FUR COAT AND NO KNICKERS: Harding, Theatre Royal Nottingham till 2nd July


Theatre Royal: Tkts 0115 989 5555 www.royalcentre-nottingham.co.uk.
Runs: 1h 45m: one interval: till 2nd July.
Performance times: 7.30pm weekdays and 8.00pm Sat (Matinees 2.00pm Weds and 5.00pm Sat).
Review: Alan Geary: 27th June 2011.

A lot of fun.
All right, Chekhov or Shakespeare this ain’t. Nor is it what the programme implies, a farce. There aren’t enough doors or misunderstandings for a start, and there’s no man digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole. It is, nevertheless, a lot of fun, and it does constitute a good night out.

I you insist that all worthwhile drama should have a message, there is, in fact, one here: don’t ever consider having your stag do the night before the wedding. Our Mark (Ben Dehalphet) does just that, with disastrous consequences.

A Catholic priest ends up totally ratted, even at the marriage ceremony and reception; the groom and others get slapped in the cells; and one of those blow-up dolls, the sort sold in mucky shops with blanked-out windows, is introduced into proceedings.

It’s touchingly seventies, a period piece. There are no mobiles, people actually get married, and the priest is a friend of a working-class family, a bog Irishman with a penchant for the bottle; there’s not a smidgen of child abuse.

There’s nothing clever or original about Mike Harding’s plot but the dialogue is witty and well observed. Someone says of a local young woman “She bangs like a chip shop door”. And someone else says of groom’s mum Muriel, the fur coat and no knickers of the title, “She’s a blown up dog’s dinner”.

A lot of the cast, familiar from Theatre Royal pantos and Thriller Seasons, have a following in Nottingham.

Andrew Ryan, in a change from all those frocks, does four parts, and Paul Gabriel is Father Finbar Malloy. From the thriller side, Karen Henson is excellent as the coarse but snobbish groom’s mum, Samantha Sanns is her unpretentiously down-market opposite number, and John Hester is the reprobate granddad.

The bride is beautifully done by Rebecca Tanwen. Her outrageously reactionary dad – moral reference point Adolf Hitler – is splendidly played by former Oddsocks man Rob Laughlin.

The show is dedicated to Colin McIntyre, who died earlier this year.

Edith Ollernshawe/Barmaid: Samantha Sanns.
Kevin Ollernshawe: Christopher Sheridan.
Dierdre Ollernshawe/Stripper: Rebecca Tanwen.
Harry: Rob Laughlin.
Nip: John Hester.
Peter/Waiter: Dominic Vulliamy.
Mark Greenhalgh: Ben Dehalphet.
Father Finbar: Paul Gabriel.
Muriel/Barmaids/Policewoman: Karen Henson.
Kirstine/Barmaid/Woman: Sarah Wynne Kordas.
Wendy: Alison Willcox.
Ronald/Jimmy/Bouncer/Policeman: Andrew Ryan.
Hamish: James Campbell.

Director: Adrian Lloyd-James.
Designer: Sarah Wynne Kordas.
Lighting: Michael Donahue.
Sound Designer: David Gilbrook.
Costumes: Geoff Gilder.

2011-06-30 21:52:53

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