IAN COLLINS St Edmund's Hall, Southwold
St Edmund's Hall, Southwold
Sometimes I think I've been watching Charley's Aunt ever since it premiered at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal back in 1892...
But this cross-dressing romantic farce is ideal for Jill Freud & Company. As an opener for a 23rd season of Southwold Summer Theatre it left us laughing uproariously.
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This company knows its audience intimately - delivering a little murder here, a light musical there, and Alan Ayckbourn everywhere.
It knows its casts, too - with all bar one of 10 actors seasoned Suffolk veterans.
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This game of charades by which two Oxford students hope to win the objects of their lust will end up nicely because, basically, they all have blue blood, if not noble hearts. At times we laugh in a way that playwright Brandon Thomas never intended.
The loopy young lord who impersonates the as-yet-unseen millionairess guardian aunt of student Charley, when she fails to appear as a chaperone for a lovebirds' lunch, is of course the linchpin of the piece. S/he is blissfully played by Richard Emerson.
But the foil of the real aunt is of almost equal importance. And Patience Tomlinson proves ever-dependable.
Both Charley's Aunts are Angels.
t Charley's Aunt continues until July 22. Box office 01502 724441/722389.