Friday, January 27

Ladies Down Under – Rainhill Village Hall

In May 2018, Rainhill Garrick Society brought us ‘Ladies Day’ and now, over two years later they are back with a vengeance to bring us the follow-on show “Ladies Down Under”.  Written by Amanda Whittington, ‘Ladies down under’ follows the story of four unlikely friends who find themselves on the adventure of a lifetime to Australia after their big win at the races.

We meet Pearl (Lynn Aconley) and Jan (Linda Saavedra) at the airport whose lifelong friendship is clear from the start. These two perform in a believable and likable fashion with Pearl “mothering” the fearful Jan as she embarks on the long journey abroad. Soon Shelley (Jo Webster) makes her elaborate entrance, followed by the more timid Linda (Jen Martindale). I particularly enjoyed Jo’s performance as we see a range of emotion and a change as the character evolves. The big contrast in portrayal from all four of these ladies makes for enjoyable viewing and I think there is scope to go even further with the characterisation.

To complete the cast, Gerald Walker and Richard Parker play various comedic and cameo roles to the audience’s delight! These pair bring lots of laughter when performing as theatrical air hostesses and ever glorious drag queens!

It doesn’t take long before you realise that this local audience know exactly what they are in for and have come to be amused. The one-liners take off straight away and the audience can be heard chuckling from the get-go. There is a great community spirit and atmosphere in the room, and I think it comes from the loyalty of this society’s audience.

The first half lagged a little and the story lacked depth however the second half brought much more colour, life and much needed energy. Thank you to the chorus for braving a fun dance routine that kept us smiling. The show has a ‘soap style’ feel to it with themes of love and bickering at the forefront. It doesn’t have the crazy energy you need to label it a ‘farce’ but it is a light and playful show with a few unexpected turns too!

The use of accents throughout the show is very effective with Richard braving a fine Australian one and of course, the thick northern accents from this girl gang making all of the jokes that little bit funnier.

Without microphones, the casts’ diction must be commended. Utmost praise goes to the sound and lighting team too as these elements were kept simple but worked well for this production. A screen projector was used to support the simple set which was expertly managed by a slick team of stage hands. I particularly enjoyed the photo shots being shown up on the screen immediately – a clever touch!

Thank you to Rainhill Garrick Theatre Society for a great come back show to the joy of your faithful audience. There is no doubt that they will return time and time again for a slice of your entertainment!  ‘Ladies Down Under’ continues at Rainhill Village nightly at 7.30pm until the 16th of October 2021.

Reviewer: Bláthíne Maguire

Reviewed: 14th October 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★