(Role: Jack Chesney)
That gallant old lady, Charley's Aunt, who gallops across the stage of the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, with gay abandon and enormous hilarity in Jack Rodney's production, seems not a whit disconcerted by her approaching 68 years.
There is little enough new to say about Brandon Thomas's farce. If you have seen it you know it. If you haven't, make haste to repair the ommission at once.
This is a production in the richest traditions of farce - slick, swift, easy moving and with a timing that is a joy to watch.
Last nights audience laughed and laughed. It was a very full house, which may or may not reflect what Coventry wants - booking has been so heavy that the run has been extended to three weeks - and despite the announcement that Alan Howard had severely sprained his ankle during rehearsals but would still be playing, it was prepared to enjoy itself.
Oxford in the '90s
Mr. Howard, Richard Martin and Charles Kay make as exquisite a trio of late '90s Oxford undergraduates as one could wish for. Messrs. Howard and Martin dazzle in college rooms, garden or drawing-room, in suits, blazers or evening dress. It is Mr. Kay's Babs - Lord Fancourt Babberley - who must carry off the honours.
Lurking, as the famous aunt from Brazil ("where the nuts come from") behind a wall, a rose between his teeth, bouncing, bounding athletic and mobile-faced, over all the stage hitching up his volumious skirts and flirting outrageously, he is quite brilliant.
When he and Miss Cherry Morris, as the real aunt (how fine a comedy artist Miss Morris is) play a scene together, what transports of delight! The remainder of the cast is never less than adequate and often more so, and Sally Hulke has designed agreeable settings.
Birmingham Post, 29.12.59.
Staff Reporter (K.G.)