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Laughs Galore In Adaptation Of Classic 50s Spy Thriller
This slick, sharp and immensely witty stage adaptation of Graham Greene's classic spy thriller certainly stands the test of time despite still being set in tempestuous Cuba in 1958. Actor and writer Clive Francis has done an excellent job of bringing Our Man In Havana to the live theatre, including three nights at the Lichfield Garrick in Staffordshire from June 26 to 28. Our Man In Havana, which is produced by innovative theatre company Creative Cow in association with Malvern Theatres and Buxton Opera House, appears very much like a series of quick-fire sketches with three members of the four-strong cast constantly rushing around and changing as they play a number of different characters throughout the two-hour production. At the same time, the play flows along effortlessly with the help of short bursts of narration from the cast to keep the story moving along.
The cast of Our Man In Havana. Credit Creative Cow
And what a story it is! Greene, who is regarded in some quarters as one of the great English novelists of the 20th century, was apparently inspired to write Our Man In Havana by his own dealings with the murky world of espionage and secret agents during the Second World War. The 'Our Man' in the story is struggling vacuum cleaner salesman Jim Wormold, superbly played by Charles Davies, who has been abandoned by his wife to bring up their teenage daughter on his own. Wormold is desperate to make some quick money, when up pops British secret service man Hawthorne, who recruits him to keep an eye on things, and certain people.
Luckless vacuum cleaner salesman gets embroiled in the spy game
With pre-revolution Cuba, and Havana in particular, very much an American plaything with vice, prostitution and gambling galore, an ordinary vacuum cleaner salesman provides the perfect cover to snoop on people at a time when no-one can really be trusted. And so, Wormold succumbs to greed by 'recruiting' ever more agents of his own, with London footing the bill. Inevitably he gets ever more embroiled in the dirty world of espionage and double agents as the stakes get ever higher. Alongside Charles Davies as Wormold, the other three cast members of James Dinsmore (Hawthorne, Dr Hasselbacher etc), Isla Carter (Wormold's daughter Milly, Beatrice etc), and Michael Onslow (Wormold's assistant Lopez, police chief etc) all play numerous roles to brilliant effect. In fact Onslow's dozen or so characters also range from a pimp to Her Majesty the Queen - a truly outstanding feat.
Lichfield Garrick stages Our In Havana from June 26 to 28