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Ladies' Day

“A directionless revival”

Originally produced by Hull Truck in 2005, Amanda Whittington’s comedy about four women on a day out at the races hasn’t aged well, despite a rewrite relocating the play to Wolverhampton Racecourse in 2018, and a cosmetic reference or two to Love Island.

The play itself is a light, frothy entertainment with obvious popular appeal, but Jason Capewell and Alasdair Harvey’s production lacks the light-footedness that such a play requires — clumsy set pieces are wheeled on and off, non-speaking ensemble members loiter in the background. Where it should fizz like champagne on race day, it falls flat, and no-one seems to know why this story wants to be told.

Worse, a subplot concerning a predatory TV presenter doesn’t have anything useful to add to the discourse surrounding #MeToo, or the nuance to read as anything but broad comedy — having financially pressured a character into prostitution, the presenter slaps her on the bum to a chuckle from the audience.

Given that the characters bet exclusively on horses named after Tony Christie songs, the casting of Tony Christie as himself introduces a welcome touch of self-awareness. Ambling across the stage during scene changes, Christie inhabits a sort of spectral half-place, out of time and not quite of the world of the play. His chocolatey crooning vocalises the bittersweetness of lives half-lived. But any sentimental heft Christie lends is too little, too late.


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Production Details
Production nameLadies' Day
VenueGrand Theatre
StartsJuly 13, 2018
EndsJuly 28, 2018
Running time2hrs 20mins
AuthorAmanda Whittington
DirectorAlasdair Harvey, Jason Capewell
Set designerJohn Brooking
Lighting designerJason Taylor
Sound designerAnthony Aston
CastCheryl Fergison, Deena Payne, Emma Rigby, Roisin O’Neill, Sean Mckenzie, Tony Christie
Production managerMark Ryal
ProducerWolverhampton Grand Theatre
VerdictA directionless revival of Amanda Whittington’s race day comedy
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