London and Tour
A Room with a View
Adapted from the novel by E.M. Forster by Simon Reade
Richmond Theatre, London, to 22 10 16 and Tour
Runs 2hrs 35 with interval
Review: Tom Aitken, 20 October
Strong cast, but middling production
This is a strongly cast production, directed by Adrian Noble. You will laugh often.
So why only three stars?
For one thing, it seems very wordy, particularly in the first half. I felt often that had it been condensed somewhat it would have been both more amusing and possessed of more sense of movement in the events as we watched them.
The set is good to look at and the full depth of the stage is used so that we can watch several groups of the English visitors who are being bewitched by the squares, backstreets and buildings of Florence in the first years of the twentieth century. In the second half, back in England, we are even offered the spectacle of four men, three young, one middle- aged, capering nude.
The mixed motives of the visitors to Florence are brought out nicely, as are the effects of the trip that they carry back to England.
I’m sure that most people felt that they had had their money’s worth. I would hope, that many of them will have gone home to read or re-read the book.
One problem, perhaps is that although a great deal of the book consists of conversation, I imagine that, good as Forster’s dialogue is on the page, it probably needs some manipulation in order to make its best impact in the theatre.
Another problem could be summed up by the question ‘Who are all these people?’
In short, the production reproduces the book, and while a good many of the scenes are very well played they remain fairly obviously stuff taken from a novel. And the casting of Felicity Kendal as Charlotte Bartlett somewhat distorts the character. Hands up anyone who finds it possible to think of Felicity Kendall as a difficult person.
I thought not.
So… generally enjoyable, informative about social change during the period, and
fairly frequently amusing.
Director: Adrian Noble
Designer: Paul Wills
Sound: Matt McKenzie
Charlotte Bartlett: Felicity Kendal
Lucy Honeychurch: Lauren Coe
Signora Bertolini: Abigail McKern
Mr Emerson: Jeff Rawle
George Emerson: Tom Morely
Mr Beebe: Simon ones
Miss Teresa Alan: Susie Fairfax
Miss Catherine Alan: Judith Rae
Eleanor Lavish: Joanne Pearce
Rev’d Robert Eager: David Killick
Mrs Honeychurch: Abigail McKern
Freddy Honeychurch: Jack Loxton
Cecil Vyse: Charlie Anson