Review: Badapple Theatre, September In The Rain, Theatre On Your Doorstep Tour until September 30 (From York Press)
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Review: Badapple Theatre, September In The Rain, Theatre On Your Doorstep Tour until September 30
SEPTEMBER In The Rain is the first of three separate tours by Kate Bramley’s Green Hammerton company Badapple Theatre before the year’s end.
Kate has written the other two, Eddie And The Gold Tops and Farmer Scrooge’s (Yorkshire) Christmas Carol, and is directing both revived shows.
In other words, Kate had plenty on her plate already when fellow director Sue Rimmer met her for coffee and a chat, and Sue suggested directing John Godber’s September In The Rain to fill the September slot.
Kate concurred, and Godber gave his approval, even though his two-hander is scheduled for an upcoming tour of number one theatres.
“It’s my favourite play. Don’t muck it up,” Godber once advised Nick Lane, when Lane was directing it in the York Theatre Royal Studio in February 2006.
Sue Rosser, who first directed the play ten years ago, certainly hasn’t mucked it up! Far from it. For a start, she has made excellent choices in her casting: Robert Angell, a Godber regular for so many years and now in his third Badapple show, is playing taciturn miner Jack, just as he did in Lane’s York production.
Emma Tugman, a Yorkshire actress with a “proper job” as theatre administrator at Harrogate Theatre, is on a high after dancing in the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony and playing the Archangel Raphael in the York Mystery Plays .
That exuberance carries over into her performance as Liz, who is more flirtatious than past interpretations of this long-suffering role.
Sue Rosser was keen to break away from the stereotype of the nagging wife and the henpecked husband, bringing out the love – and complexities of love – that glues Jack and Liz together, for all their flare-ups, fall-outs, frustrations and, come the play’s end, their fading light too.
They could be your parents or your grandparents, just as in reality Godber drew on his own mining family for his tale of a Yorkshire couple going back to Blackpool every traditional mining holiday in September, from young love to their raincoat old age on one final bus trip.
The setting for Godber’s seaside trip down memory lane could not be simpler in John Bramley’s stage and lighting design: a bench, seafront railings and lamps, two deckchairs, and the rest left to your imagination and the playing skills of Angell and Tugman.
Angell is always a master of economy in his acting, making every look, every gesture, count, and his Jack says plenty in his few words, which are often Yorkshire-blunt yet sharp. You sense the volcano always on the cusp of erupting, and yet Jack would be lost without his Liz.
Tugman’s Liz, in turn, is a chatterbox, emotional, pushed to the limit by his brusqueness and intransigence, yet somehow always hopeful of blue skies.
If you haven’t seen this 1984 play before, you’ve probably lived its world of smelly donkeys, The Student Prince matinee, B&Bs and fish and chips on the front. Re-live it through Jack and Liz’s eyes, when the seaside comes inland to a village hall near you.
Badapple Theatre, September In The Rain, Theatre On Your Doorstep Tour until September 30.
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