* Dan Pedley as Hannay.
Society regular David Edgar has taken the spy novel Mr Standfast by John Buchan and filled it full of laughs and the resulting two-acter, Hannay Stands Fast, which he also directed, is the newest work the Twenty team has ever performed.
Premiered at the Town Hall last night (Thursday) it had the audience in stitches for most of the action.And action is the right word because, throughout, the stage was the scene of frenetic activity on the part of the multi-tasking and talented cast of just four.
The plot sees Hannay, an old-school British hero, recruited by British intelligence to root out a dastardly German master-spy who is threatening the security of the realm in the days just before the outbreak of the Second World War.Played to perfection by Dan Pedley, Hannay sets about his task with typical British phlegm and along the way enlists the help – and then wins the heart - of the stunningly attractive Mary Lamington, portrayed with real flair by Clare Wall.
The pair get themselves into a myriad tricky and often hilarious situations and meet up with a mind-boggling array of crazy characters which has the cast doubling, tripling and quadrupling up like mad on the parts.Providing the engine of these multiple personas is society stalwart John Clifford who at various points appears as everything from a simple-minded bucolic to a crazy (female) Scottish housekeeper and from a surly gangster to a 1930s travelling football fan.
However, his fellow cast members, including a notable Gwyneth Marshman, are no slouches either and all appear in so many multifarious guises that at times one tends to lose track of who they are supposed to be at any given moment.Prop shifting must have been another nightmare as the scenes change like a kaleidoscope.
A big budget production this isn’t, so it’s particularly enjoyable to watch a scene near the end where a frantic car cash is portrayed as a series of moving silhouettes.And where else could you see a death-defying tussle between Hannay and the baddie, played deliciously by Si Kneale, fought out at the top of a couple of steel stepladders standing in for the Eiffel Tower?
The Twenty Club have got a real hit on their hands with this production which runs again this evening (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday).