Dear Lupin: Letters from an eccentric father to his wayward son

Monday 27th January at 7.30 PM The Garrick Theatre, Stockport. Two tickets for the price of one on Mondays – book tickets to a show now!

Appleby Ink Rating: ★★★★


25 JAN – 1 FEB 2020, 7.30PM

Dear Lupin is a comedic study of a father and son, based upon the Sunday Times Humour Book of the Year 2013, Letters to a Wayward Son.

Roger Mortimer, an author and racing correspondent for the Sunday Times and Radio 2, started writing to his son Charlie (affectionately known as ‘Lupin’), who at 15 was on the verge of being kicked out of Eton. Over the next 25 years, these typewritten letters reveal a father’s unconditional love for his son, despite Charlie’s spiral into drink, illicit sex and drugs: “I am very fond of you but you drive me round the bend”.

Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

Michael Simkins’ amusing and heartwarming stage adaptation reveals many more undocumented stories – with Lupin’s father having no shortage of foibles of his own. Using a fast-moving array of props and costumes to tell their tales, the two Mortimers have very different outlooks on the world, but their affection for each other shines through.

Dear Lupin contains instances of strong language used for comic effect.

The play was an hour and forty minutes with a twenty-minute interval. There was a little bar outside the stage room with perfectly priced drinks (which always comes as a surprise because usually, the tickets to the theatre cost a bomb, but in Charlotte Appleby’s experience with her partner on Monday, the drinks were less than £4.00 each, and the tickets were 2-for-1 at £10.50, or concession prices for pensioners and students).

The older actor who played Mr Roger Mortimer senior did well to remember such complex lines that practically included archaic language every other word. A few points throughout the production, the actor slipped up either tripping over his words or speaking just slightly early of his cue. However, he did not let these mistakes fault his performance, continuing on with confidence. In all honesty, mistakes within the dialogue make the narratives sound more natural.

On the other hand, the younger actor portraying the waif of a son needed not to worry about forgetting his lines, having simpler speech and vocabulary with shorter syllables.

The stage set up in the Garrick Theatre was simple yet elegant. With the opening scene showing Roger alone under a spotlight as his son (unknown to the audience at first) narrates as a quiz show host.

The Stockport Garrick Theatre was founded on 24th of October, 1901, by engineer Edwin Heys and his fellow actors: fugitives from the disbanded dramatic society of Stockport Unitarian Church.

Meeting in what was then The Church Coffee Tavern on St Petersgate. The society purchased its current building, an old mill occupied by an assortment of small businesses, in 1920. Since then, the building’s labyrinthine interior has undergone various refurbishments to enhance the society’s ability to produce theatre to the highest standards possible. The most recent work is a complete rebuilding of the theatre bar in summer 2010, providing a welcoming and modern environment for patrons.

This also incorporates space for studio theatre performances, with the aim of broadening the range of drama the theatre can produce and increasing its engagement with new writing. It is the Garrick’s early ownership of its own theatre space that qualifies it as England’s oldest Little Theatre, a status that was celebrated in 2008 by the unveiling of a plaque by President of the Little Theatre Guild, Sir Ian McKellen.


‘Just back from seeing Dear Lupin at Stockport Garrick. Absolutely brilliant! Get your tickets-support your local theatre, see two brilliant performances and cheer yourselves up on a dark January night. What’s not to love?!’

‘Saw the opening night of Dear Lupin at Stockport Garrick tonight. Didn’t disappoint – delivered on every aspect. Very, very funny, with quite soulful and poignant moments, all delivered expertly by two consummate performers. Beautifully and profoundly realised. Loved it!!’

‘I’ve never been [to the theatre] before but this play was an eye-opener, both sad and happy at the same time, yet incredibly funny. I will return for more.’

‘This piece makes you think about life, love, family and connection. It was emotive and had me welling up. Brilliant acting.’

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