Paul T Davies reviews Dear Lupin, this week’s offering from the Frinton Summer Theatre.
Frinton Summer Theatre.
Frinton Summer Theatre Website
What a delightful surprise Dear Lupin is if, like me, you don’t know the play or the source material. A series of letters written by Roger Mortimer, racing correspondent to The Sunday Times, to his son Charlie, they were an instant hit when published, and this adaptation by Michael Simkins ran on the West End and a UK tour. The gap between the jollity and wit of the letters and the sad truths of addiction, (Charlie fought his battles with drink and dugs), illness and aging, is beautifully written and conveyed. Whilst some of the first half felt a little dated, and both men were Eton educated, a million miles away from the experience of most people, the second half has surprising relevance and emotion.
It works mainly because of the two excellent actors. Will Taylor as Charlie and Anthony Pedley as Roger work beautifully together, with expert comic timing, the punchlines land with ease. Will, one of our finest young actors, is playful, annoying, sometimes challenging as Charlie begins to go off the rails, and his father’s denial is beautifully portrayed by Pedley, it’s what isn’t said between them that carries the truth of the play. The second half is beautifully poignant, and director Mike Harris has a finely judged sense of when to let the play breathe. The script contains original sequences, such as “Celestial Mastermind”, that convey the biography without loading it with exposition, and there is dancing that causes a lump in the throat!
The design, of course, is beautiful and functional by Sorcha Corcoran, she never fails in creating an atmosphere with the simplest of tricks. In the lovely and cool McGregor Hall, (the new ventilation system works a treat!), this was another gorgeous discovery of a play, with the audience absolutely delighting in the swear words! A special thanks to the amazing front-of-house staff who work so hard to keep us feeling safe and informed.
You don’t have long, the show ends 25th July, so book now!