REVIEW: Curtain Up on a fine season at Millgate

YOU know a stage production is good when laughter can be heard in the auditorium in all the right places.

And Curtain Up in the theatre at Delph’s Millgate Arts Centre certainly falls into that bracket.

The audience was taken by Saddleworth Players into the lives of five very different women linked by the dilapidated theatre they had all inherited following the death of its owner, Michael.

There is hopeful daughter Theresa, played by Helen Rose, the one trying to hold it all together amid clashes of personality.

Characters, Teresa and Betty

Not least between first wife Pam, played by Siobhan Ebden – who could fall into the downtrodden category and who is quick to write off ambitions – and second wife Jackie (Suzanne Hudson).

Michael’s former secretary Sharon (Antonia Kinlan) is a gothic punk who means well and is eager to lead, especially through a memorable aerobics class.

And finally his mother Betty (Pauline Holt), who like many classic productions on stage and screen, may be the older character but is not afraid to deliver withering, comedic lines.

“I don’t know what he saw in M and S,” she said about why he left Pam for his new model. “He should’ve stuck to Asda.”

The audience sees the battle to renovate the theatre, complete with rows over pastel shades of paint, and the hope Hollywood legend Liza Minnelli would perform after agreeing to, complete with catering plans fit for a megastar.

“I’ll make her a giant shepherd’s pie,” said Betty.

When things fall through at the final minute, we see Pam in an altogether different light – with interesting results.

That leads to a perfectly delivered monologue by Theresa, which cuts through the bickering and the one-liners.

And all five women, despite their clash of personalities – mostly between Pam and Jackie – form a whole greater than the sum of their parts.

The audience was taken by Saddleworth Players into the lives of five very different women linked by the dilapidated theatre they had all inherited following the death of its owner, Michael.

As well as how the script is delivered, there are smaller parts that are just as humorous – a choice of biscuit being one.

Bouncing off each other, we get to see how a team can be formed, even when on the face of it some of them cannot stand each other.

That is all down to the way the cast delivers their parts, allowing the audience to see all five points of view but realising the common goal behind them.

It is now Curtain Up on the season that takes in the 50th anniversary of Millgate Arts Centre – if the first production is anything to go by, it will be a treat.

*CURTAIN Up runs in the theatre at Delph’s Millgate Arts Centre until Saturday, October 7. Tickets cost £12 for adults and £6 for under-18s and can be bought by clicking https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/millgateartscentre/e-yxbvbv.

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