Titus Llewellyn-Gwlynne, actor/manager of the Red Lion Theatre, has lost a backer who was going to fund a theatrical tour – when unexpected salvation appears. Their home theatre in the East End of London having been bombed during the war, The Red Lion Touring Company embarks on a tour of Britain to take a play written by their new benefactress into the provinces.
This charming series transports the reader to a lost post-war world of touring rep theatre and once-grand people who have fallen on harder times, smoggy streets, and shared bonhomie over a steaming kettle. The mood is whimsical, wistful, nostalgic, yet with danger and farce along the way.
Peter Maughan’s early career covered many trades, working on building sites, in wholesale markets, on fairground rides and in a circus. He studied at the Actor’s Workshop in London, and worked as an actor in the UK and Ireland, subsequently founding a fringe theatre in Barnes, London. He is married and lives currently in Wales.
My thoughts: this was a lot of fun, with the rag tag cast of the new play, Love and Miss Harris, hitting the road for a tour of the home counties and the seaside. Unknown to them a murderous gangster is in hot pursuit, trailing them through numerous small towns and B and Bs.
Titus thinks he’s living in a Shakespearean epic, Dolly’s reliving the glory days of the music hall, Jack’s getting all the girls and they’re accompanied by the play’s writer and her outsize hound.
Funny, charming and highly enjoyable, I’m glad there’s at least one more book about the Red Lion troupe to come.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.