by Amanda Whittington
Amanda Whittington’s humorous play tells of four working class Yorkshire women who find themselves with tickets to Ladies Day at The Royal Ascot, which was relocated to York in 2005. The story of how these fish-line workers from Hull hob-nob with the rich, have a little too much to drink and share their secrets in the grand stand, is told in an engaging, comical and entertaining way by the RLT.
We are introduced to the fabulous four on the fish packing line and the simplicity of the set design is so effective that we know instantly where we are. The staging throughout was simple and effective, changing swiftly and smoothly to the racecourse for scene two. The paint work by Andy Massey looked fabulous and earned a round of applause when revealed to the audience. The flawless lighting design by Stephen Walker made us all feel we are not in cold February but rather a warm summer’s day at the races. Add to this the soundscape of Tony Christie and race announcements designed by David Cox, the atmosphere was perfect.
Pearl, played by Angela Ingall, sets the play in motion when she declares they are all going to go to the races on the following day. Angela was perfectly cast as the family-orientated but secretly passionate leader of the girls. The unworldly Jan was brought expertly to life by Jayne Cox and a highlight for me was drunken Jan: hilarious! Sarah Mullins’ physical comedy and timing as gobby, wannabe Shelley, was a joy and newcomer Emily Cheyette as the sweet and innocent Linda was equally as entertaining as her more experienced team. We then had Simon Warner, Barry Nicholls, Peter Lyall and Stephen Walker playing the male roles which added depth to the ladies’ individual stories and all played their roles expertly.
As the play progressed, the hopes and disappointments of our four ladies were unravelled with humour and warmth. By the end of the play, we had all grown so fond of Pearl, Jan, Shelley and Linda that the last lucky revelation was met with a cheer. A huge well done to talented producer Liz Williams for this slick, funny, entertaining show which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Reviewed by Victoria Evans