Don’t be put off by the title. The ‘tobacco’ in question is silver-tongued local politician, Rory Tobacco, seasoned philanderer and womaniser.
This is the story of three sisters. Marie, an ex-actress, completely off the wall, spouting a non-stop stream of malapropisms that had the audience convulsed with laughter, once married to Rory Tobacco but divorced after he had an affair.
Eva is a Lib Dem spinster who has always expressed a distaste for sex.
And Cissie, a woman who changes men as often as David Cameron changes his policies.
They are meeting up at Marie’s house for the first time in years, summoned by Eva who has news for them. She has got engaged to a fellow councillor. One Rory Tobacco...
A shock to Marie AND to Cissie, with whom Tobacco had his extra marital affair. When Eva cruelly reveals this secret, Marie launches herself at Cissie and the two grapple around the stage like seasoned WWE performers.
Enter Rory himself, a man with no idea how a woman’s mind works and who can’t understand why the sisters suddenly turn on him. But he gets the message when Marie karate chops him in a place that had the men in the audience wincing in horror.
Rory has further problems when his daughter Natalia (Lauren Canavan) turns up dressed as a silver statue. She is a street performer and he is trying to have buskers banned.
Writer Alistair Hewitt had the rare knack of being able to get inside a woman’s mind. His dialogue is witty, risqué and achingly funny with some caustic political barbs thrown in along the way.
All three sisters played their parts brilliantly, Carole Unitt as Cissie; Carol Caine as Marie, and Debra Taylor as Eve.
David Birch as Rory was the archetypal silver-tongued politician who quickly lost his business-like manner and became suitably bemused as the sisters turned against him.
This play is not afraid to address questions of loyalty and examine the motives of the characters.
Is honesty always the best policy or are some things best kept secret?
Dennis Yardley must be congratulated on his thoughtful direction which brings these issues to the fore while never sacrificing the humour.
The Dangers of Tobacco will undoubtedly become a stalwart of the amateur theatre for years to come and there won’t be many better performances than this.