Quite why people drag caravans around the country to spend their weekends sitting in fields is beyond me, but it's a pursuit that many, including Perfect Pitch playwright John Godber, indulge in. Originally commissioned by and performed at Scarborough s Stephen Joseph Theatre, the caravan is now pitched at Hull Truck for a new, Godber-directed, production.
Ron (James Hornsby), accompanied by wife Yvonne (Kate Anthony), thinks their new lifestyle of concealed beds, gas bottles and awning erection is the perfect antidote to his stressful life in teaching, a career that left him a nervous wreck and forced early retirement.
But their tranquillity is rapidly shattered when Grant (Adrian Hood) and Steph (Samantha Hardcastle), set up camp at the neighbouring pitch. 'You lose three grand the first time you pull a van like that on site,' Grant says of Ron's £14,000 deluxe model, 'and another three grand when we pull up next door'. They are the caravanners from hell, a vulgar couple for whom sex is a regular, noisy, caravan-moving experience.
Both Ron and Yvonne consider those across the way to be crass, although Yvonne becomes increasingly envious of both the sex and fun their lower class counterparts appear to have. She attempts to embrace the lifestyle, accompanying Steph into clubland to watch strippers and entering the site's talent contest. 'You have to go crazy every now and then,' Steph says, 'otherwise you'd go mad.' The stripping scene is a joy; as the girls bay for six pack stomachs and thongs off, James Hornsby is simultaneously displaying his middle aged spread stripping for bed in the caravan.
There are some wonderful gags in this well-paced, well-directed affair, but the biggest laughs come from Adrian Hood's Neanderthal performance, grunting his way through much of the show. Pip Leckenby's set does the job of converting the small space of Hull Truck into a field, and the camouflage style backdrop creates the impression that this is not the nicest of sites to come to. (Or maybe I'm being a snob, after all, as Ron says when Yvonne expresses a desire to relocate to a Caravan Club site, 'They're all just fields').
Godber presents a microcosm of the class struggle, an observation not only of the banal activity that surrounds much of caravanning but also, more importantly, middle class and working class manners. He even indulges in a little high art/low art debate (opera vs Dusty Springfield). This is about snobbery, the displaying of status symbols and the clash of lager and chips versus muesli and mineral water cultures. And very funny it is.
Perfect Pitch continues at the Hull Truck Theatre until 24 July 1999.