Am I alone in thinking that there has always been something ever so slightly sinister and unctuous about James Bolam?
He approaches his role as an avuncular pimp in the gloomy new British film Stella Does Tricks as a cross between Michael Caine in Mona Lisa, Alan Alda in Crimes and Misdemeanours and Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter.
It looks like she's made it when she hitches up with a fidgety young Jack-the-lad, played with feline grace by Hans Matheson, only to discover that he has problems of his own, and soon Stella finds herself back in the rut of misery and self-loathing that began with the child abuse hinted at in the film's flashbacks.
The director, Coky Giedroyc, has a steady control of her cast, and the three central performances are lovingly detailed.
If the result be the fruits of adversity then let there be more because this is a production in the true tradition of Chichester, full of style, humour, warmth and movement of the highest order.” It transferred to the West End’s Theatre Royal, Haymarket and Mendes’ future as a theatre director was sealed.