Northern humour

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Funny Peculiar, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

YOU HAVE to understand Northern humour to fully appreciate Mike Stott’s play Funny Peculiar that played Devonshire Park Theatre last week.

Eastbourne audiences were warned in advance the play contained strong language, nudity and adult humour and it was billed as suitable for over 16s only so people knew what to expect before they went.

Mike Scott was a brilliant writer who died prematurely of lung cancer in 2009 and his play is very clever. It focuses on a marriage between two people who love each other but are incompatible sexually and in parts the play is absurd but there is also a lot of humour and a lot of pathos in the second act when the wife breaks down in heart-wrenching sobs.

Stott’s idea behind the main comic theme was that the permissive society of the 1970s might penetrate the outer reaches of northern, provincial humdrum existence.

Craig Gazey, best known as Graham Proctor in Coronation Street was perfect as the frustrated young grocer Trevor Tinsley who believes in free love and tells everyone to be true to themselves.

Suzanne Shaw, who recently played Eve in Emmerdale was also excellent as his frigid wife and they were a totally believable couple.Vicky Entwistle carried on her Janice Battersby character as the village busybody Mrs Baldry and provided the majority of the comedy.

No doubt some people were shocked by the play, it was rude but never crude. It was well acted by all the cast and well directed by Bob Tomson.

Amanda Wilkins