by Amanda Whittington.
Coliseum Theatre Fairbottom Street OL1 3SW To 25 May 2013.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Mat 25 May 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.
TICKETS: 0161 624 2829.
Review: Stoon 18 May 2013.
Neither Godolphin nor God-awful but certainly codswallop.
A second consecutive ‘Working Factory Girls’ play proves a less than workmanlike addition to the genre.
These Shining Lives at London’s new Park Theatre at least radiated the day-to-Day-Glo shop floor gossip with historical fact. Sadly, Amanda Whittington’s Ascot-bound fish factory Ladies suffer death by cliché with added traces of faux metaphor (“the world’s your lobster”)….making the oyster your Travelcard no doubt.
Social, situation or age-swap comedies (of which this is one) by their very nature are blessed with a voyeuristic bonus – that moment when two worlds collide, opposites are forced together and underdogs possibly triumph.
Any exploitation of such is down to Tom Bevan, who as the token male in the cast, plays a host of chaps with a suggestion of ‘Knowing me, Knowing you’ (Alan Partridge not ABBA). He’s limited (ditto the girls) in the two bookending factory-based scenes, but singularly justifies attendance as an on-course live TV broadcast racing pundit – a glorious mix of seedy, suave, self depreciating slime ball-ness. It elevates the piece from Bumper racecard status to artform, bad taste pastiche making the unbearable watchable by adding believable ridicule.
On turf the helium-pitched Ladies are liberated too, freed of blue overalls/hygiene gloves, helpfully removing subliminal associations with seafood packing Smurfs and lending their devoted game faces a context to smile in, albeit never less than heightened. Pearl’s worthy of an outside flutter though, adding suitably firm grounding to reinforce others’ lofty projections.
There’s no denying an appetite for this exists, as the appreciative grey matinee audience testified. Whether it’s in a care home or onstage at the Coliseum is subject to a Stewards Enquiry.
Jan: Sue McCormick.
Pearl: Annie Sawle.
Linda: Laura Aramayo.
Men: Tom Bevan.
Shelley: Amy Walsh.
Director: Gareth Tudor Price.
Lighting: Jane Barrek.
Sound: Lorna Munden.