'AN ITALIAN STRAW HAT'

'AN ITALIAN STRAW HAT'

 "A comedy with music in five acts" by Eugene Babiche and Marc Michel (1851), starring Fenella Fielding and directed by Peter Coe

"A comedy with music in five acts" by Eugene Babiche and Marc Michel (1851), starring Fenella Fielding and directed by Peter Coe

M O N D A Y,  2 1  A U G

Sat in the sun all day and read ‘Mansfield Park.’

Pa came home for lunch which we had over in the corner of the flower bed.

Changed into new skirt and pink jumper and at 5.30 we left. Listened to Le Président Rosko all the way down - his accents are really hilarious!

Got to the theatre only just in time, so had to charge to the restaurant and gobble down a Danish sandwich each. We were in Row H, tickets were 7/-. Chichester Theatre is super, you get a much better atmosphere when the stage is all open, you feel more part of the play. The ceiling goes up like a tent, and it's full of spotlights!! At 7pm 'An Italian Straw Hat' began. At first I thought it was going to be boring, it was so like a pantomime, but it got better and better and I ended up adoring it. The acting was superb. It needed to be beautifully timed to come off, and it did. I didn’t quite get the story but it hardly mattered, it was all a mad hunt after an Italian straw hat.

It’s really a French play so what they did to make the provincials sound provincial was give them Yorkshire accents! All the wedding guests were in black and white (except for this hilarious chap who had a twitch in his neck and wore turquoise), all the soldiers and townsfolk were in blue and reds, and the bridegroom had a mauve jacket. The bride, who wore a white wedding dress with black spots, had a white face with no expression and kept going “papa - papa” just like a doll! Fenella Fielding was the baroness, she had green hair, and she was fantastic. Peter Egan was this dandy all dressed in pink and he had a long cigarette holder (like Anthony Blanche in ‘Brideshead Revisited’) - he made me laugh most of all.

The concierge was utterly glorious, she literally flapped in with her little arms sticking out - like a plump rag doll!

I’d go to see the play again just for her. Another hilarious person was this fat chap dressed in about 20 scarves and whenever he came on he said, in such a droney voice, “oh I’m so boiling, I’m sweating all over, my underwear’s soaking”!!! Everything was done beautifully, even the scenery changing. There were four chaps who did it and they came on with the most marvellous walk I have ever seen – they charged around like ducks! In the interval we got ices and stood outside, it was still warm.

The play ended at nine and we popped into Grandma and Grandpa’s before we went home. Grandma showed us the garden in the dark. Honestly, she is incredible, she can't even glance at a flower without mentioning the price - us two were killing ourselves.

 David Bird as the bookkeeper and Michael Aldridge as the horticulturist

David Bird as the bookkeeper and Michael Aldridge as the horticulturist

HANGING OUT WITH LUCY

HANGING OUT WITH LUCY

THE FRINGE RESPONDS TO DIPPITY-DO

THE FRINGE RESPONDS TO DIPPITY-DO