Theatre Review: Fur Coat And No Knickers, Ace Centre, Nelson

Cast of the play 'Fur Coat and No Knickers' performed by The Garrick at their dress rehersal at The Ace Centre.
Cast of the play 'Fur Coat and No Knickers' performed by The Garrick at their dress rehersal at The Ace Centre.

EE ba gum there’s some reet goings on down at the Ace Centre in Nelson this week.

Them there actors from The Garrick are having a right todo telling the story of the salt of earth Ollerenshaws and the snobbish Greenhalghes coming to blows at a family wedding.

And there was never a better “reet good do” than Mike Harding’s classic “Fur Coat And No Knickers” which attracted a full house on opening night on Wednesday.

This is a play that needs to be portrayed just right to bring out its broad Lancashire humour and The Garrick cracked it, thanks to a combination of old stagers who really made the parts their own and the younger cast members who loved just playing it for laughs.

It is full of down to earth near-the-knuckle humour, not a bit politically correct, and making fun of Catholicism and snobbery and depicting Northern life as Mike Harding saw it when he penned this gem in the 70s,

Well done director Alan Miller for his interpretation and all the cast for their performances which had the audience laughing out loud, certainly in the second half when it really came into its own right through the stag night antics of the men and the hilarious wedding day itself which quickly descends into farce.

Gordon Ingleby as the sex obsessed, rum swiggin grandfather of the bride, John Cummings as her Hitler-loving father and Alan Bailey as the hilarous drunken Fr Finbar Molloy, the Irish Catholic priest and family friend who reduces the wedding ceremony to a farce through his antics, are all outstanding as they bring their wonderful characters to life.

Carolanne Connolly is splendid as mother of the bride Edith Ollerenshaw, trying to put on a face for her snooty soon-to-be in-laws while keeping her wayward sons Kevin and Peter in check. Paul Cunliffe and James Bateman both excel in these comedy roles, while Laura Yates gets it just right as dippy bride Deirdre.

When she falls for snooty Mark Greenhalgh, played for laughs by Kevin Kay, with Gary Leonard putting in a humorous performance as best man Hamish, it is a recipe for families at war. Viv Thornber, the bridegroom’s mum Muriel, is brought down to earth by her new in-laws, and smaller parts are well played by Wayne Brankin, Leigh Palfreeman, Steve Royle, Hannah Rigby and Alan Bullock. “Fur Coat And No Knickers” runs until tomorrow.