Writer: Amanda Whittington
Director: Ken Alexander
Reviewer: John Roberts
It’s hard not to laugh at Ladies Day, especially when you bring together one of the strongest casts to have graced the Royal Court stage in recent years. This is an easy going fun loving romp – relocated by special permission for this production from the wet windy town of Hull, to the more in-your-face, bold and brassy Liverpool.
Ladies Day follows four friends who all work in the mundane job of packing fish, the banter flows freely between the four friends, but when an outing to The Grand National to celebrate Pearl’s early retirement goes into full flow, faster than the horses from the starting line, the four friends secrets quickly unravel and behind the bolshie Scouse bravado four friends can quite quickly become four strangers.
Royal Court regular Eithne Browne delights as the early retiree Pearl, while Lynn Francis lets rip with her drunken Linda – producing the funniest scene of the night, but it is Royal Court newcomers Roxanne Pallett and Angela Simms who really surpass themselves. Pallett is sublime as the wannabe WAG, with a pitch perfect accent, she nails the comedy of the piece with aplomb and more than holds her own on stage. Simms in what is possible the wettest of the four characters gives a well rounded debut as Tony Christie loving Linda, and he revelation is truly heartbreaking. Jack Lord has the undeniably tough task of bringing the 6 male characters to life and he does this so effortlessly, a stirling job.
Ken Alexander has a real handle on the ebs and flows of Whittington’s piece, he balances the comedy and the pathos with real care, and manaes to combine a clever set by Richard Foxton into the action of the play. However there are flaws to Ladies Night and that would have to be the source material itself.
The programme notes state that the production was given special permission to develop the piece for a Liverpool Audience, and while there are elements to say this has been done, Whittington’s revamp doesn’t seem to go far enough, with the ability to really update and bring the piece bang up-to-date, this production limps a little too much behind and never really packs the punch it could have, and is starting to feel a little bit outdated.
Ladies Day is a highly enjoyable comic romp, but its predictability hinders unfortunately hinders it at the last leg.