Ladies Day at Spotlight

Spotlight Theatre'Dress rehersal for Ladies Day'PA1244-4e
Spotlight Theatre'Dress rehersal for Ladies Day'PA1244-4e

Review by Mike Brown

I GO to the Spotlight Theatre fairly regularly, and while I always enjoy what’s on offer, I usually leave hoping to see a show that takes advantage of the cast’s own accent and background.

And my prayers were answered at the Spotlight last week, as it hosted a performance of East Yorkshire comedy, Ladies Day.

The comedy, written by Amanda Whittington and directed by Pamela Dalley, takes the real-life story of the races being moved from Royal Ascot to York in 2005, and combines it with the story of four fish factory workers from Hull.

The four ladies – Jan, Shelley, Pearl and Linda - ditch work for the day, dress up and head off to Ladies Day at the races to celebrate Pearl leaving the factory to spend ‘quality’ time with her husband.

Starting as a knockabout comedy, all four characters fizz and bounce off each other with bawdy, incisive dialogue.

But as the story develops, so does the audience’s understanding of the ladies love lives.

Shelley – the saucy, debt ridden singleton played with aplomb by Helen Nichols – keeps the laughs coming regularly as she flirts her way into a date with television star Jim, only for her pride (and the rest of the girls) to take her back to the factory.

Linda, played by Julie Taylor, is a diehard Tony Christie fan and is naïve and gullible, downtrodden by her controlling mum until she meets jockey Patrick.

Jan (Liz Edwards) and Pearl (Betty Raywood) are best friends. Jan is obsessed with her daughter’s education and nagged by her feelings for factory boss Joe, while Pearl is excellent as the maternal glue of the group – who is hiding a big secret.

As usual, the costumes and set design at the Spotlight were impressive, as were all the performances.

A special mention must go to Graham Beeston, who portrayed three different characters with skill and humour, as well as entertaining cameos from Bob Downing and Richard Stiles.

All in all, Ladies Day got the crowd geed up for an excellent evening.