A Cold Supper Behind Harrods
By David Morley
Directed by Philip Franks
An Original Theatre Production
Innovative, Dramatic and wonderfully acted – I highly recommend A Cold Supper Behind Harrods. If you eer see this for a theatre near you or ever online again, I recommend you see it. When I saw this was going to be online, I just knew I had to buy a ticket and I wasn’t disappointed.
Here you can delve into the synopsis and further into the play and why it is so interesting, and I don’t just mean the plot…
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Fifty years after the war that brought them together, three Special Operations Executive agents meet to record interviews for a television documentary.
As Leo, Vera and John wait to be interviewed in a beautiful English garden, drinking tea and doing the crossword, pleasantries give way to deeper darker subjects. A web of self-deception, lies and guilt begins to emerge. Only when all three are about to leave for London in a taxi, for “a cold supper behind Harrods” does the disturbing truth emerge.
David Morley’s heart-stopping play stars national treasure and 4-time BAFTA Award-winner David Jason, Stephanie Cole and Anton Lesser with Saffron Coomber and Lucy Doyle.
Produced by the award-winning Original Theatre Company, whose recent successes include hit online productions of Birdsong and The Haunting of Alice Bowles and stage productions including the five-star revival of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art.
This was unusual and yet very interesting. The play was online and yet not just live, but in a theatre and those online were the audience. Cast came on with their scripts, but there was, amazingly, actual scenery and haunting imagery, that shown wonderful technical skill.
It started with conversation between the writer and director and ended with Q&A session that the online audience could participate in, with the 3 main actors involved in this.
What was fascinating was, because in a sense, it was done in quite a raw fashion, as a hybrid of theatre and radio play in a way, it allowed people to see even more of a purity in the inner workings of how actors work as they came on with their scripts. It wasn’t quite a reading, it was more than that and was fully acted out. There were some stumbles, but with so little time to rehearse, this seasoned cast did remarkably well and those moments really did not matter. It added something quite refreshing and the play just kept carrying on. This was just because instead of weeks of rehearsal, they had a day or two. So, no mean feat! There was a bit of a sense of comaraderie amongst them, which is heartwarming. All of the cast, but especially David Jason, Stephanie Cole and Anton Lesser were amazing and it was so good and exciting to see them on stage in a play.
The plot itself was intriguing. We all hear about war heroes or those that started wars, but rarely, to almost never hear of those who weren’t war heroes, but those, in that gap in history, as it were, who seem like ordinary men in wartimes, doing something that later comes back to haunt them. That’s what this play shows with great thought and consideration. David Jason’s character is convincingly a figment of the author’s clever imagination. Stephanie Cole’s and Anton Lesser’s characters were based on real people. Stephanie Coomber and Lucy Doyle were excellent supporting cast, but nevertheless, with important parts.
The play took its twists and turns into their personalities and lives and bit by bit, like droplets of water that get bigger and bigger, the web of lies comes out, until its pouring with deceipt about what had happened to a woman during the war. The technology to portray this woman every so often was expertly done, just enough to show her and depict the memory of her still lingering, still haunting. It all ends in a terrific crescendo and “revenge is best served cold”. When it does come to its conclusion, it may well stay, grasping you and swirling round your mind after it has finished.
If you ever see this play at a theatre, I highly recommend it. I hope that one day this and other plays from The Original Theatre Company tour to each nation in the UK. They are producing some stunning theatre. This performance was online from the Oxford Playhouse Theatre.