This was a NOMADS production, at the Milton Rooms Studio. As it progressed, for each of the characters it was indeed their own show. First we met Fay (Claudia Brettle), Gillian (Kirsten Russell) and Jude (Annie Bannister) – 3 ladies of a certain age. Fay, sulking on the sofa, was a TV presenter with her own show, Frankly Fay, complaining bitterly about how This is Your Life had presented her, and about the lack of big-name personalities taking part. The other two were old school friends who’d helped to produce the show, Gillian running her own headhunting business with ££s millions turnover and Jude, an academic who could bore for Britain on the subject of ancient Assyrians. They discuss the show, trying to calm Fay down. Another school acquaintance is mentioned: known at school as Bollards (Anne Whinfield), she achieved notoriety when, urged on by these three, she seduced the geography teacher, who was subsequently dismissed. Bollards and her son (Thomas Jennings) insinuate themselves into the group and, eventually, change their own lives and those of the other characters irrevocably.
Here we saw 5 talented actors giving enthusiastic performances as people with experience of wealth, success, heartache, failure and loneliness: we had middle-class, mid-life crises aplenty. It was altogether an entertaining show – mainly funny but sometimes quite moving. Roger Kay, the director is to be congratulated on drawing together a complex plot within the environment of the Milton Rooms Studio.
I suppose the clue was in the pun in the title – was this play about a lady who had lost her husband or about a dangerous insect? In the end it was both but when the eponymous policeman arrived in a cardboard box and told us he had recently been “posted here” and his sergeant colleague described purchasing his pet arachnid “on the web”, we knew from the start the sort of evening we could expect.
Part farce, part pantomime and perhaps part which had developed in rehearsals, this was all great fun and a real team effort. Seldom off stage themselves, the two policemen were aided and abetted by two ladies, the latter tackling seven parts between them (multi-tasking at its best) but this was only what the playwright intended as his bit of fun at the expense of amateur societies and their sometimes limited resources. Behind the scenes, however, was a further team handling more than 90 props and 50 sound cues – I particularly liked the French windows which spoke to us (in French, of course) when opened.
Malton had only just recovered from floods and a little snow but all credit to the members of this Society for lifting our spirits so well.
Review of Ladies’ Day from the Gazette and Herald, dated Wednesday, June 8th, 2011.