Lettice and Lovage, Titchfield Festival Theatre, St Margaret's Arts

PETER Shaffer’s award-winning comedy has at its centre the flamboyantly theatrical Lettice Douffet, tour guide at England’s dullest stately home.

In her attempts to liven up the house’s history she invents increasingly outrageous stories, eventually being fired by her boss Lotte Schoen. The two women later become good friends, acting out scenes from history in Lettice’s flat, until Lotte is injured while being “beheaded” in her role as Charles I.

In the demanding central role, Georgie Gulliford brought considerable sparkle and panache to the part of Lettice in her quest to “enlarge, enliven and enlighten”, while deftly bringing out the character’s innate vulnerability.

As the initially prim and proper boss, Kay Fraser was delightful, particularly as Lotte comes under Lettice’s spell and their friendship builds.

Two engaging smaller roles also contributed to the evening’s enjoyment – Mandy Watmough as Lotte’s giggly PA, and Peter Trott as the theatrically-named Bardolph, Lettice’s thoroughly confused solicitor.

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