The Marlborough Theatre stage echoes the beach, which is little more than a pebbles throw away, with a colourful backdrop of beach huts and two deckchairs placed front centre. On one of the striped chairs sits an old lady wrapped, as old ladies on the beach so often are, in coat, scarf and hat. She waits silently, anxiously, looking over to her left. Another woman arrives, younger than the first, and stands, staring at the older lady.
We soon learn that the first lady is mother to the second and that she now has the knitting that her daughter was sent home to collect. After a while of listening to her mother wittering on about nothing, June Diane Lefley asks, “Why did you do it?”
The total silence on stage is mirrored by the total silence in the auditorium as we all wait to see exactly what can of worms is about to be opened. The tale goes on and is as dramatic as it is tragic, with revelation after revelation gradually destroying the mother / daughter relationship and shifting the balance of power away from one woman and firmly into the grasp of the other.
After the interval we are treated to a second, less dramatic tale, still based around deckchairs. Lefley returns to the stage as Beryl, complete with Kiss Me Quick hat and a huge stuffed tiger. With her is Dolly Hazel Bell, a shy and reserved type and, as they settle in the chairs, we learn that they are on a works outing from the factory.
They seem to have lost everyone else and strayed into a rather deserted part of the beach where the only people that are there seem to be sheltering behind windbreaks. Now, remembering that this is being staged in Brighton, just, as I said before, a pebbles throw from the beach, the entire audience is now looking round with knowing grins on their faces.
After much general gossip and discussion about the various work colleagues who have gone astray, the subject turns to men. Both women chat about the various men from the factory that they like, although it is feisty Beryl, the factory vamp, who sees herself as the most likely one to actually get any action. The conversation is very amusing and both women bring their characters to life with the simplest look or gesture sufficient to send ripples of laughter around the room.
Of course, as we have all been expecting, the women eventually realise that they have strayed onto the nude beach but, what none of us had seen coming, was that one of those people standing there on the beach, very proud, and very naked, is...