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Review: Crooked Wood, Westacre Theatre

PUBLISHED: 08:01 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:04 20 November 2017

Westacre Theatre: Its new production is a stage adaptation of a Michael Palin TV play. Picture: Archant library.

Westacre Theatre: Its new production is a stage adaptation of a Michael Palin TV play. Picture: Archant library.

Archant 2013

A battle of wills between a wily spinster and suave property developer is played out in Westacre Theatre’s latest production, says Charlotte Valori.

Miss Barwick was born in Crooked Wood; she intends to die there. The house brims with her memories of an elegant, poignant spinsterhood, and her adored, flamboyant father: “It has never deserted me. I can’t desert it. Do you see?”, she gently explains to Andrew Veitch, a hard-skinned property developer sent to encourage her to leave, with a million persuading pounds in his pocket: who will win?

This deliciously English battle of hearts and wits, adapted by Gillian Plowman from Michael Palin’s TV play ‘Number 27’, meanders, teases and charms.

Central is Issy Huckle’s suave Miss Barwick, a wily elderly lady who balances wilful ignorance with confident poise, disarming every invader with deliberate politeness. Richard Morgan’s Veitch goes unexpectedly to our hearts too.

While this production (which continues until December 2) can lack dramatic smoothness, it packs tear-jerking punch.

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