Delightful trip down holiday memory lane; DRAMA September in the Rain/Floral Pavilion .....
DOWN in the lovely new theatre of the old seaside resort, the trippers came in their sneakers, slacks and hair rinses, with their limps and memories, to see a flicker-book of images passing before them in brittle procession - the funny, the sorrowful, the vulgar and those bitter, shrugged-off disappointments, all there to swell the throat and cloud the eyes.
Yes, it was the late season in Blackpool and Liz and Jack were remembering their annual weeks in the attic-room, under the slanting room of Mavis's boarding-house, when the rhythm of the night was provided by the other guests flushing the lavatory.
Times were changing from Wallace Arnold's buses to Ford Populars, and in the distance you could hear the first rumblings of jet engines, waiting to whisk the next generation of holidaymakers to the Spanish coast. So it was the last September in Blackpool for Jack, played by Brian Dodd, and Liz (Pauline Daniels).
It was time for this couple from the Yorkshire pits, growing old together, to remember how it had been - sitting on deckchairs beneath the tower, with him in braces and polished shoes, rolling up his trouser legs in a heat wave, before together they paddled boldly and nakedfooted, among the jelly fish.
But this steaming pie of nostalgia, written by John Godber, does not sentimentalise the English holiday, now fading in the photo albums.
The familiar miseries are all present - fish and chips in the shelters, rain in the vinegar, donkeys old enough for Jesus, jam so thin you could see through it, stings and terrible rows. With the manners of the period and a voice from the quarries, Dodd overcomes his comparative youth to feed the long-suffering husband with the sympathy needed by a man, whose lungs, already crusted by coal dust, have to endure other people's cigarette smoke. Daniels superbly demonstrates the pluck of a wife, who sees yesterday through a veil of weary affection, but sees tomorrow with rare clarity and knows it is their last time.
Jan Heyes directs this little play with appropriate black and white sympathy and stark simplicity.
It was a nice night.
Pauline Daniels and Brian Dodd, in September in the Rain