LADIES In Lavender is a story told with the most gentle brush strokes and it really does play on your emotions, without trying to do so.
Two sisters, living together in their dotage, have their lives transformed when a handsome and charismatic young man enters their lives. He''s foreign too, which adds to his appeal.
We also have the widower GP Dr Henry Mead, a respected and well known figure in the Cornish village he so dutifully serves. His affable nature hiding his loneliness. What a pity then, he's drawn to that study in aloofness, Olga Danilof.
I was overcome with excitement when I heard Barry Purves was directing and designing this production for Altrincham Garrick. Not only has he coaxed some memorable and moving performances from his cast, he's also created a set equally deserving of the audience's applause. The Garrick are so lucky to have him and his bottomless pit of creative skills.
Mags Johnston and Margaret Leslie exhibit a natural and convincing chemistry as sisters Janet and Ursula Widdington, trapped in a safe, dull domestic routine. Chris Wagstaff, who is only 20, delivers a performance way beyond his years, yet again, as their mysterious house guest Andrea Marowski. If Chris wants to turn professional he has the talent to do it.
John Keen delivers a beautifully understated performance as the disarmingly decent Dr Henry Mead, not the only lonely heart in this engrossing piece.
The role of Dorcas, the sisters' straight talking housekeeper is a gift for Ruth Metcalfe and Fiona Primrose has quite a presence as Olga Danilof. But you're certain to hate the way she treats the nice Dr Henry.
Once again Altrincham Garrick sets the standard but really, what do you expect with Barry Purves at the helm? Unmissable, a triumph.
* Until September 16. The box office is on 0161 928 1677. Star rating - *****