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Five Blue-Haired Ladies Sitting On A Green Park Bench (Plymouth)

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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There are no blue-haired ladies and no green park bench in Alan Cohen’s glossy 10th anniversary production of John A Penzotti’s comedy.

Slick one-liners and Alan Miller Bunford’s technicolor picture postcard sets add up to a plastic American sitcom feel.

Five Blue-Haired Ladies Sitting On A Green Park Bench has apparently entertained audiences the world over but although the five actresses are excellent in their roles, the piece is slow, predictable and, frankly, somewhat tedious.

There’s not much action and a load of talk as the feisty five while away their remaining hours on wooden benches in a benign New York park (not a mugger in sight despite handbags constantly being left unattended) chatting about the past and their current ailments.

The familiar themes are there: creaky joints, short term memory loss, nursing homes, parasitic grandchildren, uncaring kids and once upon a time.

Anne Charleston (Neighbour’s Madge Bishop) is convincing as Rose whose closet door is belatedly thrown wide open by ditzy junk food addict Anna (household name Shirley Anne Field).

Jazz singer La La (big-voiced Olivier Award nominee Nicola Blackman) intends to make a comeback – if only she could remember who is still alive – but whose ultimate fantasy comes true with a heavenly choir practice.

Anita Harris (1960s pop star turned successful actor) is suitably cantankerous as Gladys and Lorraine Chase as Eva amuses and irritates her cronies with her conquests and contacts.

Completing the competent cast are Christopher Beeny and Tom Owen (Morton Beamish and Tom Simmonite in Last of The Summer Wine), Frazer Hines (Emmerdale’s Joe Sudgen), RSC and Blue Man Group’s Eke Chukwu, the ubiquitous Anna Lindup and Phil Andrew (Annie national tour).

Safe stuff with a few laughs.


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