This years’s spring production by the Walkington Pantomime Players was the play by John Godber called ‘Lucky Sods.’ I attended the Wednesday performance in the Village Hall and the hall was full with an expectant audience well stocked with nibbles, sandwiches and drink.
The cast and backstage crew presented an excellent performance which showed that a lot of hard work and stage craft had gone into the production. The pop songs between the scene changes kept us all guessing.
The two ‘Lucky Sods’ were Jean (Claire Sreeves) and Morris (Ben Gardener), a bickering northern couple who had been married for 23 years; both were bored by the routine of their lives and only seemed to be interested in checking their lottery numbers on a Saturday night. Even then they routinely pick the same numbers until one weekend Jean changes Morris’s numbers which leads to further augments and a £2 million lottery jackpot win.
There are a lot of funny lines in the play for example; Morris explains to Jean’s sister, Annie (Emma Drew) that the ‘cash is kept upstairs under the bed and you should see the bed, it’s 3ft off the floor and the bedroom door won’t open.’ Annie and her husband, Norman (Brian Shaw), who was recently made redundant, soon become resentful of the newly found wealth and Norman complains that very little trickles down their way. As an example of this Morris and Jean buy Annie and Norman a Soap on a Rope for their Christmas present.
Before the lottery win Jean dreams what she would do if they won and longs to visit Hollywood and Venice, while Morris would settle for Bridlington. However, following the holiday to Beverley Hills and Venice Jean and Morris see a change in their good luck and despite the glamour and the money the couple slowly drift apart. Both attempt to use their fortune to find personal happiness which sadly ends in tragedy.
Morris goes off with Connie (Kathie Wilkinson), an old girlfriend, and Annie develops cancer and the audience, although still very engaged in the performance, are finding it harder to laugh.
Then finally, Annie and Norman have their own small lottery win and a wiser Morris returns home to discover the last tragedy which I won’t divulge.
Someone once said ‘comedy and tragedy are different sides of the same coin’ a very apt thought for this enjoyable play. I hope I haven’t made this sound too gloomy or depressing; like I said earlier, the play is a funny comedy, but then Jean and Morris’s good luck deserts them and we are left with a sad conclusion.
The four main characters, Jean, Morris, Annie and Norman are all excellent and they are very well supported by other members of the cast; Connie (Kathie Wilkinson), Molly (Gwen Rodmell) as Morris’s mother, the waiter in the Beverley Hill Hotel (Ken Hearne) and the Vicar (Martin Gore).
Well done to all the Walkington Pantomime Players and we look forward to the next production which is the pantomime Hansel and Gretel.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Margaret Craven for the photos.