All’s Fur in love and class war

Fur Coat
Fur Coat
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This show has been a total sell-out and no wonder.

It may be 35 years since The Rochdale Cowboy, Mike Harding, wrote this classic of working-class Lancashire comedy but it hasn’t aged a bit and the references to the 70s (‘shopping at C & A’s’) and snatches of tracks, like Donna Summer’s ‘Hot Stuff’, served to add a rosy glow of nostalgia to the evening.

A clever ploy by the author is having each character introduce him or herself to the audience which had everyone in fits while at the same time setting the scene.

The comic moments are side-splittingly funny and the dialogue true to life.

Deidre Ollerenshawe (Zoe Hale) is marrying Mark Greenhalgh (Robert Walsh). Deidre is from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’, while Mark’s dad is a self-made man, runs his own business, is a member of the Masons, the Golf Club...

Matt Clark played Deidre’s neo-Fascist strict Catholic dad, Harry (‘Hitler was right!’) and Edith, her Mum, was played by Karen Miller.

Edith remembers Muriel, Mark’s mother (Kim Brookfield), before she was married when she lived in the same neighbourhood and she has her own opinion of her daughter’s future mother-in-law, namely ‘fur coat and no knickers’.

Deidre’s brothers, Peter (Alan Leversley) and Kevin (Sean Roberts), together with the best man, Hamish (Chris Franc), Grandad Nip (Bob Hopkinson who stole the show) and Father Molloy,the priest (a splendid portrayal of a drunk by Ken Brindley) go on a pub crawl for the Stag Night,

After visiting several hostelries, they get evicted from a nightclub because of an incident with the stripper and the groom eventually ends up in the street chained to a lamppost astride a blow-up woman.

The wedding reception the following day turns into a riot as the guests voice their thoughts about each other under a revolving spotlight.

Embarrassing revelations are revealed leading to a fracas and chaos, with Father Molloy staggering around dressed in his long johns clutching the aforementioned blow-up doll.

What made this production outstanding was the performance of the actors. It was as fast moving and slick as any professional show for which the producer, Karen Thompson, director, Kath Ashworth, plus every member of the cast and backstage staff deserve great credit.

Altogether, ‘a gradely neet owt.’ as Grandad would say.

Ron Ellis