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‘Ladies Day’ – The New Vic Theatre – written by Amanda Whittington

Written by on 8 February 2023

Ladies Day – The New Vic Theatre

By Amanda Whittington

All photographs by Andrew Billington

What a great subject matter – four fish factory workers go to ‘Ladies Day’ at the races.  It is a delightful, easy to follow production about the lives of four very different women, all very good friends and colleagues – Jan (Tanya-Loretta Dee), Linda (Jo Patmore), Shelley (Annie Kirkman) and Pearl (Kate Wood).

Gareth Cassidy is a much-loved regular at the New Vic and the fact that he plays Joe, Fred, Jim, Patrick, Kevin, AND Barry amused me even before the play began.  He moves from character to character and from voice to voice with ease – playing up to the audience with that amazingly expressive face of his!

The performance starts in the fish factory with mundane conversations about last nights tea, the weekend and all of the usual workplace conversations that we can probably identify with.  As the play progresses to the race track, we see the depth of each character and the insecurities, secrets and burdens they bear, as they discover sides to each other that had been kept well hidden among the trivial factory chat.

‘Ladies Day’ is a very ‘real’ play, with characters that we have all come across in our day to day lives albeit enhanced and fine-tuned for the stage.  The dialog is simple but genius throughout, and there are some great moments, like the tic-tac lesson and Jan’s intoxicated performance, plus a few ‘royal’ jokes and mentions from 2005 which were still surprisingly apt!

All 5 actors are excellent – each getting into complete character for their part (or parts!) making it easy for us to understand and relate to each one of them.  This, coupled with a great script and fantastic costumes, music, scenery and lighting make Ladies Day a must-see production.

So .. Ladies Day is on at the New Vic until Saturday 25th February, and it is definitely worth a visit – it is lovely to relax, leave the cares of the world behind and have a good old laugh, and also know that you are supporting this wonderful, friendly theatre-in-the-round that we are so fortunate to have right here in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

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