Arrows of Desire
A one-act comedy written to celebrate the centenary of local Women’s Institutes.
President of West Nippleton WI, Sally Brown, holds century-old WI traditions dear but numbers are dwindling. Federation has passed a controversial amendment to the constitution and West Nippleton WI looks poised to change forever. Will Sally hold her ground or will an unexpected visitor who bears bad tidings, challenging opinions and a Cupid’s arrow change her mind? Cast: Ginny Davis and Sharon Baylis. Director: Victoria Pritchard
“Arrows of Desire” is suitable for performance at community, U3A, Women’s Institute and Probus Club events.
Running time: 45 mins
Fashionably Late at the Alma Theatre, Bristol
If last night was anything to go by, Ginny Davis has struck what, for the fringe at least, is a sadly neglected seam of theatrical ore – the concerned middle classes, always wanting to do the right thing, trying to see the best in everybody and adapting to change with a relaxed stoicism. She’s also to be applauded for getting out there and doing it; writer, producer and actress is no mean feat as anybody who has ever written anything for the stage and then wondered how to get it on will know.
Fashionably Late could have been the transcript of a Radio 4 programme about bereavement. Davis’s ear for her milieu is as acute as Alan Bennett’s is for his; detailed, sensitive and understanding, but with a happy recognition of the inherent comedy of her subject which is quite prone to straying into the absurd without a ‘by-your-leave’. Just how does one manage a family double birthday celebration and the funeral of one’s mum on the same day?
Luckily Ruth’s mum, also played by Ginny Davis with conviction and clarity, has a streak of devilment in her (describing having sex on the beach to her grandson qualifies I think) so it is no stretch to suppose her wish would have been for the party to go ahead with guests asked to come in fancy dress as a character suggested by the first letter of their own name. The audience has been prepared however, with a trip to an Anne Summers sex shop complete with a demonstration of a ‘remote controlled’ dildo and equally unblushing use (for mum that is) of, ‘farts’, ‘fuck-heads’, ‘willys’ and ‘wankers’ (all in the name of Facebook research you understand).
Davis has made a virtue of necessity, with the two hander taking on a whole array of characters from family members to funeral directors and a goth shop assistant – most of the younger characters seem to be struggling graduates or PhD students. The point is well made. James Goldsworthy, the other half of the two-hander, has the pleasure of playing Ruth’s son and husband and both his sisters…and the female shop assistants, all of which he does seamlessly and with style.
Some fun is had in deconstructing the form with both actors taking it in turns to address the audience directly, both in and ‘out’ of character. The effect is to add a kind of immediacy of the, ‘they’re making it up as they go along’ sort, to a play which has wit and charm in equal measure and which, like a Joyce Grenfell monologue or a Posy Simmonds cartoon will have audiences giggling with the delight of recognition. ★★★☆☆ Graham Wyles 16.9.2014
Stratford upon Avon Herald
Audience members wondered if they’d come to the right place on Sunday evening when they were handed an order of service rather than a programme at the start of Ginny Davis’s new play.
The clue was in the title when it transpired that “late” meant as in “deceased” and that this was to be a play about a family’s reaction to the death of a loved one. That it was billed as a comedy excited interest and also raised a few eyebrows!
Fashionably Late is the latest stand-alone episode about the Rich family who have featured in no less than four earlier plays written by Davis which have played to capacity audiences and attracted five star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe.
As a departure from her previous one-woman performance style Davis now shares the stage and 13 different male and female roles with newcomber James Goldsworthy who trained with the Year Out Drama Company based at Stratford College.
Having seen all four previous Rich family outings I was interested to see whether or not this would work and I am delighted to report that it adds another dimension to what is an already enjoyable formula.
Davis retains a delicious style of delivery that recalls memories of the hapless Wendy Craig in the 70s sitcom Butterflies, but the addition of Goldsworthy, who comes into his own as her somehow familiar mono-syllabic son, does give the piece wider audience appeal.
This episode is also a little more adult-themed than previous offerings, and the audience lap up the heady mix of spice and pathos.
Roll on episode 6. Tim Willis
We are very grateful to Arts Council England, R Locke & Son and Lodders Solicitors for their generous sponsorship.