It opens in a fish packing factory in Hull, where four friends decide to “celebrate” one of them leaving by going to the races. It is 2005, the year that Royal Ascot moved to York.
The day proves to be not only an exciting diversion, but a catalyst for each of the women to reveal aspects of their lives that their friends have never suspected.
The writer’s first play, Be My Baby, was a hit in Salisbury ten years ago, and her Wills Girls has been performed in Bristol, where it is based.
Ladies Day cleverly weaves together narrative, action and magic realism, and the ending leaves you guessing. The whole thing is done to the soundtrack of Tony Christie, the hero of one of the girls.
In Anna Lomax’s production the four central characters are carefully drawn, with the four actresses bringing them to vivid, and often unexpected, life. Sue Bale’s Pearl is leaving to “spend quality time” with her husband now he is retiring, and everyone thinks hers is the perfect marriage.
Sarah Kirkpatrick’s Jan has devoted herself to bringing up her daughter, and nurses a yearning freed by unaccustomed alcohol.
Helen Russell’s brash Shelley is a perfect picture of a star struck hopeful with much less confidence than she vaunts, and Emily Prince’s Linda has hidden depths.
The men range from the gently hopeful though the sleazy to the jockey (played with joy and excitement by James Bradwell.)
It’s another terrific play by this talented writer, and well worth the trip to Salisbury to see this versatile and hard-working company provide an entertaining and sometimes poignant summer show.
For more information, visit the company’s website, www.studiotheatre.org.uk
Photograph by Anthony von Roretz of Trinity Photography