Review by Fran Edwards
With a background in acting and vast experience in writing plays for radio and television many of which have been adapted for the stage, Jill Hyem wrote We’ll Always Have Paris in 2010. The script is well crafted and shows Hyem’s clear understanding of her characters. This story of three ladies “of a certain age” takes an amusing look at old friendships and the ability to change, with a title stolen from Rick’s dialogue in the classic film, Casablanca.
As Nancy, former schoolteacher now living in a Paris apartment, Deb Walsh is down to earth, friendly and welcoming, exchanging jibes and language oddities with handy man Charlot, played by Peter Davies. Both Walsh and Davies enjoy their characters and make them believable. Another ex-pat English lady living in the same building, Raquel, is portrayed by Sue Wylie. A cougar on the prowl she brings the fun, and Wylie inhabits the character with gusto. The focus of the plot is mousey Anna, whose husband has died after a long-drawn-out illness, arriving for a visit with her old friend Nancy. Lindy LeCornu scores as the meek housewife who has never ventured beyond the limits of her home. LeCornu’s character blossoms beautifully as the play unfolds.
The only other character, Madame Boussiron, is played by Vicky Horwood in her return to the stage. Madame has much dialogue in French (I can’t confirm its accuracy, but it sounded authentic) and she displays the character of the frosty landlady very well. Davies is the other French native and his accent is good but a little inconsistent, but that did not matter.
Brittany Daw has given them a believable set, used well by director Norm Caddick, demonstrating his experienced hand, well lit, as always by Richard Parkhill with a suitable soundtrack devised by Ray Trowbridge, who also stage managed the whole well.
This little gem of a play is worth a look – it will give you a warm feeling on a cold night.