Royal Court Theatre
14 June – 13 July
Author: Amanda Whittington
Cast: Eithne Browne, Angela Simms, Jack Lord, Roxanne Pallett, Lynn Francis
Director: Ken Alexander
Producer: Royal Court Liverpool
Running Time: 2 hrs 15 mins
It’s good to see The Royal Court producing its own shows again and, also, to see Ken Alexander’s debut as Artistic Director serves what the Royal Court audiences want to see; a good comedy that is in turns raucous and poignant.
Four women head to Aintree Races to celebrate the retirement of Pearl played by Eithine Browne with her usual aplomb. Yet, as the wine flows and the money runs short, so do the secrets come to out.
The set is simple on the face of it, but incredibly effective, switching deftly from fish factory floor to racecourse smoothly and cleverly and those performing before it do an admirable job of telling the story they have been given, which has been adapted from Amanda Whittington’s radio play aired by the BBC in 2009.
Lynn Francis arguably has the scene of the show as the normally homely Jan whose life has been placed on hold because of her daughter, who gets completely smashed. Roxanne Pallett provides the glamour and delivers a first class performance as wannabe WAG Shelley and Jack Lord taking on a number of roles from broadcaster to a jockey who hates his job with great gusto and skill. Yet it has to be said that it is Court debutant Angela Simms who really lights up the show as the nice-but-dim Linda. Here is a young actress to keep an eye out for and it can only be hoped that it’s not too long before she appears here again.
The show itself is cosy and warm and gently amusing, with lots of areas in which to think, although it has to be said that at times it is a little too formulaic and could easily lose a good twenty minutes or so.
That said though, Ladies Day remains as fun a night out as any at The Royal Court.