The sumptuous, detailed stage design (that a cast member in the Q&A later described as like a film set) drew a gasp and round of applause from the audience at curtain up, and from then on it was laugh a minute, the interplay between couples a rich source of amusement for the audience. Maureen Lipman’s uptight Clara Soppitt commanded her hesitant husband, Herbert, played by a bespectacled Sam Kelly, with the force of a battleaxe; Simon Rouse’s Councillor Albert Parker likes the sound of his own Yorkshire tones a little too much, to the resignation of Michele Dotrice’s Annie Parker; and Susie Blake’s Maria chides her spouse - or so she believes - Alderman Joseph Helliwell, a sympathetic David Horovitch.
Comedy highlights came from the role which Priestley played himself, increasingly inebriated newspaper photographer Henry Ormonroyd, and Roy Hudd’s dancing about the front room, and words of dubious wisdom to the housemaid, were a joy throughout.
Outing members were treated to a star-studded Q&A, as the entire cast joined director Christopher Luscombe joined Whatsonstage.com’s Editorial Director Terri Paddock on stage. A quick show of hands at the request of a cast member revealed that not a great number of the Whatsonstage.com audience were familiar with this particular Priestley, but it didn’t seem to matter as each question from the stalls was prefaced by forthright appreciation of it. Roy Hudd proved a true-born raconteur, offering up plenty of anecdotes on past productions, all delivered with perfect comic timing (even out of character). The esteemed cast heaped praise on Jodie McNee, one the youngest cast members who took the role of cheeky house maid Ruby Birtle; clearly hers is a name to look out for in future.
Please do feel free to email your comments and thoughts about the play, as well as any photos you have of the event and the evening through to firstname.lastname@example.org, we love to hear from you.
Thanks for joining us for this event, and do check the homepage to keep up to date on all of our upcoming Outings.
- Vicky Ellis