EDWARD Fox enthralled packed audiences at Salisbury Playhouse this week, with Sand in the Sandwiches, Hugh Whitemore's engaging compilation of John Betjeman's life and work.

A simple, effective set, and subtle lighting enhanced the performance, on tour from Oxford Playhouse and Oliver Mackwood Productions.

The poem Trebarwith Strand evokes blissful early days on the idyllic Cornish coast.

Less appealing memories are kindled from the poet's schooldays, his adolescence, and studies at Oxford, with reference to the mutual dislike of Betjeman and his tutor C S Lewis.

Marriage to Penelope, dalliances elsewhere, references to journalists, politicians, life and faith are interwoven neatly with lines that have won Betjeman's prolific writing such popularity and gained his recognition as Poet Laureate in his final years.

The appeal of his work is undimmed, and public demand prompted an extra matinee at Salisbury.