Theatre review - Cheshire Cats, Lowther Pavilion, Lytham
- Credit: Archant
The Lytham Anonymous Players November production sees them putting on more than just a show as they wowed the audiences at the Lowther Pavilion in Lytham.
Cheshire Cats is a comedy written by Gail Young and it tells the story of five women who are all partaking in the 13-mile London Moonwalk to raise money for Breast Cancer. Each of the five women have their reasons for being in London and as the story unfolds, we learn a little bit about each one of them and how they are brought together along with hundreds and thousands of other people for this annual event.
Director Bob Gemmell has taken a strong cast and minimal set, but created such a deep, moving but often humorous piece of theatre with it. The backdrop of the stage was host to a projection of different images throughout the story cleverly transporting us to different places to create depth and enhance the pleasure of the play. The theme of cancer is always going to be a difficult subject to approach, but it is how we, as individuals, deal with that subject. It gives the much-needed publicity and attention that it craves. The script by Gail Young is clever and funny. It is heavily laden with dialogue, but it is a must in this context. We, as the audience, need to understand who each of the characters are and why they are here.
The cast bonded together perfectly. They looked as if they had been working together for years let alone a matter of months and this was an integral part of the play that had to be delivered on. You had to warm to them and feel for them and you did from the moment the light’s dimmed.
A strong ensemble was led by all five ladies who each delivered to the strengths of their characters with such joy and ease. Kathy Gemmell played the role of Maggie, the newbie to the group whose flawless timid nature, but kind heart showed well in her performance. Siobhan O’Doherty burst onto the stage as the very bouncy character of Vicky in a professionally executed performance. Ann Slack was the dominant leader of the force as Hillary with suitable nuances and strength in depiction. Kirsten Burnett played Siobhan. She was the sensible peacemaker of the group and performed so with ease. Sue Witts played the role of Yvonne a character suffering with just more than the blisters on her heel in a wonderful played role.
Support was strong from Vicky’s love interest, Andrew played by Matthew Eaton, who was also the surprise package of the group. Sharon Brooks brought energy not just to the group, but to the audience as the Aerobics instructor and stalwart Jeff Redfern cameoed as the drunk, in another comedic masterclass. Special mention must go to the two Marshalls, Glyn Morton and Camilla Woolner who provided even more laughter in between scenes at each of the milestones in a performance reminiscent of the Two Ronnie’s two men in a pub sketch. The crowd really warmed to them a lot.
The play was full of fun, laughter, joy but also sadness. In dealing with such a difficult topic, there has to be sadness. There is a lot of poignancy in the piece as we grow to learn the truth about the characters and the reasons why they decided to walk the streets of London for this cause. This sentiment was carried perfectly in a moving monologue delivered with flowing emotion by Kathy Gemmell as Maggie in the last speech of the play which brought tears to every single pair of eyes watching.
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The beauty behind this play was not just in the performance itself, but the causes it was dedicated to. Both the Rosemere Cancer Foundation and the Trinity Hospice are two charities very close to the hearts of the Lytham Anonymous Players and it was a fitting tribute that proceeds from these shows will be donated to these two wonderful charities who do so much good.
For a truly enjoyable evening coupled with two wonderful causes please make sure you get yourselves down to the Lowther Pavilion in Lytham on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th November at 7:30pm for a night you truly can’t miss.
For tickets go to the Lowther Pavilion website www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk or turn up on the night.