Friday 15 May 2015

SYLVIA'S WEDDING by Jimmie Chinn
presented by The Beeston Players​

This is the second play in as many nights that I'd not previously been aware of, and ended up loving. A wonderful comedy with recognisable characters which means that you instantly warm to and associate with.

Sylvia and Gordon have been going steady for ten years when all of a sudden, on Valentine's evening, Gordon pops the question in a chip shop. Sylvia reveals this proposal to her best friend, Yvonne before telling her parents. Unfortunately for Sylvia the secret is revealed to Joyce and Vic, her parents, in quite an explosive way when Gordon's parents, Stanley and Myrtle pay a visit with Gordon in tow.

The two fathers are at different ends of the class scale, or so they think, but both are not in favour of the wedding going ahead, for different reasons. The mothers again were polar opposites who grew closer as the play went on. Joyce a confident woman who wore the trousers in the relationship and Myrtle the subservient wife, not wanting to cause ripples whereas Stanley wanted to cause tidal waves.

Sylvia was a dream to watch as the innocent bride to be and Nicole Adkin who played her captured every nuance of Sylvia's character.

Gordon, played by Gary Frost, equally innocent in every aspect of life was again wonderful to watch. He grew from a doormat character into something very different by the end of the play.

Lynn Howard, as Joyce, was a brilliant piece of casting and the character reminded me of Dandy Nichols, from "Till Death Do Us Part", a really strong character who did her best to keep Vic under her thumb. Some great comic put downs with Joyce.

Vic, played by Rob Jackson, reminded me of another 70's comedy actor, Jack Smethurst from "Love Thy Neighbour". Another strong character driven actor in Rob.

Barbara Barton​ was the slightly mousey Myrtle who knew her place behind Stanley. You really got behind Myrtle and wanted her to rise up against Stanley, but Myrtle was not as far back in the shadows as you first think. She turned out to be a very aware character. Barbara turned in a lovely understated performance.

Stanley was brilliantly. and brashly played by Ian Greatorex, stamping Stanley's middle class self made business man nose in the air attitude on the wedding proceedings, doing his best to scupper the wedding, but did it work?

And finally there is Yvonne, Sylvia's best friend. Twice married, mother of one who looked like she had been through the mill and back. A proper kitchen sink Northern gritty female who was not afraid to say what she thought,and my favourite character of them all because of this. Like all Northern female characters though she had a heart buried deep under all that exterior bluntness. She also had a weakness which led to the twist in this story. Yvonne was played with great comic style by Sue Frost.

All seven roles are marvellous character driven parts and Jimmie Chinn's creations are typical of kitchen sink drama characters that appear in soaps like Coronation Street.

Director Mark Robbins did an excellent job with this little realised or performed play. While it being a fairly modern piece of writing, Mark decided to place the action in the modern day using Bruno Mars' song "Marry You" as the opening and closing music. This created the image of being more recent than its' mid nineties creation.

A very funny play with plenty of irony and some classic comedy lines. The writing of Jimmie Chinn highlights his talent for observational humour which was well presented through this talented cast.

Pop along to The Round Hill School on Foster Avenue, Beeston tomorrow to see if Sylvia does get married, and what the twist is at the end. And I'll also mention what a really welcoming, warm group of people Beeston Players are. Thank you for a really enjoyable night's entertainment.