Disabled lift failure can’t stop Charley’s Aunt romping along

by Jeremy Miles

Creative Cow's production of  Charley's Aunt

I was much impressed last night by Creative Cow Theatre Company’s new version of that perennial favourite Charley’s Aunt. Stripped back just enough to slip seamlessly into a 21st century mindset, the original blockbuster show which wowed the West End in the 1890’s retained its essential and timeless charm and, once it actually got going, fair romped along. I should explain. There was a considerable delay but it had absolutely nothing to do with the theatre company. Ironically perhaps for a fast-moving farce that relies on an ‘old lady’ to wrong-foot the proceedings, the opening night at Poole’s Lighthouse was held-up for nearly half-an-hour after an elderly disabled woman became stuck in a lift that was attempting to lower her and her wheelchair  to a suitable front-row position in the venue’s Studio Theatre. Five minutes after the official curtain-up time a stagehand appeared to apologise for “a technical problem”. Ten minutes later he returned and admitted that the problem in question involved a member of the audience stuck in a lift. The unfortunate lady was eventually extricated, found a suitable vantage point and the play went ahead – 25 minutes late. During the interval she was heard telling fellow audience members that her ordeal had been quite an adventure.

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