Review by Haydn Radford
Three old school friends are drawn together in Paris. Nancy, (Deb Walsh), who has the authority of a former headmistress, is looking forward to a quiet weekend in her small rented French apartment with Anna, (Lindy LeCornu), who is dealing with the death of her husband who she nursed for twenty years. These two English ex-pats with their differing characters and dispositions soon experience some humorous turmoil when a former classmate arrives to join them for lunch. Rachel, (Sue Wylie), a divorcee, after many husbands, has re-invented herself as the sultry and promiscuous Raquel, who seeks eternal youth and her new toyboy.
The villain in the piece is Madame Boussiron, (Vicky Horwood), a stereotypically rude and aggressive French landlady who owns the block of rented apartments and is determined to dominate every situation. Charlot, (Peter Davis), is the apartment handyman come budding frustrated actor who is attracted to Anna, without her approval.
The cast worked extremely well as a team with their polished performances. The game of Monopoly scene with Sue Wylie’s drunken outbursts was delivered in a lively and funny fashion with great comic timing.
Contrasting that with the deep revealing discussion between Deb Walsh and Lindy LeCornu concerning the circumstances of Anna’s late husband’s character and his heart attack was moving and thoughtful providing more depth to the storyline. We see Anna develop from a frumpy and timid person into a more free-spirited woman.
Peter Davis provided a perfect French accent and proved to be quite the romantic when pursuing Anna, despite her rejections.
Jill Hyem’s feel-good play We’ll Always Have Paris will appeal to those who are fascinated with Paris and like anything to do with Paris. The play certainly captures romantic and captivating images of Paris and the picturesque descriptions of Haselmere. English friends watching the performance remarked afterwards how touching the images were for them.
What was a distraction on this opening night performance was the difficulty in hearing the actors due to the cast’s voices at times being too soft. What made his even worse was the thunderous downpours of rain.
Although this play was not entirely to my liking, I did enjoy the contrasting characters and how they interacted with one another. This nostalgic play is a mixed bag of romance, comedy, a touch of drama with subtle sexual references. I am sure it will leave some audiences entertained, charmed and delighted with the romantic humour and the disadvantages and advantages of growing older.