Cuban Cold War romp to clean-up

Ross Bannister,  Phil Gascoyne and  John Fereday from  the cast of Tudor Players' production of Our Man in Havana, Library Theatre, Sheffield, February 19-23 2013

Ross Bannister, Phil Gascoyne and John Fereday from the cast of Tudor Players' production of Our Man in Havana, Library Theatre, Sheffield, February 19-23 2013

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THIS time last year Tudor Players presented the Sheffield amateur premiere of the adaptation of The 39 Steps still running in the West End. There was a warm response to the modern, humorous and zany version of a literary classic where four actors play an endless array of roles.

So now they are repeating the formula by staging Our Man in Havana, Clive Francis’s version of the satirical story by Graham Greene about an ineffective English vacuum salesman in 1950s Cuba who is appointed by the British Secret Service to be their Man in Havana. With four actors playing endless characters the result is a hilarious, sinister, colourful and madley frenetic romp.

Greene, who himself worked for MI6, wrote the book based on a Spanish double agent in Lisbon during the Second World War who gave his German handlers disinformation by pretending to control a ring of agents all over Britain, inventing armed forces and their movements and operations in the process. This agent was the main inspiration for Wormold the protagonist in Our Man in Havana. Greene decided to set the plot in Cuba which he had visited several times in the early Fifties as this was a better setting for a comedy which highlighted the absurdities of the Cold War.

Rod Duncan directs his production for Tudor Players with a cast of Francesca Larkin, John Fereday, Phil Gascoyne and Ross Bannister. It runs at the Library Theatre from Tuesday to Saturday and tickets are available via 2853450 or email tickets@tudorplayers.net

Tudor Players will be following this with Ira Levin’s Deathtrap, the classic thriller which they staged in the early Eighties, from May 21-25. Then in October they will be presenting Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee’s evocative story of life in a small Cotswold village.