The life I lead is a new comedy from James Kettle performed with great charisma and charm by Miles Jupp.
The slightly unlikely content is the life of the British actor, David Tomlinson.
The archetypal British businessman perhaps best remembered for portraying the irritable bank manager, Mr. Banks, in the film Mary Poppins.
This is a life story of extraordinary highs and lows. The celebrations of life are mixed with deep tragedy, dysfunctional family relationships and a long-lasting friendship with Walt Disney.
Tomlinson unsurprisingly started in repertory theatre, was part of the Second World War and eventually found fame and fortune before enforcing his own retirement with a fictional agent to avoid all offers of work.
The superb Miles Jupp usually at home in a “stand up” routine is engaging throughout.
He inhabits the mantle well, easily weaving a conversational tone around the excellent script from James Kettle, which allows the crests and troughs of the story to evolve with ease.
The simple staging evokes a room setting with a silhouette of Tomlinson cut into the door creating a shadow across the floor.
The hues of sky blue and clouds bring freedom and contrast to the bowler-hatted, black-suited Tomlinson.
Whilst many of the references to Tomlinson’s contemporaries resound with the older members of the audience, this is a production that is both compelling and hugely enjoyable brought to life by a memorable central performance.
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Reviewer: Petra Schofield
The Life I Lead, written by James Kettle and directed by Didi Hopkins and Selina Cadell, is showing at the Theatre Royal in Bath until Saturday 31st August 2019.
For more information and tickets, visit the Theatre Royal website.