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October/November 2014

Ladies' Day by Amanda Whittington

By David Newble - Friday, October 31st, 2014
(reproduced by kind permission of
the Isle of Wight County Press)

A PLAY about working class women, who have a day out at the Royal Ascot races, may not at first glance be a natural choice for a show in Cowes.

What does the home of the Royal Yacht Squadron have to do with four northern lasses from Hull, who spend their lives in a fish-packing factory?

Quite a lot as it turns out as Amanda Whittington's sparkling play, Ladies' Day, brought hilariously to life by a talented cast at
the Trinity Theatre, proved.

Amanda Whittington has credentials after all. She has been
described as Britain's most popular female dramatist and began her writing career as a journalist for left-field publications.

Scratch beneath the surface and we all have the same hopes, :lreams and foibles. This is especially so when the lives of factory
girls - Jan, Pearl Shelley and Linda - are put under the spotlight when they decide to dress up to the nines and head off to Royal
Ascot, when it was held at York Racecourse in 2005.

As the play unfolds, you find Jan, hilariously played by Amber
Bourne, has sacrificed her happiness for her daughter and has an unrequited crush on boss Joe, vho is heading off to Australia.

Then there is Pearl, brought to life by the ever-reliable Fiona Gwinnett who has a juge secret, Shelley, whose obsession with money and fame hides a life crippled by debt, and Linda, whose home life is blighted by a mother who does not love her.

It is impressive the four female leads managed to sustain credible northern accents throughout the two hours and Rebecca's Brough's Shelly and Victoria Pitt's Linda demonstrated impeccable comic timing.

One minor quibble was the scene changes were not as slick as they could be but as last Thursday's performance was the first night, I am sure this improved.

In a comedy such as this, you ask yourself two questions: Did I laugh and was I moved? The answer to both questions was an emphatic yes.