Travel can be exhausting: Travels With My Aunt

Travels With My Aunt, a revival of Giles Havergal's adaptation of Graham Greene's novel, is currently playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory and it is an enjoyable evening and a great looking production... And the four middle aged men playing all the roles are pretty good too, although it does feel like you are watching a wonderful radio play at times...

The story is about a retired and somewhat boring bank manager named Henry Pulling. At his mother's funeral he meets up again with his Aunt Augusta and finds himself pulled into her unconventional and globetrotting life and her various male companions.

Directed by Christopher Luscombe, it is such a sophisticated production executed with great comic timing that you soon forget that all the roles are played by four actors and get swept up in the story. It is full of humorous touches that make the most of the globetrotting story. The stage is broken up into a waiting room, a train platform and a lost property office holding the various props needed for the piece. A rather unconventional departure board assists with keeping track of the location of the story.

If anything, the adaptation of the piece while being very economical with both story and roles and a great interpretation of the aunt by Jonathan Hyde, you may still wish for a fully-fledged production where the Aunt is played by a separate actress. There is the 1972 film where Maggie Smith plays the aunt, although notwithstanding that Smith has always looked old, she seems a bit too young to be playing this role...

Travels With My Aunt plays at the Menier Chocolate Factory until 29 June and provides cheap laughs and wonderful travel paraphernalia. Just no aunt...

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