GILES Havergal’s brilliant adaptation of Graham Greene’s Travels with my Aunt is once again filling Salisbury Playhouse, this time in a witty and fast-paced new production by Amanda Knott for her Creative Cow company.
It was with this show that Rupert Goold burst onto the scene at Salisbury (where he then became associate director with Jonathan Church), in the Salberg Studio in 1997.
Devon-based Creative Cow has set the show with the background of the Crown and Anchor, the London pub where the redoubtable Aunt Augusta has her lodgings.
Greene’s story is of Henry Pulling, a dull-as-ditchwater retired bank manager dragged from his dahlias at his mother’s funeral by her eccentric and exotic sister Augusta.
What he assumed would be a retirement spent reading poetry, listening to music and tending the garden turns into a whirlwind round of smugglers, espionage, romance and … fun.
Havergal’s addition to this already hilarious story is to have it played by four actors, all of whom (from time to time) play both Henry and Augusta. They also fill in the colourful carnival of additional characters, who include Augusta’s sometime lovers Wordsworth and Mr Visconti, policemen, palmists, shrunken crones, hippies, underage Latin lasses, dodgy accomplices ….
All this is done with minimal props – an urn, a picture frame, suitcases and some Dame Edna-esque glasses to identify who it is that’s playing Auntie.
Richard Earl, Jack Hulland, David Partridge and Katherine Senior are having fun with the ping-pong banter of the show, and the audience is taken along, frissons of shock and delight bubbling through the auditorium.
See it at Salisbury until Saturday 9th April, at Poole’s Lighthouse from 27th to 30th April or at Exeter’s Northcott from 10th to 14th May.