Siobhan Godwood enjoys an enthralling recreation of the classic tale at the Arts Theatre
The production of A Room with a View at Cambridge Arts Theatre is a wonderful night out, whether you’re already a fan or are completely new to the story. Based on the novel by E M Forster, and set in 1908, the play also owes a great debt to the hugely popular 1985 Merchant and Ivory film that famously starred Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy Honeychurch.
From the moment the wooden shutters slid back to reveal a sun-drenched Florence, the audience was completely transported, and although I’ve seen the film enough times to have pretty much memorised the dialogue, it wasn’t long before the leading actors – particularly Felicity Kendal as Charlotte Bartlett and Lauren Coe as Lucy – erased all memories of the original screen actors in my mind and truly became their characters.
Also worthy of special mention are Jeff Rawle as Mr Emerson, and Joanne Pearce as Eleanor Lavish, although Charlie Anson as the deplorable but hilarious Cecil Vyse almost completely stole the show.
The scenery was simple but extremely effective, moving the audience with ease from the hills of Tuscany to an Edwardian Suffolk country garden, and the play has moments of high comedy interspersed with scenes of tragedy – all as a background to the enduring love story of George and Lucy which has captivated generations of readers and viewers.
And for those of you who might be wondering whether the play recreates the full nudity of the film’s famous bathing scene…well, I would hate to spoil the surprise!
Interested? Read more here.