Director: Barrie Rutter
Reviewer: Jamie Gaskin
Northern Broadsides really live up to the sound of their name with this full-blooded offering of J.B. Priestley’s classic play set in the region. His cleverly crafted comic script effortlessly allows the characters to present their foibles, and their good points, as they face a dilemma which could so easily puncture their respectability.
The puffed-up pomposity of the pillars of chapel-society comes to the fore when they learn that their triple-marriage day was not lawful because the parson was not properly authorised. Both sexes start to have second thoughts about their other halves. Favourite with the audience iss Steve Huison’s henpecked Herbert Soppitt who is greatly applauded when he stands up to bossy Clara (Kate Anthony). A delightful double act. Herbert even rekindles a dying romantic ember with another lady who also finds herself suddenly unmarried.
When the truth starts to leak out, even the stroppy servants queue up to rub salt in the wounds. Kat Rose-Martin really enjoying herself as Ruby, the chit of a maid, with a great stage waddle and absolutely no respect for her betters. With over a dozen characters popping in and out it’s very much a team effort with Barrie Rutter’s direction ensuring the players make the most of Priestley’s words. The set is straight forward and the mood faithful to the 1930s style of theatre.
The most cartoonesque of the characters is Councillor Albert Parker played with a wonderful booming voice by Adrian Hood. Vying with Hood for the larger than life award is Rutter who has given himself the delicious role of Ormonroyd, the drunken press photographer dispatched to cover the flawed celebrations.
But the 25 years when our local worthies have thought they were respectably married were not all that respectable. Word reaches a certain dyed-haired hussy Lottie Grady (Zoe Lambert) who is well known to one of our worthies who has always maintained that he would marry her if he was free to do so. Indeed the unaccustomed unmarried state gives all six a chance to rethink their lives and see their prospects with their partners in a new light. It is a prickly ride for some.
This a fun night out with many laugh-out-loud moments from colourful characters working their way through a fairly straight-forward plot based on the idea of “What if things are not as they seem..?”
When We Are Married offers you a great excuse for a trip down the aisle – the aisle at the theatre that is.
Runs until 26th November 2016 | Image: Nobby Clark