Lettice & Lovage – in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK

Sir Peter Shaffer’s sparkling comedy and exquisite satire Lettice & Lovage was first performed in 1987.  It ran for over 700 performances and when in 1990 it was revised for Broadway, it swept the board in Tonys that year. This fabulous play, performed by kind permission of Sir Peter Shaffer’s Charitable foundation, will be read by five notable actors – Dame Maurine Lipman, Tom Conti,  Anne Reid MBE, Miranda Hewitt and Cassandra Hodges.
  A special performance of this comedy will take place on Sunday 24 March 2024, at the Ambassador Theatre in support of Alzheimers Research UK.

Lettice Douffet is a flamboyant tour guide, who imaginatively embellishes the history of the Elizabethan stately Fustian House.  The visitors mostly enjoy the manner and content of her delivery of  her ‘historical accounts’. However the bureaucrat, Lotte Schoen, from the Preservation Trust that employs her, is appalled by her blarney and promptly sacks her. The confrontation between these two women and a great deal more is  brilliantly explored in the play.

The Sir Peter Shaffer Foundation kindly gave the permission for the play to be used for this charitable event. The evening is dedicated to supporting pioneering research into new methods of diagnosing, treating and preventing dementia.

The 24 of March is an evening where entertainment meets social commitment and performance readings by five leading performers:

Maureen Lipman is an English actress, columnist and comedian. She has been acting for over 50 years. Her stage work has included appearances with the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. . Lipman has appeared in films, TV programmes and in the long running 1987 advertisement for British Telecom. She was cast as the character “Beatrice Bellman” (“Beatie/BT”), a Jewish grandmother in a series of television commercials. Her film appearances include The Pianist (2002), for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Polish Film Awards. In 2017 Lettice & Lovage was staged at the Menier Chocolate Factory, London, where Lipman played Lotte. In his review for The Guardian of this production, Michael Billington writes ‘from the start, [Lotte] hints that there is more to this brisk bureaucrat than meets the eye’ . Lipman was nominated in the BAFTA Awards for Best Light Entertainment Performance (role in Agony) and for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Educating Rita. She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance in 1985 (1984 season) for See How They Run. Her show, Live and Kidding, performed at the Duchess Theatre, was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment. These are but a few of the awards and nominations which acknowledge Lipman’s talent in different roles.

Tom Conti planned on being a pianist and by sheer chance stumbled into drama and not a career in music. Early struggles as a poor actor came to a blissful end with the Savages. A play by Christopher Hampton. It premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London in 1973.  He convinced the director that no one but him could successfully play the part. That was the door that led to success. He was one of the three leading stars, the others being Paul Scofield and Michael Pennington. Conti’s awards and nominations can fill this page, but it suffices to mention a Tony Award and a Laurence Olivier Award as well as nominations for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award and two Golden Globe Awards.

Anne Reid MBE, a British stage, film, and television actress is known for her roles in long-running soap opera Coronation Street, sitcom Dinner Ladies and Last Tango in Halifax (2012–2020) for which she was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress.She won the London Film Critics’ Circle Award for British Actress of the Year and received a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in the film The Mother (2003). At the age of 88 she is still going strong and performing.

Cassandra Hodges is an actor, writer and producer.

Miranda Hewitta is an actor, Voice Over Artist, Presenter, having worked in Current Affairs and a Speech Trainer.
 She successfully produced a charity performance of Shadowlands (a play by William Nicholson) with Charles Dance, Janie Dee and John Standing, in Aid of Nepal.

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