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Our Man in Havana - A Theatre Review

Our Man in Havana - A Theatre Review

The New Wolsey Theatre have put on a thrilling production adapted by Clive Francis from Graham Greene’s novel Our Man in Havana that truly exceeded expectations.

Set in Cuba in 1958, this fast-paced and exciting production caused laughter as well as tension, constantly flitting backwards and forwards between funny and dramatic. As it was always on the border of the two, the action was propelled forwards and the audience remained engaged throughout.

The story speaks volumes about the extraordinary possibilities that lie behind the ordinary. An everyday vacuum salesman – Jim Wormold – getting enveloped into a life of secret undercover operations is the perfect example of this, addressing the potential unexpected things that could be hidden in everyday life.

A difference of cultures was highlighted in the production, as there were several references to Shakespeare throughout, showing the possible incongruity and alienation that the English characters felt in a country that is not their home.

Some actors played several parts in the production – something that is difficult to achieve in theatre without confusion. This was executed without issue by the actors changing accents, mannerisms and amending their outfits to let the audience know which character they were playing. The characters also often played narrators, coming out of a character to objectively tell the audience what was happening. This assistance given with the understanding of the production, along with the exceptional theatrically diverse talents the actors had, made it a lot easier to understand, making it even more of a success.

The sets and scenes changed often, keeping the action moving forward. The actors did this smoothly and swiftly, bringing onto the stage, rearranging, or eliminating props that they had been using to let the audience know that the scene had changed. Cuban music accompanied this, keeping the audience reminded of the setting, and dimmed lights moved the scene from one to the next.

The mostly mature audience seemingly understood all aspects of the play, and the subtle adult humour was the perfect amount that kept the show alive as well as being taken seriously.

It was clear that everyone in the audience had a great time! An exceptional night out as always at the New Wolsey Theatre.

Review by Sarah Brandon, Undergratuate at UoS.

If you've been inspird by this review, check out the New Wolsey Theatre Events Page to see what's coming up! 

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