Fur Coat and No Knickers – Review

To celebrate its 100th production Burton’s Little Theatre Company (LTC) is staging a revival of its first ever play at the Brewhouse Arts Centre.
Mike Harding’s Fur Coat and No Knickers, which was a sell-out for LTC in March 1991, covers the stag night of Mark Greenhalgh, played by Tim Robinson, and the following day’s wedding to Deirdre Ollerenshawe, played by Caitlin Pritchard.
During these proceedings we are introduced to the members of the two families in a series of freeze frames that stop the action while the protagonists introduce themselves to the audience . . .  along with their little secrets.
On the Ollerenshawe side we have: mother Edith, played by Elaine Pritchard, dad Harry, played by Mark Pearson, brothers Peter and Kevin, Alec Tomlinson and Dan Tunks respectively, and Edith’s dad Nip, played by Mike Mear, and the aforementioned Deidre.
For the groom, Mark, we have: dad Ronald, played by Leon Ratcliffe, and mum Muriel, played by Vicky Fryer, also in Mark’s corner is Hamish, the best man, played by Adam Woodward.
Officiating at the marriage is Father Finbar Molloy, played by Matt Bancroft, sporting the kind of Irish accent that you really do need to have known a Catholic priest  while growing up to fully understand.
While Mr Bancroft’s Father Molloy is brilliantly realised it is Mr Mear’s Nip who has the best lines but for me it is Dan Tunks that steals the show as Kevin, although I did think his dancing at the disco and his sideburns owed rather a lot to 70s porn stars – or so I am told.
Also featured are Vanessa Birch, Sarah Spencer, Ken and Carol Brown, Tom Pritchard and Leon Ratcliffe’s daughter Georga, who is the same age her dad was when he appeared in the show in 1991.
The strong cast make this a delightful romp through a very different age. One that still had vivid memories of the Second World War and had yet to come to terms with casual sexism and racism.
The fun begins as the Ollerenshawes prepare for the stag night during which a drunk Mark is chained to a lamppost with a blow-up rubber doll. The wedding itself is quite high spirited too with half the guests, including the priest, suffering blinding hangovers.The first night audience were clearly ready to be entertained as the laughter rarely faltered and the almost full auditorium showed their appreciation at the final curtain.
Fur Coat and No Knickers, directed by John Bowness, runs until Saturday, June 27, at the Brewhouse Arts Centre in Union Street with shows at 7.30pm each evening plus a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm
Tickets cost £9 for adults / £8 concessions (concessions Wednesday and Thursday only. All matinee tickets are £0 and are available from the Brewhouse box office on 01283 508100.

Bill Pritchard.

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