Wednesday, 22 November 2017

“Rita, Sue and Bob Too” by Out Of Joint
Derby Theatre
Best friends Rita and Sue get a lift home from married Bob after babysitting his kids. When he takes the scenic route and offers them a bit of fun, the three start a fling each of them think they control.
Adults of a certain age will remember fondly the 1987 film starring Michelle Holmes, Siobhan Finneran and George Costigan with Lesley Sharp, all of which went on to have very successful acting careers on TV. The film also featured the band Black Lace and one of their more infamous songs.
Written in 1982 by Andrea Dunbar, when she was just 19 years old, this semi-autobiographical play captures a wicked sense of humour and recognition of the industrial age of unemployment in the 80’s with a hunger for excitement and adult adventure.
James Atherton (Bob), who Hollyoaks fans will recognise as Will Savage pleased a lot of ladies of all
ages tonight when they all got to see his backside on several occasions. That aside, Bob came across as a younger and more of a "lad" type of character than his 80's movie counterpart. it also gave a fresher feel to Bob, keeping it more modern but still firmly placed in the 1980's.
Taj Atwal (Rita) gave a performance that grew from a normal teenager who may, or may not, have been fibbing about her experience with men, to a hungry young woman who knew what she wanted and went after it. A journey that was well mapped out on stage.
Gemma Dobson (Sue) makes her professional debut in this play, not that you'd have known had you not read the programme. You have to have confidence to play any of these roles and Gemma showed bags of confidence. Again the journey Sue made, albeit slightly different to Rita's was evident through the time lapse.
Sally Banks (Mum) was a joy, and I know so many characters like this from my childhood/youth. Foul mouthed but a protective wing around her daughter, especially where dad was concerned.. Brilliantly characterised.
David Walker (Dad) as with Sally gave a wonderful performance as the foul-mouthed father, but you could tell that his heart was in the right place as far as his protective streak was concerned. And again, as with Sally, the character was wonderfully and honestly portrayed.
Samantha Robinson (Michelle) played the cheated on wife who was all to well aware of Bob's cheating ways, he's done it before and was found out before.There are some lovely touches with this character where you really feel for her. She works, brings up the kids and is treated like a doormat by Bob, but she loves him and tries, in vain, to keep the family unit going.
The play is just as much fun as the film, if not more, and still holds that ability to be course, rude, raunchy, shocking, lively and funny. The comedy is still as sharp and still has that air of covert naughtiness.
i noticed a few people walk out because of the language I imagine, but the language, albeit very coarse and explicit, was advised upon before the show and if people are offended by such language, why come to see the play? Their loss because the gritty Northern drama demands realistic language.
The soundtrack takes you right back to the decade and how apt can you get to start the play with Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”. It says it all! Using the soundtrack bites to change the scenes through the four seats with added choreography made the changes an entertaining watch.
Directed by Kate Wasserberg, she had kept all the grit and rawness of the film and retains all of the shock elements that made the film the classic that it became.
Set Design by Tim Shorthall and having a large countryside backdrop between the two sets of flats gave all the setting you needed for the moors and home scenes.
Lighting (Jason Taylor) and Sound (Emma Laxton) once more provided atmosphere, especially with the music sound to light sections which lit up the block of flats windows like a stack of disco lights.
Music from the likes of The Jam, Culture Club, Soft Cell and a host of early 80's classics make the soundtrack a joy throughout.
There's no interval,as this would spoil the fluidity of the story, but you don't need one because at only 85 minutes, and the speed of the play, this play hurtles along at a fine pace, so why break it up with an interval.
Go and relive your youth and see “Rita, Sue & Bob Too” at Derby theatre until Saturday 25 November 2017. It's great fun if you don't mind a bit of coarse language and nudity.

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