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Our Man In Havana - Review

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
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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.

Our Man In Havana, Creative Cow
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.

Our Man In Havana
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
Lichfield Garrick stages Our In Havana from June 26 to 28

Our Man in Havana runs at the Lichfield Garrick from Monday 26th to Wednesday 28th June with tickets starting from 17.50 available online or from the box office on 01543 412121.

5 out of 5

Forthcoming tour dates

26 - 28 June Garrick Theatre, Lichfield | 01543 412121

29 June - 1 July Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds | 01284 769505

4 - 8 July Exeter Northcott Theatre | 01392 72 63 63

11 - 15 July Malvern Festival Theatre | 01684 892277

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Why? Splendid Adaptation Of Classic Spy Thriller
When: June 26 to July 15
Phone: 01543 412121
Where: Lichfield Garrick, Castle Dyke, Lichfield WS13 6HR
Cost: Lichfield tickets from 17.50
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