It’s been a while since I saw a production by Lichfield Players – and their latest offering at the Lichfield Garrick this week certainly did not disappoint.
The play, 84 Charing Cross Road, is a vehicle requiring slick timing and the ability to deliver an enormous amount of lines without hesitation, all of which the cast achieved admirably.
From the book by Helene Hanff, adapted by James Roose-Evans, the play tells the true story of the letters between American Helene and a London book shop during the Second World War.
Communications between Helen and the antiquarian book shop manager, Frank Doel, lasted from 1949 and 1969. They included wartime parcels of food and gifts for Frank and his staff.
The two lead characters were played by Denise Baker and Chris Stanley. Denise.- as the brash, outgoing American – played the part to the full, with a superb American accent and great comic timing.
Chris, as Frank, was excellent as the blundering book shop manager who mellows as the play progresses.
This play consists mainly of the reading of the letters between the two parties and switches from London to America while characters play out the normal work of the book shop.
This required a significant amount of ‘business’ by the book shop staff – very well executed by Lucy Dufaye, Sarah Stanley, Rob Lewis, Lewis Stanley and Jan Goodwin.
Beautifully directed by Nigel Lowe, the ‘business’ could have been distracting, but it was simply slick perfection.
The production, which runs until tomorrow (30th September), is a play well worth seeing at the Garrick Studio.
Lichfield Players’ next production is Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime in February.