Entertaining Angels stars Brian Asbury, Nicola Peace, Ruth Hawkins, Sue Carter and Christine Kernahan

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I don’t normally say this, not wanting to be thought sexist, but if there ever was a play that’s one for the ladies, Entertaining Angels is it.
Entertaining Angels stars Brian Asbury, Nicola Peace, Ruth Hawkins, Sue Carter and Christine Kernahan
Grace, the widow of a rural vicar is grieving following her husband’s death. She has a grown-up, sophisticated psychotherapist daughter, but as she prepares to leave her home of many years they are joined by her sister from abroad and the new lady vicar who arrives to check out her future home. Then revelations come thick and fast until the pot is seething. Sue Carter as the vicar’s widow Grace makes her believably complex, a mixture of realism and regret. Ruth Hawkins as her sister visiting from Africa keeps us guessing almost until the very end, while Christine Kernahan as Grace’s grown-up daughter Jo does a sterling job of keeping the plot cleverly boiling. Nicola Peace as the new vicar brings a credible insecurity to the part. Brian Asbury manages to bring off the almost impossible task here of seeming other-worldly, but I can’t say any more or I’ll spoil the surprise. This is a comedy, for, and about women, more complex than it seems at face value, a story about mothers, and daughters, and sisters, and wives, about families in other words, and the difficult stuff of real lives. It’s funny, touching, and moving too, full of real revelations and some gentle surprises that had the audience, especially in the second half, laughing out loud. This is a clever play full of everyday conversation which nevertheless is full of depth-charge observations that implode slowly throughout the play. Director Gina Martin has been really clever about marshalling her forces in what becomes a deceptively complex drama. Special mention must go to Andrew Bodger’s set, a little miracle of contrivance. Entertaining Angels runs in the Garrick Studio until Saturday (July 18). For tickets phone the box office on 01543 412121 or go online at www.lichfieldgarrick.com. Phil Preece

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