The play revolves around four fish-filleting women who work in a northern fish factory. When, as actually did happen in 2005, Royal Ascot came to York, the foursome decides that a day at the races would be an ideal way to celebrate when one of their number is due to leave: a change from the weighing, trimming and packing fillets of fish that is their normal daily routine.
They duly arrive at the racecourse where their first dilemma is how to get in. The solution presents itself after a very short ethical debate; scruples are quickly overcome and in they go.
Gradually, especially as the champagne kicks in, the girls reveal the more poignant aspects of their lives. All this is wrapped up in a feisty comedy for which director David Muncaster has found the perfect cast.
Lucy Oliver is outstanding as, “The Gob’s under starter’s orders”, Shelley! She is the brassy would-be star looking forward to finding, by any means, a rich man to whisk her away from fish.
Linda, a shy young woman with a particular cross to bear, is played empathetically by Sarah Lorenz, whilst the ever popular Ali Hulford is sensible, single parent, Jan, dominated by her concern for her daughter. Will Linda break out from her restricted life? Will Jan find happiness despite the empty nest syndrome?
Chris Race, last seen as Mother Hen in the sell-out KLT panto, now plays Pearl. Pearl is “not retiring”, just leaving to spend more time with her husband – but will the quiet life suit her?
These four capable actresses are admirably supported by five equally talented men. Watch out for Graham Browne’s expertly researched (and rehearsed) tic-tac moves as he explains the betting terms to the girls. Move over John McCririck!
Next add Riyaz Assrafally as Joe, the factory supervisor, and Chris Marriott as mystery man, Barry. Also seen in Little Red Riding Hood as the Big Bad Wolf and Granny Hood respectively, these two actors display their versatility in very different roles in this play.
We welcome Garth Maunders who takes the parts of both shifty ticket tout and addicted gambler. Garth is new to KLT but definitely not to acting as his brief but effective appearances confirm.
Finally Miles Buckley, speaking with a gentle Irish lilt that sounds spot on, is the perfect weight and shape to be a convincing jockey.
A simple set is made effective by clever use of projected images, moveable props and evocative sound effects and music, courtesy as usual of the skilled backstage KLT crew.
The feisty group of women don’t mince their words: Shelley, in particular, has a fishwife mouth so expect some “language”. This raucous comedy, full of female camaraderie, which is very funny, at times heart-rending, and with varying outcomes for the women, is one not to be missed. POSH HATS OPTIONAL!