Throwback #5

LADIES DAY (2008)

As the lockdown lifts and lowers, starts, stops, re-starts and hesitates our drama productions remain somewhere in the hazy and uncertain future. Which means enjoying the summer where we can and once again taking a look in the other direction – to the past and 2008.

Today we remember one of our favourites – Amanda Whittington’s Ladies Day. This was a play originally commissioned by Hull Truck and followed the exploits of four Hull ladies working in a fish processing factory who are determined to get themselves to the ladies day event in the year that Royal Ascot took place at York – an event where their relationships are tested and their fortunes change.

The original Hull Truck production was directed by Gareth Tudor Price who also took it on a twelve week tour of the UK.

Our own version, just three years later, and suggested to us by Gareth was produced by Richard Bateman and was an opportunity to create a modern minimalist set which quickly moved from a fish plant to various areas of the racecourse.

LADIES DAY by Amanda Whittington, performed in early 2008

The only negative about this wonderful production was that we had issues with getting our traditional dress rehearsal photographs taken. We did manage to grab a few and they are shown in the following slideshow – simply scroll through them to view.

The four ladies, played by Barbara, Jayne, Nic and Janet remained in character and the occasional various male roles were shared between Rob and Steve.

I remember a brief discussion – very brief – with the Producer about whether we should obtain real fish for the production line scene. Whilst the audience would have the convincing sensorial special effect of wet fish aroma drifting to the front rows, it would have been less convincing for the Royal Ascot at York scenes.
And by the last night this would be enhanced. Uncomfortably so.
And the subsequent users of the Village Hall in the following week or two would be asking questions…

The cast L to R; Steve Howland, Barbara Failey, Jayne Hewson, Nic Johnson, Janet Drewery, Rob Newton.

The other challenges that come to my mind certainly, was having to learn the bookies tic-tac sign language and run it without thinking and watching Rob in his jockey silks riding his imaginary horse to an Irish accented monologue.

It was such a refreshing play with so many laughs and poignant moments. We already knew of the sequel – Ladies Down Under – and were eager for it to be licensed for release for a future production.

Clearly Richard, our Producer, was busy when we took the backstage photo.

More throwbacks soon!


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