The warm, witty and rather wonderful Ladies Day had its press night at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre last night and proved to be a smash hit with the audience. The stellar ensemble cast were clearly having a ball with the play written by Amanda Whittington and originally set in Hull, but now with action transferred to Wolverhampton, with a starry cameo from the legendary Tony Christie. Ladies Day makes you laugh, shed a tear and enjoy singing along. It doesn’t really put a foot wrong.
The story starts in a fish packing factory where Jan, Linda, Shelley and Pearl are deciding what to do to give Pearl a send off when she retires at the end of the week. Pearl surprises her workmates by saying she would love a day at the races. The lure of making some money, meeting some rich men and generally taking a break from the mundane norm is something the women can’t resist, and they set out to enjoy what proves to be an eventful day. The ‘Ladies Day’ is a series of dramas and revelations, as drink and enjoyment relaxes lips and secrets come tumbling out. With the ladies also betting on a six race jackpot, and as their horses start to come in, how will their story end?
The cast are just perfect in their roles, complete with Wolverhampton accents! Stand out is Cheryl Fergison, still warmly remembered for Eastenders, and just brilliant as the steadfast devoted mother Jan. Cheryl creates a character that is warm, funny and all heart, and her drunken scene with Shelley is just hilarious and gained a spontaneous round of applause. Shelley, as played by Emma Rigby is also great, in what is, unbelievably, Emma’s first stage role. Shelley is sassy and funny, but Emma lets her vulnerability shine through, especially in her scenes with sleazy TV commentator Jim.
Deena Payne is lovely as Pearl, making her steady and reliable, which makes her revelation all the more shocking and raw. Her scene with Barry the bookie is touching ad tender, one of the loveliest moments, when their dance is over and she reaches down to collect her bag the moment is filled with real poignancy.
The female cast is rounded out by Roisin O Neill as the naive and bruised Linda. Roisin makes Linda a lovely character who is filled with hope, and her budding relationship with jockey Patrick is sweet and tender.
A special mention must be given to Sean Mckenzie who played all the male roles already mentioned, and makes them all different and memorable. His performance of Jockey Patrick, half starved and down on his luck, but still with kind words to say to Linda, and of sleazy presenter Jim, full of inflated ego and importance, are impressive and feel true.
Ladies Day is a marvellous portrayal of female strength and friendship, and with Tony Christie on fine form with all those classics – Amarillo, Maria, Avenues and Alleyways, you can totally see why Linda is obsessed with the singer. Add in stunning hats from Sharper Millinery (you played a blinder Sally), you have a Summer must see.
Wednesday 18 – Saturday 28 July 2018
Evenings at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 2:30pm & 7:30pm.
Additional matinees at 2:30pm on Thursday 19 July and Wednesday 25 July.
No performances on Sundays and Mondays.
Tickets from £14.50*
Click here for ticket Information