A childhood trip to the North Wales holiday camp of Colomendy has been a rite of passage for generations of Liverpudlians.
Its stories, myths and shared experiences are all ripe for dramatising. And some of those real-life memories have found their way into Nicky Allt’s amiable new comedy in which a group of hapless Englishmen go up a hill and make a real mountain out of the experience.
Allt has crafted a Lord of the Flies-style disaster epic in which a teambuilding exercise tests both the strength of character and the bonds of friendship between four middle-aged men, pals since boyhood, who begin the play loitering away in the gardening department of B&Q where they work.
The DIY giant is realised in Alfie Heywood’s ambitious revolve set, which also includes a grubby dorm – garnering murmurs of recognition from the audience, and a triumphant representation of Moel Famau complete with a criss-cross of pathways and perspectives.
Paul Goetzee, making his main-stage debut after directing several shows in the downstairs Studio, drives the action at a brisk pace, particularly once the workshy quartet and their exasperated manager (Jane Hogarth) arrive on the rain-swept Welsh slopes.
It’s not particularly subtle – there are double entendres straight out of the 1970s and some (albeit very funny) cartoon violence, while the characters are painted in broad brushstrokes.
But Allt has created a robust narrative structure punctuated by episodes of gasp-out-loud comedy. And he has a keen ear for affectionate banter between friends, delivered with a real air of authenticity by the cast.