Matthew Parish, Creative Cow

Graham Greene’s spy thriller Our Man in Havana tours with Creative Cow Productions. Jenny Mather sat down with Matthew Parish of Creative Cow to find out more.

By Jenny Mather

Our Man in Havana comes after Creative Cow produced one of Graham Greene’s other novels Travels With My Aunt last year to great acclaim. The reason the company favours Greene’s novels are for their “brilliant stories”, reveals Matthew Paris from Creative Cow.

“We want to entertain our audiences with the plays we put on and when you begin with such a gem of a story, you hope it make it hard to fail. Our Man in Havana is a great plot and an incredibly topical one to tell at this moment in time.”

Set in Cuba 1958, audiences will enjoy the uproarious farcical elements of Our Man in Havana, which tells the story of Jim Wormold, a hapless vacuum cleaner salesman who is sucked into a dirty world of espionage and double agents.

Thrillingly adapted for the stage by Clive Francis, Greene’s original novel has been filleted to perfection, bringing out the hilarious and subversive.

“It is very apt to be touring this show now.” says Matthew. “Secret agents abroad and “fake news” – it couldn’t be more relevant – whilst it’s still a funny and clever story. Clive Francis has adapted the novel so wonderfully, that it makes it accessible to a modern audience.”

But it’s not always plain sailing reveals Matthew. Selecting theatre shows to produce can be a tricky process.

“We’ve made errors in the past with shows. For example, we toured Hard Times just at the peak of the financial crisis! We realised when you’re performing Hard Times alongside shows like Dreamcoats and Petticoats, people would rather see shows like the latter in the depths of a recession.”

“Touring theatre is not easy but we strive to make it work and stay positive – finding avenues to collaborate with theatres and create work which can go out on the road.”

Our Man in Havana is produced by Creative Cow in association with Malvern Theatres and Buxton Opera House, adapted for stage by Clive Francis and directed by Amanda Knott

Our Man in Havana plays at York Theatre Royal from 29 May to 3 June.