ANYONE lucky enough to see Tansley Players production ’Touch and Go’ last week enjoyed a rollicking evening of entertainment.
The farce, written by Derek Benfield is about two couples Brian (Peter Wilmot) and Hilary (Julie Thornhill) and George (Chris Gale) and Jessica (Bev Oates) and their extra-marital affairs.
Unbeknown to Brian his best friend George is having an affair with his wife Hilary. Hilary has encouraged Brian to take up jogging to allow her the opportunity to meet George but she has unwittingly given Brian the opportunity to conduct an affair of his own with Wendy (Donna Yeates) a bright young thing with obvious designs on Brian.
Brian’s jogging only takes him as far as George’s flat where the delicious Wendy awaits. He arrives exhausted, apparently in no condition to satisfy Wendy’s desires in the bedroom. Wendy has cooked and Brian finds himself squirming out of joining in with this new found domesticity. He wants to stick to the arrangement of meeting every Wednesday for two hours with only one item on the menu. Wendy was ably portrayed by Donna who performed the part of the demanding temptress well while Peter slipped into his role with ease.
The action moves to Brian’s flat where George arrives in cycling helmet and cycling clips, looking rather like a strait-laced solicitor. He is supposed to be playing darts. The audience are then treated to a pacey mix of farce and slapstick. Hilary’s full on approach to the encounter erupts on stage; she jumps on him and pins him to the sofa and the pair bounce between shall we, shan’t we while Hilary debates whether Brian will return. George of course knows that he won’t and is keen to get on.
One of the highlights is while Hilary is in the bedroom. George prepares himself for her return by undressing, posturing and preening in front of the mirror. Comic genius from Chris Gale. The audience were in hysterics. Hilary provides a wonderfully spirited performance with a mixture of innuendo and at times frantic delivery coupled with wonderful facial expressions. Julie, who plays her is a Dales Diva, and with 20 plus Dale Divas in the audience George and Hilary’s performance in this scene brought the house down.
The play then to’s and fro’s between each flat with fast action much of the time and many situations where either couple is nearly found out. Ridiculous explanations are given as to why bicycle clips are found in Brian’s flat and why Brian’s dressing gown is in George’s flat.
Jessica, George’s wife returns home unexpectedly to find Brian and Wendy in her flat, mistakes her for the cleaner and then deliberately plays along with Brian’s painful excuses for Wendy’s presence. He tries to pass her off as a Red Cross nurse. George colludes by convincing Jessica that Brian has a serious heart condition and needs to have a nurse nearby when he jogs. Bev kept the audience guessing as to how much she believed and how much she didn’t. She combined the gullibility of the innocent wife with the knowing ways of the shrewd mistress (only confirmed in the last line of the play).
The play continues in this touch and go fashion. There was a delightful scene with Brian and George sitting on the sofa each considering how to deal with Jessica’s sudden appearance. Their timing was impeccable as they bobbed up and down on the sofa mimicking each others movements and mannerisms.
The final dinner party at George’s house provides much entertainment as Hilary spirals out of control as Brian deliberately shifts blame from himself by telling her that Wendy is George’s girlfriend. Hilary comes to realise what Brian has been up to but decides that she would rather like the jogging to continue. This brought a big round of laughter as Peter (Brian) is well known in Tansley for raising money for charity through a variety of running events.
Finally, it turns out that Jessica is also happy for George to go to darts every Wednesday because she too has plans of her own for that crucial 2 hour slot every week.
There were a couple of occasions when the cast were held up from continuing as the audience struggled to contain their laughter, all adding to the spirit of the evening.
Congratulations Tansley Players and well done to you all. Thank you for the best laugh I’ve had in a long while.