Actors sparkle in comedy
As a mother-of-the-bride and with a wedding fast-approaching I found an instant rapport with the characters and situation in Celebration.
This play, written by the late Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, is akin to two little soap operas, a wedding and a funeral, linked only by the death of everyone’s friend and favourite uncle, Arthur (Alban Dorning), who played the likeable drunk.
Although set in the 60s, this northern comedy shows some attitudes never change.
The action in the first act is set in an upstairs room in the Cricketers Arms the eve before the wedding of Christine Lucas and Bernard Fuller (Emma Lakeland and Paul Hansen).
Mother-of-the-bride Rhoda (Marion Yardley) is becoming more harassed by the minute and beginning to doubt her decision-making skills when everyone agrees that Whitakers is the best catering firm, implying that Rhoda has got it wrong.
She laments the lack of help from Bernard’s family, and even when his aunt and mother (Norma Kelly and Marilyn Brandwood-Spencer) arrive they do very little.
Act 2 takes us to the Lucas family home about six months later, following the funeral of Uncle Arthur. Only then do we hear from Mrs Beckett (Shirley Southern) - Uncle Arthur’s partner and realise how she has been snubbed by the family, with no invitation to the wedding or the wake.
Sparks fly when she turns up at the Lucas house and a few home truths follow. But then there is a softening of attitudes and an exchange - a picture of Arthur for Mrs B and the offer of her now unwanted home to the happy young couple.
Expertly directed by Don Stephenson, the play was a great platform for some fine mature actresses to shine.