Show of support for a worthy cause

DOUBLE ACT: Sharon Holland Taylor and Brenda Chapel promote their play Dirty Laundry.

DOUBLE ACT: Sharon Holland Taylor and Brenda Chapel promote their play Dirty Laundry.

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Grans, mums and a young girl were in the audience to watch a play about every woman’s dread raise money for a good cause.

Some had brought along lacy bras and frilly knickers for a charity collection - others went home with colourful underwear which they had won in a raffle.

Dotted among the crowd last night (Wednesday, September 12) were grandads, dads and boys who had come along to support the fundraiser for Bakewell-based Helen’s Trust, a charity which enables the terminally ill to be cared for in their own homes.

All were gathered at Sheffield Memorial Hall to see the first performance in a two-night run of Dirty Laundry, co-starring and co-written by Sharon Holland Taylor, who lives in Bakewell.

Breast cancer is a difficult subject to broach in a play. But far from being a journey of doom and gloom, Dirty Laundry offers a message of hope - that a life-changing diagnosis can pluck people out of their comfort zone and plunge them into enriching new friendships and new activities.

The play is a comic two-hander, but Sharon and co-star Brenda Chapel carefully avoid making light of a serious subject. Instead the humour revolves around gossipy neighbours, a bubbly beautician and a committed Catholic with a saucy sideline, all of whom had the audience roaring with laughter at the opening night in Sheffield.

Both actresses work hard to portray the handful of characters, using different accents and mannerisms to create sparkling personalities.

Laundry baskets and a washing machine double as on-stage storage for wigs, clothes and shoes which the performers pull on and take off during the course of the play.

This awesome and inspiring performance piece makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you wish that a cure for breast cancer will be found soon.

Dirty Laundry, directed by Andrea Turner, continues to raise money for Helen’s Trust at Sheffield Memorial Hall tonight (September 13) at 7.30pm.

Doing its bit for breast cancer awareness month, the play will aid the breast cancer care unit at Derby Royal Hospital on October 18 and 19 when it is performed at Derby Guildhall Theatre.

GAY BOLTON