Anonymous Players pass challenge with flying colours

Lowther Pavilion, Lytham. Pic courtesy of Google Street View
Lowther Pavilion, Lytham. Pic courtesy of Google Street View

Ladies in Lavender, Lytham Anonymous Players, Lowther Pavilion, Lytham

Shaun McKenna’s stage play, Ladies in Lavender, adapted from the 2004 film with Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, represents a considerable challenge for the Lytham Anonymous Players.

Thanks to excellent well–considered performances from Lesley Jarvis and Joyce Burgess, the result is an evening at the Lowther Pavilion of gentle humour and poignant moments.

The almost elderly Widdington sisters, Ursula and Janet, live a quiet life in Cornwall in 1938 until they find a young Polish castaway washed up on a nearby beach, whom they nurse back to health.

Tom Hunt gives us a delightful performance here as Andrea Marowski, amusingly mastering English and revealing his talent as a violinist.

Joyce Burgess, as Ursula the dreamer, is always thinking of what might have been, whilst Lesley Jarvis is in contrast often comically domestic and matter of fact. They understand each other all too well and create a pleasing chemistry which is at the heart of Jeff Redfern’s production.

Fine character work from Kathy Gemmell, David Parry and Andrea Cave, as housekeeper, doctor and mysterious artist respectively, supports the work of the principals. The frequently changing locations present more difficulty on stage than in a film and a little more pace is needed between scenes.

The play evocatively reflects the atmosphere of 1938 with the menace of Hitler as a dark backdrop, even in rural Cornwall. The cast are to be congratulated on capturing the era and the characters superbly. Runs until Saturday

Julian Wilde