The West Wittering Players enter “unwoke” territory

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The West Wittering Players will be carrying a gentle warning in the programme as they stray into rather unwoke territory with their latest production.

“We are presenting the Ray Cooney play Run For Your Wife from Wednesday, March 29 to Saturday, April 1,” says director Dennis Harrison. “We are having fun rehearsing but we are aware that it will be necessary to make the audience aware that it is a play set in the 80s and reflects society as it was then… and that it's a bit unwoke!

“But we are doing this show because we thought that people wanted a bit of a laugh. In the autumn we did a Lest We Forget which was a commemoration of the centenary of the Memorial Hall and it went very well. It was very well received by the whole village and it was very much a tribute to the people of the village that died but by its very nature it was perhaps a little bit harrowing. We did try to have a little bit of humour in there but we just felt that we wanted to give people a bit of a laugh this time, and really we chose it because it is Ray Cooney. We've done a couple of Ray Cooneys before, There Goes The Bride and a few others and we just thought it would be fun but, as I say, it is set in the 1980s and it really rather reflects the 1980s.”

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The company have left in the unwoke bits – with one exception – and will be urging people to see them in context: “They will know that it is for humour as opposed to social commentary but there was one change that we have made.

Dennis HarrisonDennis Harrison
Dennis Harrison

"There is a bit of the dialogue which is about one wife which the husband tries to pass off as a transvestite and she goes off walking down the street. And there is one part of the dialogue where someone says ‘She isn't going to walk down the street like that, is she?’ and the retort is ‘That's disgusting!’ We've changed that and we've put in ‘That’s brave!’ instead. But there were references to nancies and pansies that we have kept because that was basically just reflecting the society at the time.

“The play starts with two wives reporting their husbands missing to the police on the same day. One is in Streatham and one is in Wimbledon and it turns out that they are the same man. And as it goes on, the man gets into more and more awkward situations because he's trying to hide the fact that he's got two wives and two houses.

"Really he is a bit dim. He confides in his mate which is quite humorous and he confides the fact that he was taking a fare home (he’s a taxi driver) and she invited him in for a cup of coffee. He says he didn't like to mention his other wife and he dumps himself in this situation when she asks would he marry her and he just feels that he couldn't really say no. He's not a bad chap. He just fell into bigamy...

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“In the autumn with our production, it was like a village event in a way because it was about the whole village and we had about 93 per cent capacity. I was hoping we might get something approaching that again. We might get about 85 per cent attendance and that would be good, but this time for the first time since 2011 we have had to put our prices up because of the costs of the hall and the heating and lighting and so on. Our prices are going up from £8 to £10 which is still pretty good value.”

The production will be in West Wittering Memorial Hall.

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