Ladies Day

Date 26th April 2014
Society Cobham Players
Venue Cobham Village Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Jason Lambert

Report

Author: Jon Fox

I have come to expect high quality productions from Cobham Players and "Ladies' Day", a play I had not previously seen, was no exception.    Set in 2005 when Royal Ascot moved to York racecourse for that season only, it tells the story of four factory ladies who hankered after a "posh" day out at the races.

The opening scene in the fish packing factory set the tone for the evening as the four colleagues and friends gossiped;   their close bond borne out of hard work and relative poverty being evident to all.

The factory set was kept sensibly minimal, focussing attention on the actors with their differing personalities and characters.    The fish when shown could have been slightly more realistic!   The interplay between the four ladies was quite delightful and the humour was beautifully played out.   Moreover, all four ladies had realistic local accents (Hull).    Melanie Cook as Shelley, Jean Burgess as Jan, Karen Budd as Pearl and Beth Barrett as Linda should all be proud of their portrayals and characterisations.   Keith Burgess as Joe, the kind hearted factory manager was convincing.   To his great credit he also played Fred, a stone hearted ticket tout and Kevin, a race going drunk.   He played these three wildly different characters with aplomb.

The beautifully choreographed scene as the ladies donned their "gladrags" was an outstanding highlight.

Graham Budd, as Jim McCormack, a professional racing commentator with designs on seducing Shelley was creepily realistic.   He managed the tic-tac demonstration with accuracy.   There was also a touching scene between Pearl and Barry (Phil Paul) a ghost from her past.  The lighting by Stephen Farr added greatly to the ghostly scene and his fading  from stage.

Director Jason Lambert not only directed this cracking play, a praiseworthy achievement, but also played the woebegone jockey, Patrick, really rather well, though his Irish accent  was not always consistent.

The writer Amanda Whittington created this marvellous play, but the director and actors really brought it to life.    What I particularly liked  was how the pathos was brought out.

Set design and construction by Roger Jones, Albert Westover, and Hilary Baker was simple but effective, the various scene changes being speedily handled.    Costumes by Annie Lambert and the cast did full justice to the characters played.   It was also reassuring to see that the Cobham Players prominently and proudly displayed their membership of NODA in the well set out programme;  Sadly, this is not always the case with other societies nowadays.

Sue and I were given another warm welcome by this talented and friendly company and we both enjoyed a wonderful evening.   Well done Cobham Players!