Back to reviews

Ladies in Lavender

What a charming and evocative play to start the Autumn/Winter season at the Rep.  A beautifully written play, with moments of humour and pathos, brought to life by a very good cast.  The storyline concerned a young Polishman who was washed up on shore and taken in by elderly sisters, showing the way he brought changes to their lives and feelings.

The set was very well-designed by Alan Goss, who also directed, with the living room taking stage right, and stage left divided between a raised section for the bedroom and a lower section for the garden – all very tastefully presented and dressed.  The sea wall covering the front of the stage with steps stage right, also created another dimension for the set, and meant that there were no real breaks in production, except where changes of costume were required.

I felt that the play itself was very gentle, and examined a life that reeked of tradition and feelings surfaced that the older ladies didn’t think they’d have again!  However it was quite slow, I would have liked the long silences and delivery to have picked up a little more pace at times.

I loved the music, and the placing of the two violinists – very well done, making the piece more meaningful.  The music cut out rather abruptly at times, I would have liked to hear a more gradual fade, but that’s personal choice.

The play was well-cast, with Angela Goss and Susan Young playing the two sisters, and showing the changes that a young man to care for made to their lives.  Susan was the slightly more knowing woman, having had a relationship in earlier life, very well characterised, with Angela playing the typical spinster who had not experienced love, but found something in the young man that stirred her.  Such a graphic but restrained portrayal, that made me feel both exhilarated and sad.  I also enjoyed the restrained but effective reading of the Little Mermaid, so soothing and emotional.

Chris Young played the rather gungho Dr Mead, a good foil to the ladies, showing us the feelings of a widowed doctor when a young woman came onto his radar – loved his offer of cheery scones and bloater paste sandwiches – lightening his rather stern profile.

Dorcas was played with great emphasis by Christine Rayment.  She had some lovely lines, and was the typical nosey but concerned housekeeper.  Her emphatic portrayal contrasted well with the gentler ladies.

Andrea Marowski, the young Polish man, was nicely played by Alex Brewer, giving us the uncertainty of someone trying to make himself understood in a foreign language, and his olde worlde charm when speaking to the ladies, whilst accepting the fact that he needed to learn English.

Kim Albone played Olga Danilof, a young artist, instrumental in getting Andrea to break away from the ladies and make a life for himself as a violinist.  She brought a briskness to the part, which again contrasted well with the ladies.

Overall an accomplished production, very calm, tender and somehow soothing, but also bringing many different feelings bubbling to the surface.  Well done to everyone involved, I really enjoyed the evening.  

Dunstable Rep


review date:26th September 2017

Little Theatre, Dunstable

Director:  Alan Goss


Back to reviews