BWW Review: I'LL LEAVE IT TO YOU at Howick Little Theatre
Howick Little Theatre's production of I'll Leave It to You successfully transports the audience back to another time with a sublime attention to detail of every aspect of the production. The full house on Opening Night was treated to a hilarious farce encased in a visually authentic wrapping of superb set and costumes.
The presentation of this play is a beautifully crafted work. The set is divine in both design (David Gilford) and detail (Elizabeth Amiss). On entering the theatre we find ourselves looking into a 1920's English country home.
The costumes are also outstanding with the same attention to detail that permeates throughout this entire performance. Accolades to Judy Rankin.
Under the very experienced directorship of Laurie Mills, the cast deliver authentic and lively characters who drive the story and take the audience on a captivating journey.
Accents are perfect and the crucial timing required to deliver the quips is there.
The story takes place in the immediate aftermath of the Great War and finds a family of youthful slackers and their distraught mother caught short of cash and prospects after the death of their respective father and husband and amidst an economic downturn. But a mysterious uncle with a life-threatening illness and mining interests in South America is soon on hand to promise his entire fortune to the nephew or niece who carves out the best career and makes good.
By the time Uncle Dan makes an appearance a year later, the two brothers and three sisters have become successful in their respective careers of engineering, music making, movie acting, authorship and scholastic achievement.
Anna Baird in the role of the recently widowed Mrs Dermott, is the epitome of woman of her status and time. Practical or realistic she is not but Baird delivers the naivety of her character with a clever wit that Mrs Dermott herself would be completely unaware of. She is not going to allow the character of her dear brother Dan to be criticised in anyway, not even by her beloved children who usually have her well wrapped around their fingers.
Crafty Uncle Dan cleverly played by Ian Milnes is dry witted with overtones of a 1920's style John Cleese and not unalike him to look at. His asides are perfect and he had the audience in his hand.
The ladies move like ladies and the gentlemen also. The maid (Catherine Syme) shuffles along and we get the impression early on that she knows a lot more about the 'goings-on' than she's revealing.
Hamish Regan as Bobbie Dermott was a personal favourite both as a character and a performer as was Elise Rechtschaffen as the beautiful movie star Sylvia Dermott, who reveals that she's more switched on than we are initially led to believe, gives dear Uncle Dan a competitor in the cunning stakes.
Siblings Oliver, (Nick Lloyd), Evangeline (Hazel Buckingham) and Joyce Dermott (Amy Guthrie) are all authentic in the portrayal of their more earnest characters paying homage to the pen of Noël Coward who was only 20 when this comedy gave him his first taste of West End success as a playwright.
Supporting the story is Mrs Crombie (Linda Kerfoot) and her daughter Faith (Freya Gander). Kerfoot is as suitably suspicious as she is elegant and makes Uncle Dan most uncomfortable in the most socially of acceptable ways (of course). Faith has absolutely no mind of her own and her interests in a beau are purely of the financial kind; her desire to please dear Mother being the centre of her shallow universe. These two are also great in their roles and Kerfoot's subtle facials and Gander's complete insincerity add to the flavour of the fun.
I'll Leave It To You
10 November - 1st December
Howick Little Theatre
1 Sir Lloyd Drive,
Lloyd Elsmore Park,