Men Of The World
5 May 2010 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Using the sort of multi role-playing techniques that helped make Bouncers and Teechers such huge popular hits, John Godber’s Men Of The World has a cast of three conjuring up a whole world of Yorkshire wrinklies on holiday abroad. Sarah Parks, Robert Angell and Dicken Ashworth are Frank, Stick and Happy Larry, three coach drivers ferrying their elderly charges on a Rhine Valley tour, the highlight of which is an amateur production of The Student Prince. Stick is the cynical younger driver, rapidly losing patience, wishing he was driving six form girls on field trips to Spain and declaring that anyone over 70 should meet a sudden end forthwith. Happy Larry is approaching retirement and from that vantage point has far more sympathy with his charges but also has an unfortunate penchant for Mario Lanza. Frank, the female driver, despite the name, often acts as peacemaker. And there’s a lot of peace that needs to be made, as the trio look upon their charges with a mixture of affection and acute frustration. The cast use just a few hats and scarves, much gurning and arthritic walks as they morph into ex-miners bemoaning their dwindling savings; fussy old ladies; a woman who packs 57 cheese sandwiches; a 46-year-old mummy’s boy, and many more. It’s the English abroad, again, pathetically unable to pull up their roots even for an instant. Godber does lay on the clichés unmercifully at times. But there’s rather more depth here than in some of his work. There’s a real understanding for elderly people who have worked hard all their lives and now have little money to enjoy what time they have left. OK, the tour is tatty, their fellow passengers are not necessarily people you’d want to make bosom friends with and there’s much else to complain about. But who knows, they might even live long enough to be able to do it all over again. With some unexpectedly sharp lines about the dilemma of old age, this bitter-sweet evening is Godber’s best work for some time. - Alan Hulme Related Content
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