One look at the programme reveals its cast of four men, so where’s the aunt? Well this cast play over 25 characters of all sexes, races and nationalities, and the sense of fun this generates makes this a terrific production of Giles Havergal’s adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel.
All four actors are dressed as the staid nephew Henry to the enigmatic Aunt Augusta, and all play that role from time to time – frequently at the same time, which is a neat trick. But then one becomes the aunt, another the aunt’s “friend”, another a girl on the train, another a CIA agent – ah yes, we’ve already duplicated. It’s very lively and entertaining, keeps you on your mental feet as an audience, and tells its rather intriguing and exciting tale at a splendid pace.
It’s also very inventively designed. You’re greeted by a stage full of suitcases of all sizes, and quickly you realise that many of the suitcase facades are doors to a variety of outside worlds. No wonder the theatre called on the good people of Northampton to surrender their unused suitcases.
The cast are all great, but I particularly liked Miltos Yerolemou, great in the RSC’s recent Twelfth Night, whose character of Wordsworth was a long way from the Lake District, and James Duke who most astonishingly flitted from being the staidest Henry to the untrustable CIA agent in the blink of an eye. I hope this production gets seen elsewhere as it’s a huge effort to go to for just 2 and a half weeks in Northampton. (Not that we’re not grateful, keep up the good work!!)