Repetitive, long-winded, stupid

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Over My Dead Body - The Broughton Players - Preston Playhouse

There may be worse written plays than this one but, happily, I haven’t seen them.

I don’t mind farces if they are not too silly and they are popular with audiences – indeed the theatre rang out with laughter all around me, but I found it repetitive, stupid and long-winded.

The plot was simple. Pensioner Gerry’s wife, Helen, has died. Daughter Shirley, and son-in-law Mark, want to move in and look after him. So does sister-in-law, Amanda. So does a divorced old friend, Isobel. So does his teenage cleaner, Carol. But Gerry wants to live alone.

The cast did their admirable best, but silk out of pig’s ears comes to mind in relation to the material.

Melvyn Carter was excellent as Gerry, reminiscent of Capt. Mainwaring in Dad’s Army, bullied by the women.

David Birch was Mark, constantly egging Gerry on with digs and grimaces that made you want to swat him like a wasp at your picnic.

Kath Dobson as Shirley suffered constant references to her poor cooking skills and keeps her gormless husband in check while labouring a long-running joke about everyone calling her casserole a ‘stew’

Christine Hunter-Hughes played the battleaxe to end all battleaxes as Amanda, a gorgon of a woman.

Carol Ennis as Isobel brought a bit of suggestive excitement into proceedings, and, for a moment, I hoped Gerry was going to ravish her in front of Amanda, which would have livened things up if nothing else.

Sadly, it only amounted to a peck on the cheek and a squeeze of the hand.

Ron Ellis