Guaranteed to put a smile on your face and uplift your spirits, Ladies’ Day is the feel-good play that takes a classic day at the races to a whole new level.
Image credits: Graeme Braidwood
Pearl, Jan, Shelley and Linda all lead rather simple lives. Spending their days packing fish for supermarkets, the quartet decides to switch up a days work for the races that changes their lives forever.
Written by Amanda Whittington, the comedy first graced the stage in 2005 and as the second in-house production at The Grand following on from Brassed Off in 2017, it’s been given a twist specifically to fit its latest audience.
The play is originally set in Hull, but on this occasion, the ladies’ Northern lifestyle has been given a Black Country makeover, which sees the foursome head for a Champagne-fuelled day out at Wolverhampton Racecourse.
While Pearl, Jan, Shelly and Linda may all seem to lead fairly quiet lives, their day at the races sees them reveal their deepest and darkest secrets to one another in both comical and dramatic ways.
What’s done so well throughout the play is the way it’s been cleverly written to give each character their chance to shine. Former Eastenders actress, Cheryl Fergison takes on the role of Jan, and whilst at first, her character seems quite reserved, by act two she’s swapped her picnic for Champagne and delivers what is easily the funniest scene in the entire show. For me, Fergison absolutely stole the show.
There’s no doubt that Emmerdale‘s Deena Payne is as much of a talent on stage as she is on screen. She gives an exceptionally powerful performance as Pearl, a wife, mother and grandmother who’s secret is spilt to the group during Jan’s drunken antics.
Glamourous Shelley, played by Hollyoaks star Emma Ridgby, appears to have her life planned out; she dreams of making it as an actress and mixing with the stars, but life outside the races couldn’t be any more polar opposite for her.
Ridgby’s attempt at the Black Country accent certainly isn’t the strongest and at some points, I found her dialogue very difficult to understand, but it all adds good humour to the production and her witty one-liners add a subtle extra hint of humour to her character.
Happy-go-lucky Linda, played by Roisin O’Neill, is a huge Tony Christie fan, so much in fact, that the ladies but all their bets on horses named after his songs. Her life at home may come with its struggles, but Linda has bags of personality that light up when on her hunt to meet Tony Christie, she finds herself a jockey.
Linda’s dreams come true in more ways than one, where she ends up meeting her idol, Tony Christie. Christie’s classic hits have been a part of the show since it first hit the stage in 2005, but this is the first time the man himself has taken to the stage to perform each song live.
Ultimately, if what you’re looking for is feel-good show that is probably far too relatable after you’ve had one too many on a night out on the town with the girls, Ladies’ Day certainly won’t disappoint.
A beautiful tale of friendship, love and everything in between, Ladies’ Day is yet another heart-warming show for The Grand to add to its ever-growing bow of in-house performances.
Ladies’ Day runs at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday, July 28. Click here to get your tickets.
Disclaimer: I was gifted these tickets by Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. All views of this performance are my own unless stated otherwise.