Reviewed – 26th September 2019
“this is an excellent play … performed by three actresses at the top of their game”
It is sometimes difficult to be inspired when you check out theatre listings and find the same old plays. So the promise of a brand new comedy was enough to put a spring in my step as I made my way to The Cockpit theatre.
This is the story of a mother and her two daughters who occasionally go on outings together. They had previously had a spa day, been paintballing and this time, daughter Ann had planned a trip moth hunting in Macclesfield forest. This came as a surprise to her sister Susan, who when she heard they were roughing it, thought that meant an evening at Wetherspoon’s. The forest visit had a little bit of moth hunting, plenty of trivial sibling rivalry, a few revelations falling out of the closet and a nasty injury which resulted in both division and reconciliation.
The set (Greg Spong) was a cleverly projected dense wood image with plenty of dead leaves littered around the stage. The props including a bright blanket, moth catching kit and a variety of bags were pretty much perfect. Sound and lighting were fairly minimal and yet bang on point when required.
This was a perfectly cast play. I absolutely bought the three ladies as a family unit, comfortable in each others company, always willing to tease and yet their love for each other always shining through at times of crisis. Charlotte Baker (Ann) was the most straight-laced of the sisters, her insecurities were nicely observed and the random dance that she performed to ‘Waterloo’ with her sister was a delight. Kathryn McGarr (Susan) had the best of the laughs, her inappropriate clothing and high heels I felt could have been even more outrageous, but her comedy skills were expertly showcased and she at one point, sported the most impressive leg wound that I’ve seen for a long time. Verity Richards (Gill) was just lovely, she didn’t really care what was going on around her, she just loved being with her girls, her comic timing was a real highlight for me. Gareth Turkington (Sid) made up the cast playing Susan’s partner. Trying to get angry with her, he clearly didn’t have a nasty bone in his body and gave a smashing, comedic performance. The director (Rosie Snell) made good use of the space and kept everything moving along at a good pace.
This piece started life as a ten minute sketch at a new writing night and playwright Phil Ball has developed it into a full play. It is consistently funny, favourite scenes for me being Ann’s story about missing her father’s funeral, the plant watering episode and a short scene with an Uber-Eats driver that was just brilliant.
A few cues were missed early on resulting in some laughs being lost and the audience laughter also drowned out some text here and there. But this is an excellent play, much of the script able to be appreciated by a younger audience and performed by three actresses at the top of their game. Lovely to see such an amusing new comedy hitting the theatre, not only that, I learnt plenty of interesting facts about moths into the bargain.
Reviewed by Chris White
Photography by Rosie Snell
Cockpit Theatre until 28th September
Previously reviewed at this venue: