Minerva Theatre, Chichester)

CFT16_WebImages_TMA_title_792x447px.jpg

During my weekend trip to Chichester, as well as An Enemy of the People (running until Saturday 21st May) I also had time to see a matinee of Travels With My Aunt. With a book by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman and music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, this is a new musical based on the 1969 novel by Graham Greene.

It’s a simple (and rather ridiculous) story in which Henry Pulling (Steven Pacey) is perfectly happy with his quiet, uneventful retirement. He has his garden and his dahlias and that’s quite enough for him. However, his life soon takes an unexpected and more adventurous turn when, at his mother’s funeral, he meets his Aunt Augusta. Before he knows it, he is fleeing police and on a flight to Paris where his travels with his aunt are only just beginning.

Hodge1.jpg-pwrt3.jpg

Patricia Hodge as Aunt Augusta

This isn’t the greatest, slickest musical by a long way. It was however quite a pleasant way to spend an afternoon in Chichester and certainly seemed to go down very well with its target audience.

There were aspects of the story that didn’t work for me and which I think highlight the era in which the original book was written, dating the piece as a whole. There is a lot of cliché and cheesy stereotypes on display, such as the under-developed character of Wordsworth, Augusta’s black lover from Sierra Leone. Also Henry’s growing closeness to Tooley (Haley Flaherty), a young hippie they meet along the way, didn’t appeal to me at all and unfortunately I never saw this as romantic, but rather just a bit creepy. It’s nicely played by both actors, but I couldn’t take it seriously. Also, although the songs do contain some rather witty lines throughout, none of them are particularly memorable.

3692

Haley Flaherty, Steven Pacey, Hugh Maynard & Patricia Hodge (Photo by: Tristram Kenton)

Having said all of that, I did enjoy this production for what it was – a quaint, old-fashioned story, which tries to make its audience realise that you are never too old to do anything. The set design has been well thought through by Colin Falconer, who manages to pack a lot in to the small space he has in the Minerva. The use of the centre box as bar, waiting room and entry to Augusta’s flat all worked well and minimal props do a great job of transporting us to each new location on the journey.

The strongest aspects of the show are the performances of Steven Pacey as Henry and Patricia Hodge as Augusta. Pacey plays Henry’s strait-laced English gentleman very well and you do quite like him, finding yourself amused by his exasperation at what he sees as his Aunt’s recklessness. Hodge is wonderful as Augusta. In her smart, colourful, stylish outfits she is a lot of fun and I couldn’t help thinking I wouldn’t mind being that free-spirited in my old age! You admire her passion for life, although imagine if you were Henry, she’d drive you crazy too. They two do have a lovely chemistry that really works here and I found that scenes which focus on them were much stronger than some of the others and it is them who keep you engaged.

So, overall, I wouldn’t say you should make a special trip to Chichester just to see this production. It is however perfectly pleasant for anyone in the area looking to escape from the real world for a couple of hours.

Travels With my Aunt continues its run at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester until 4th June 2016. Running-time is 2 hours 30 minutes (including one interval). For more information visit the website.

 

 

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Solochocolatee

Si te consideras amante del chocolate, estás en blog adecuado.

Thoughts In Intervals

Tarryn Richardson

Telly Addict

I have been watching

Loitering In the Theatre

My experiences, good and bad, in London theatres.

West End Blog

Bringing you independent, honest, experienced reviews of current theatre shows. We believe theatre is something truly magical and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Mingled Yarns

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book

Cultural Capital

Theatre, arts and events in London

Vickster51Corner

Theatre, Books, Food & Film/TV reviews

746 Books

Confessions of a Book Buying Addict

The Book Review Directory

Over 150 Book Reviewer Bloggers Listed

The Day - a Play

Theatre, Films, TV, Art

Cleopatra Loves Books

One reader's view

The X-Files Truth Podcast

"The following podcast is based on actual X-Files cases." Email: XFilesTruth@live.com

WEST END WANDERER

Walking my way around the west end one show at a time

Semi-Partisan Politics

A semi-biased commentary on British and American politics, culture and current affairs

mattsmoviethoughts

Movie and TV Reviews

Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

Life, Faith and Comic Books

%d bloggers like this: