Review: 84 Charing Cross Road at The Spring, Havant

Peter Colley as Frank Doel and Jeanette Broad as Helene Hanff. Picture: Russell Blitz.
Peter Colley as Frank Doel and Jeanette Broad as Helene Hanff. Picture: Russell Blitz.
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Full marks to the cast and crew of HumDrum’s production of 84 Charing Cross Road.

The actors give a touching performance, bringing to life this heart-warming and often funny script with skill.

Peter Colley is perfect as chief buyer of the bookshop Frank Doel, charting the journey of his correspondence from formal tones to frantic horror at sending a sub-par volume. There’s genuine affection with beautiful humanity and truth.

Jeanette Broad is divine as the gin-swigging, literature-loving Helene Hanff. Despite an occasional slip of the accent, she gives a brilliant performance bursting with energy, warmth and excellent comic timing.

There isn’t one weak link in the cast. The bookshop staff are like a family, with a shared giggle here and subtle look there. Claire Stevens’ Cecily Farr is a pleasure to watch as she pulls the audience in like a gossipy friend.

A thoughtfully crafted set gives the actors space to play. Lighting is simple yet effective, and a clever use of music with subtly relevant lyrics gives the show polish.

The director Caz Gilmore and her producer husband Darren have created a touching show. It will make you laugh, cry, and leave you with your theatre tastebuds truly satisfied. Until Saturday.