It has increasingly become a feature of local theatre societies to reflect in their range of productions the times in which we live. Looking back over the years when audiences understandably turned to film and television rather than spend 2 – 3 hours watching a stultifying three act drama in the local village hall, our local societies have embraced the present to bring us subject material which entertains at every level. Just so with Chelsfield Players who chose for their last 2021 – 2022 season’s production ‘Ladies Down Under’.
Back in 2012 the Players performed the prequel ‘Ladies Day’ in which four fish packers from Hull have a big day out at the races and win a half million jackpot. Albeit somewhat far stretched, the play is a great mix of humour and pathos, stirred in with a keen eye for 21st century life. This sequel takes them to Oz with even more imagination boggling adventures.
Bringing us slap up to date however were the outrageous and hilarious appearances of ‘Koala Bare’ and ‘Bondi Bitch’ played respectively by Patrick Neylan and Dave Bacon in shapely legs and drag outfits that would have done credit to any Notting Hill Festival costumier. Both they and Ken Clarke extended their versatility by sharing three parts each.
A basic set complemented by effective lighting and sound effects enabled easy transitions from airports and flight cabins through to the Australian outback as our four intrepid ladies Pearl, Jan, Shelley and Linda, played respectively by Philippa Rooke, Gill Bacon, Lorna Kenny and Sabrina Bell, navigated their tortuous ways through a somewhat surreal series of adventures in present-day Oz.
Once again congratulations to the director, cast and crew for another delightful evening’s entertainment in Chelsfield Village Hall.