A Room With A View | Theatre REVIEW

“Women like looking at a view. Men don’t”

Last night I saw A Room With A View at the Theatre Royal, Brighton where it stays until Saturday 15th October 2016. I went in not knowing anything about the play or its story, all I knew was that Felicity Kendal who used to be in the ITV murder mystery series Rosemary & Thyme had the lead role. Fast forward 2 hours. . . I thought the play was absolutely fantastic! Whenever I see a show I’m not familiar with, I always seems to love it!

The play is based on the 1908 novel of the same name by English writer E. M. Forster and is about a young woman living in Edwardian England. The first half of the story is set in Italy, and the second half in England. The play tells the story of Lucy Honeychurch a feisty young English rose who accompanies her older cousin Charlotte, on a trip to Florence, Italy during the period when upper middle class English women were starting to lead independent and adventurous lives.

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Staying at the same hotel as Lucy and Charlotte, are father and son duo Mr. Emerson and George Emerson who lack the decorum and tact the ladies are used to, however on a trip to the city Lucy meets George and forms somewhat of a relationship which continues into part 2 of the play set in Surrey, England. As luck would have it the Emerson’s end up renting a villa near to the Honeychurch family home and sparks yet again fly. . . but Lucy has returned home from Italy with Cecil (Charlie Anson) her new fiancé, what will she do?

Felicity Kendal who is probably best known for her role as Barbara Good in the 1975 television series The Good Life stars as Charlotte Bartlett the independent, passive aggressive spinster who secretly has a heart of gold! I absolutely loved Kendal’s performance, you could tell she was totally in character and many times had the audience in fits of laughter due to her quirky facial expressions and general dialogue. I have read several people saying Kendal’s fame and familiarity outshines the others in the play but I totally disagree, the acting is of such high quality you only see her as the character she is playing, you forget who the actress is.

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Lauren Coe who graduated from The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art in 2014 stars as Lucy Honeychurch and does a fine job! Her relationship with cousin Charlotte is somewhat dysfunctional, but Charlotte only has her best interests at heart. Actor Tom Morley who plays the role of love interest George Emerson has a hilarious scene with Freddy Honeychurch (Jack Loxton), Lucy’s brother and Reverend Arthur Beebe which involves full on male nudity which had the whole audience in hysterics! The character Freddy only stars in the second half but is hilarious throughout.

Throughout the whole play I was thinking to myself I really recognise the actor playing the ever likeable Mr Emerson, then during the interval I had a look at my programme and realised its Jeff Rawle who played Hollyoaks killer Silas Blissett! He was scary in Hollyoaks so this role is a million miles away! Again a great job, goes to show his acting abilities are great! From killer to lovable dad!

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I thought the stage was absolutely fantastic, gigantic wooden shutters floor to ceiling which were used to disguise the stage when props were being moved around. And the sound effects and visuals were so realistic, several times the sound of rain was heard which was so realistic I thought I was going to have to open up my umbrella! But thankfully it was just the staging! Also the costume was great, I love the men’s fashion from the Edwardian times! Boater hats and stripped jackets!

A Room With A View was adapted into an award-winning film in 1985 and stars Helena Bonham-Carter as Lucy, Maggie Smith as Charlotte, Julian Sands as George and Rupert Graves as Freddy! I’m really looking forward to watching the film, as Helena Bonham-Carter and Maggie Smith in my opinion are acting greats! There was also a TV movie released on ITV in 2007 staring  Elaine Cassidy, Timothy Spall, Rafe Spall, Laurence Fox and Elizabeth McGovern.

If you get chance to catch A Room With A View while its touring, please let me know what you think! I really enjoyed it! A Room With A View is at the Theatre Royal, Brighton until Saturday 15th October with shows every evening at 7.45p, and matinees on Wednesday & Saturday at 2.30pm CLICK HERE to book tickets. Also if you’re in the London area CLICK HERE to book tickets at the Richmond Theatre.

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