Lettice entertains us


For its final production of the 2005-06 season Court Theatre has chosen Peter Shaffer’s Lettice and Lovage, a 1987 British comedy that celebrates the power of theater to “enlarge, enliven, enlighten.”

The motto comes straight from the figurative escutcheon of Lettice Douffet. Played by Patricia Hodges in half-dotty, half-grande-dame style, Douffet is a woman with a theatrical past and an expert on medieval cuisine (the lovage of the title is an herb used to "enlarge, enliven, enlighten" food and drink) and medieval weaponry. Douffet is also tour guide at Fustian House, a stately home in Britain where nothing ever happened. Then she begins to embellish her tours, with dramatic—nay, fustian—accounts of what should have happened there.

Sent by the Preservation Trust to investigate, Charlotte Schoen—Linda Reiter as bottled-up bureaucrat—is not amused and fires her. But the two women share a passion for larger-than-life people, stories, and buildings, and a larger-than-life friendship is born.

As a play celebrating the power of the theater should be, the Court production is an engaging and entertaining romp. Directed by Lucy Smith Conroy, Lettice and Lovage runs through Sunday, June 11.


Lettice (Patricia Hodges) strikes a pose before a sympathetic audience: Charlotte Schoen (Linda Reiter).

Photo by Michael Brosilow.

May 24, 2006