Ladies in Lavender, Nottingham’s Theatre Royal - Review by Tony Spittles

BIG-NAME entertainment continues at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal this week with a bittersweet love story that stars two acting greats, Hayley Mills and Belinda Lang, in a premiere stage production of ‘Ladies in Lavender’ that’s pure magic.

They reprise the roles of Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in the 2004 film version as two spinster sisters, Ursula and Janet, living in a close-knit Cornish fishing village in the mid-1930s who rescue a young man they find washed up on the nearby beach.

This UK touring version stays close to its movie predecessor as the sisters nurse their patient, a handsome and talented young Polish-Jewish violinist, Andrea (Robert Rees), back to health, but it’s a recuperation that shows that in life, as in love, not everything that is dreamt about or desired becomes reality.

The sisters’ lost dreams and unrequited love for a man in their past sees them squabbling over their “patient” whose ambitions to be a top violinist in America are helped by a visiting Russian artist, Olga (Abigail Thaw), whose brother is an international musician.

The all-purpose set -- the sisters’ tiny cottage, garden and nearby beach -- add to the focus of the story as the local GP, Dr Mead (Robert Duncan from ‘Drop the Dead Donkey’) checks on the progress of Andrea, as well as trying to befriend Olga, while busybody housekeeper Dorcas (Carol Macready whose extensive stage and TV roles include playing Mrs Tinker in ‘Vicar of Dibley’) steals all the best lines amid serving up her heady parsnip wine.

As in the film, composer Nigel Hess’ score (a favourite on Classic FM) only adds to the enjoyment of this memorable piece of theatre, which is on at the Theatre Royal until this Saturday, 23rd.

For further details of prices and show times, please contact the Box Office on 0115-989-5555.