REVIEW: Festival of Chichester: de Musset, ‘The Door’ and Chekhov, ‘The Bear’. Vicars’ Hall, Chichester Cathedral.

The Festival of Chichester served up a treat in the Vicar’s Hall when it presented Love Games, a double bill of two startlingly contrasting one-act comedies of courtship, de Musset’s The Door and Chekhov’s The Bear.

Both plays starred Nick Moran – from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Harry Potter (Scabior) and Mr Selfridge. It is not only his CV that demonstrates his versatility as he moved effortlessly from the diffidence of the Count in the French comedy of manners, gently sparring over beautiful china with Claire Lawrence Moody’s elegant and eloquent Marquise, to the exasperated and rumbustious debt-hunting land-owner, Smirnov, in the more farcical Chekhov.

Ushered into a room full of black-framed photographs by the archetypal ancient servant (local actor Gareth Williams of Flying Pickets fame) he is distracted from his grievances by the obsessively mourning widow, Mrs. Popova, played with just the right mixture of obstinacy and vigour by Emily Rose Smith. The ensuing shouting match almost becomes a shooting match but, as in The Door, love finds a way and all ends happily.

BBC producer Peter Kavanagh was responsible for both direction and translation of the thoroughly entertaining bill which now deserves a wider audience.

Joan Secombe