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Breath Of Spring: April 2006

By Peter Coke

'The Weekend' programme cover

Newspaper Review

Graced with the presence of the playwright himself - who lives in North Norfolk and is now 93 - a full-house audience enjoyed a comic treat with icing on the top.

Peter Coke's 1958 play features a band of batty lodgers who reside in the South Kensington home of Dame Beatrice, ex-suffragette and wannabe philanthropist who lacks the funds to fuel her largess ... until Lily, her ex-con maid, fleeces a fur ("Breath of Spring" Mink)) from a rich neighbour as a thank-you gift.

Aghast and appalled, Beatrice and her lodgers - under the military command of resident Brig Bertie - hatch a hilariously executed plan to return the stolen goods.

Having had so much fun carrying out the plan without being caught, they transform themselves into a slick fur-filching gang, robbing the rich to help the down-at-heel, while Beatrice and Lady Alice vie for the affections of their commandant and Lily tries to keep straight.

Joyce Harvey, as director and producer, has done the play and playwright proud.

Without exception, these Sheringham Players inhabit their eccentric characters with conviction and vitality, delivering many very funny one-liners and ensemble set pieces of high humour.

Once again, Libby Henshawe reigns supreme in the wardrobe department and Kees Van Woerkem's set of faded elegance is spot on.

If you do nothing else this Friday or Saturday, get yourself down to the Little Theatre, you're guaranteed at the very least a jolly good giggle.

Sally Whitman


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