Photos Reviews

Ladies' Day

November 2010

by Howard Eilbeck

First Race - 7.30pm (under floodlights)

Riders Recent Outings Trainers
Maggie Bourgein An outright winner on Burlington Bertie in the Topsham Spring Handicap Director: Howard Eilbeck
Anny Kilbourne A bit of a melodrama last time out, but widely tipped in this event Assistant Director & Prompt: Janine Warre
Angela Wallwork Longest trip out for some time, but known to have the stamina for a long run Production Manager: Chris Williams
Maggie Butt Well placed in the Cathedral Stakes at the Autumn meeting over the pews Stage Manager: Cally Pettit
Bill Pattinson Trained a winner in Winter's Tale last Autumn, and rode Chairman to victory in May Lighting: Peter Tapp
Chris Williams Appealed to the punters with well timed gallop in the Spring, excellent sprinter Sound: John Bradley
Maggie Bourgein
Ron Murray
Alan Caig A successful outcome with Leontes last term, and saddled several winners for the Music Hall Champion Hurdle in May Props: Rosie Munns
Rose Gander
Stewart Price Dark horse, but arrives with an excellent pedigree Wardrobe: Isla Morgan
Angela Wallwork
Bob Drury Close to the action with The Oracle last year expected to do well over a similarly short course this time out Set Construction: Eliot Wright John Bradley Phil Keen
Keith Palmer Reliable performer, good stayer, returns to the action after a long layoff Publicity: Bill Pattinson
Poster: Phil Keen
Programme: Alan Caig
Photographs: Victoria Jones
Front of House: Maggie Butt
Sharon Wannell

Estuary Players are grateful to the following for their help and support:

Liz Hodges for the use of rehearsal space at The Globe Hotel external link.
Ann Price for the loan of horse racing tack
Paul and Valerie Holland for the loan of jockey's racing colours
Sara Vernon for permission to quote from her book Talking about Topsham
Catriona Batty for permission to use material from Topsham Museum external link.
Topsham News for acting as Box Office
Topsham Handyman Services (tel: 879712)
Steve and Angela Milton, Veronica Coe, and the Topsham Community Association external link.


From Estuary News - A review of the Field:

... a thoroughly good fun evening ... it flew to the finishing post ...

The programme is a racecard. Each character is a horse and each actor is a jockey. There is a brief resume of the horses' past performance and a forecast of their chances. This looks as if it might be fun...

The lights come up on a row of four women in a factory preparing and packing fish. It has been their life for years but one of them is about to leave, so the others decide to give her a farewell treat.

The women are aged between thirty and sixty. My only worry was that some of them were a bit too genteel... their accents were excellent, but something about the tone and pitch of their voices suggested more polished backgrounds - and they were clean and not obviously smelly! Those of us who lived here 40 years ago will remember the stench from Marinpro on the Rec once a month when they cleaned out the sprat factory. Angela Wallwork, however shed all pretentions to gentility and gave a rip-roaring performance.

But the other women soon developed their own personalities and stories, and after a somewhat slow and one-paced start, dark undertones began to emerge, the pace began to vary and I became completely engaged. Linda's (Anny Kilborne) dissolute mother was wrecking her life; Pearl's (Maggie Butt) apparently perfect marriage had an extra ingredient called Barry; Shelley's (Angela Wallwork) search for sex, fame and fortune was leading nowhere beyond the bottle; Jan's (Maggie Bourgein) obsessive devotion to her revoltingly good and successful daughter had been a mask to cover up her secret love... who didn't even know that she loved him.

For her farewell treat, the women decide to take Pearl to Ladies' Day at Ascot. It's the year when it was moved to York.

The cast rose very well to the task of coping with the mixture of awe and excitement inspired by such a huge culture shock. Magnificent dresses, hats and unsuspected truths emerge. Pearl's marriage is not as perfect as everyone had thought and there is a touching scene when she meets the ghost of Barry, her bookie lover on the racecourse. Jan gets horrendously and very convincingly drunk, forgets her daughter and confesses her love for the foreman of the fish factory. Linda meets an old, hungry and disillusioned jockey called Patrick and invites him home for a pizza. By the end of the play I really wanted him to turn up.

To crown it all, they seem set to win the Tote Scoop when Patrick's horse Broken Dreams looks as if he's going to win the last race. If he does, they will be multi-millionaires. I shan't tell you the result.

There were some lovely cameo performances - Notably Bob Drury's down-and-out Kevin, and Stewart Price's sad jockey, Patrick.

It was a thoroughly good fun evening. It took a short while to get off the ground, but once it did, it flew to the finishing post.

- Reviewed by: Sara Vernon


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