Our Man In Havana

Malvern Theatres


Warning - this fruity piece of comedy theatre is likely to make you want to drink Daiquiris, scamper around in a Panama hat and fly off to Cuba.

Cuban salsa music, twinkling lights in palm trees and Latin American archways whisk the audience away to a Cold War Havana in the late 1950s.

Graham Greene's spy novel featuring the inept secret agent Wormold, who accidentally gets enlisted by the British Government, is being brought to life by Creative Cow theatre company in association withBuxton Opera House.

It's frenetic and fast-paced from the start with a superb cast of just four players recreating dozens of characters. 

It's similar to The 39 Steps adaptation by Patrick Barlow that toured to Malvern a few years ago, with a small cast playing all the roles.

Creative Cow is well versed in Graham Greene as it produced Travels With My Aunt last year.

This time around, Clive Francis has adapted the novel for stage and focusses heavily on the comedy elements of the writing, along with a touch of old fashioned romance.

While the first act develops the story of how single dad Wormold is lured away from his day job as a vacuum cleaner salesman in Havana into sending secret messages back to London, the second act steps up the comedy further into more of a farce.

Actor Charles Davies makes Wormold likeable enough to care what happens to him. Davies has the easy job though in comparison to the rest of the cast, taking their turn at all the other characters around him.

There's James Dinsmore, who manages to be totally persuasive whether he's playing a quintessential upper class British secret service gentleman, Hasselbacher the German friend of Wormold's who is under suspicion or stripper Teresa.

Actress Isla Carter is impressive too, particularly changing her demeanour dramatically and quickly to play both Wormold's teenage daughter and the woman that is his love interest.

But it's Michael Onlsow who draws the most attention as he laps up the main chunk of the minor roles, including a hilarious small part as The Queen.

That is just one of the many funny scenes in this production that prioritises the comedy over the darker spy thriller elements of the story.

What you end up with is a hugely entertaining play that keeps the momentum flowing from start to finish and offers up a tantalising taste of Havana.

It's the final leg of the show's UK tour, which concludes in Malvern, so catch it while you can. To 15-07-17.

Alison Brinkworth 


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