REVIEW: A Room with a View at the Chichester Festival Theatre

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The CFT’s winter season continues with Simon Reade’s faithful adaptation of EM Forster’s 1908 novel.

Played with minimal staging, Adrian Noble’s production beautifully evokes the attitudes and mores of the Edwardian English middle-classes. Act One starts slowly and is, at times, curiously disengaging – but Act Two pulls its theatrical finger out and makes good any shortcomings (perceived or actual).

The cast is, generally, excellent.

As Lucy, Lauren Coe never completely convinces. The character offers an actress a large emotional-range to play and Miss Coe rarely explores the full picture. She also has a tendency to stomp around the stage.

Joanne Pearce makes for a lively and Bohemian Eleanor, Jeff Rawle is a pragmatic Emerson and Simon Jones adds comic-value as Mr Beebe. Jack Loxton and Tom Morley are particularly effective as Freddy and George, respectively.

As Cecil, Charlie Anson starts off very much as a caricature; only in his last scene does he seem to find the truth in the man.

It’s probably fair to say that the greatest expectation will be for Felicity Kendal as Charlotte – and, of course, there is no let-down on that front.

Miss Kendal’s performance is gentle, nuanced, gently funny and beautifully sad.

Until Saturday.

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