84, Charing Cross Road this weekend

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Theatre lovers who enjoy a play based on real-life events are in for a treat this weekend with Bexhill Amateur Theatrical Society’s (BATS) production of 84, Charing Cross Road.

Set in New York in 1949, struggling scriptwriter Helène Hanff (played by Helen Pierce), who has an antiquarian taste in books, writes to booksellers Marks and Co at 84 Charing Cross Road with a list of books she was looking to purchase; and so begins 20 years of real-life correspondence between Helène, the bookshop manager Frank Doel (played by Lawry Rhodes) and members of his staff.

Among business dealings they share events in their lives and form close friendships. There’s the ups and downs of Helène’s career, her food parcels to Marks and Co during rationing, the Coronation, the Beatles, and the inevitable personal joys and sadnesses.

Other members of the cast are Natascia Mazzucato, John Brown, Jeffrey Bishop, Robert Martin and Sophie Bradbury - who staff the shop - and Sandra Bunday as Helène’s American friend.

Director Peter Bradbury said those who know this play always use the word ‘lovely’ when speaking of it, adding: “There’s a kind of magic to it, and we’ve enjoyed working hard to bring that magic to the stage.”

The play will be performed at The Sanctuary, St John’s Church, Town Hall Square, Bexhill, tonight (November 22) 7.30pm, Saturday (November 23) 2.30pm and 7.30pm, Sunday (November 24) 2.30pm.

Tickets at the door £10, or £8 under-18s, purchase in advance and get £1 off. Visit: www.the-bats.co.uk