REVIEW: September in the Rain, Esk Valley Theatre

Esk Valley Theatre, September In The Rain, dress rehersals
Picture: Ceri Oakes Photography
www.cerioakes.com
Esk Valley Theatre, September In The Rain, dress rehersals Picture: Ceri Oakes Photography www.cerioakes.com

The plastic seats, small stage and community cohesion of Goathland Village Hall are somehow consonant with this story of a couple’s yearly holidays in Blackpool.

But rest assured, once the actors are on stage, we experience professional theatre of high quality from Esk Valley Theatre.

Liz (Una McNulty) and Jack (Mark Stratton) rarely even hold hands, but their devotion runs deep. This is the Donald McGill generation of knotted handkerchiefs and rolled-up trousers. Both actors effortlessly telescope the history of a marriage into a couple of hours of theatre.

Una McNulty embodies the rock-solid stoicism that we remember of the 1940s/50s generation. We see a single crisis in her life that almost ends her marriage, but it is rescued by a trip up Blackpool Tower.

Mark Stratton is the taciturn miner who nevertheless drenches his hankie at a performance of The Student Prince. He is one of those actors who can elicit gales of laughter just by raising an eyebrow. His character is a study of a generation of honourable men lost to pit closures.

Enterprising and inspirational direction from Sheila Carter extracts the full range of emotions from John Godber’s play while long-serving production manager Graham Kirk makes the most of limited resources with the set and lighting design.

Tour dates:

Friday March 24: The Galtres Centre, Easingwold. Tickets also from Galtres Centre on 01347 822472

Thursday March 30: Moorsholm Memorial Hall. Tickets also on 01287 660839

Friday March 31: Fylingdales Hall, Robin Hood’s Bay. Tickets also from Station Road Stores

Saturday April 1: the Milton Rooms, Malton. Tickets also from the Milton Rooms on 01653 696240

Monday April 3: Ingleby Greenhow Village Hall. Tickets also from Fawcetts Butchers

Tuesday April 4: Whitby Coliseum. Tickets also from the Coliseum on 01947 825000

Wednesday April 5: Charltons Community Centre: matinee 2.30pm. Tickets also from Mace, Boosebeck.

Thursday April 6: Evron Centre, Filey.

Friday April 7: Thirsk Town Hall. Tickets also from the Artist’s Palette on 01845 574457

Saturday April 8: the Robinson Institute, Glaisdale. Tickets also from Glaisdale Village Shop

York Theatre Royal from Tuesday April 11 to 15