Flight of fancy provides plenty of holiday laughs - The Leamington Observer

Flight of fancy provides plenty of holiday laughs

Leamington Editorial 1st Feb, 2023   0

Ladies Down Under

Talisman Theatre

Four unexpectedly cash-rich women swap the fish industry of Hull for the golden sunshine and wide open spaces of Australia in a comedy of ordinary people who become extraordinary in extraordinary circumstances.

Having enjoyed some success in presenting the quartet’s earlier racetrack adventures and eventual windfall, it was only natural the Talisman would bring back the gang – with the minimum of changes – for this sequel excursion to Australia paid for by the winnings from their first outing.

We’re in a fairly superficial version of Australia with all the elements you’d expect – opera house, surf hut, Uluru and so on. But to be fair, the Yorkshire quartet are in appearance and sound don’t stray that far from a very well-trodden path.

Kathy Buckingham-Underhill, Caroline McCluskey, Eleanor Lake and Emma Ritson, all capture with considerable success the scattiness, humour and downright loudness of a group of women on what amounts to an extended hen night with no wedding at the end.

Playing all the male characters who stumble through the women’s adventures, Michael Seeley and Henri West turn in a fine range of cameos, the wonderfully sarcastic flight cabin crew being perhaps the highlight in a fast-moving first half.

Director Graham Buckingham-Underhill extracts all the jokes and comic lines but keeps the staging very simple and, with a set populated by large backcloths and helpful signs, the effect is less drama and more pantomime.

In a definite play of two halves, the second portion sees the action give way to a more introspective mood and the spectre of ill health, taking a chance on love and discovering your inner person. It’s entertaining but the characters are never deep enough to risk things getting overly serious or meaningful.

In the grand scheme of theatre this is far from a masterpiece of scriptwriting. But then again there is a type of fiction – light, amusing, uncomplicated and with just enough heart to engage – which is ideal for the faraway holiday beach and this concoction is perfectly suited to that.

Perhaps best enjoyed in the moment, this is a tale which will nevertheless bring a smile or two to the face when recalled long after the plane has touched down and the reality of the holiday being over has sunk in.

Ladies Down Under runs at the Talisman Theatre until Saturday February 4. Full details and booking from talisman theatre.co.uk .

Matthew Salisbury


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