Family secrets in clever set

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Family Planning - Preston Drama Club Playhouse Theatre, Preston

A pleasant family comedy all about the chaos caused when teenage daughter tries to tell her hypochondriac Dad she is planning her wedding as she is pregnant but he gets the wrong end of the stick and thinks the family are actually arranging his funeral.

Peter Howarth gave a good comic performance as Idris, the father, who has every ailment under the sun yet whose body fervently desired by their next door neighbour, Maisie (Carol Caine), much to the fury of his wife , Elsie (Cath Peterson) who comes in as Maisie is chasing him round the room in her underwear.

Lauren Canavan fitted the part of Tracy perfectly, a typical teenager who just wants her boyfriend, Bobby (Dominic Dwyer), father of the forthcoming offspring, to tell he loves her.

Pity he gets her name wrong.

Tim Butler played Maise’s silent son, Jeffrey, who just sat in a chair with a ball of wool and proceeded to start knitting.

We never found out why.

The real star of the show was Gran, who was marooned in the bedroom upstairs (a clever piece of set design).

Marion Yardley seemed to be having the time of her life lying in bed, chatting to passing flies and screaming at the family downstairs.

And it is she who gets them to reveal all the family secrets under the guise of reading their fortunes.

An entertaining night out, indeed.

The play was directed and designed by Janet Dawson.

Ron Ellis