SAILOR BEWARE!
Lyric Hammersmith, London W6
Opened 20 May, 1991

This is the sort of play whose film version gets shown on Channel 4 of a weekday afternoon: a 1950s comedy of Northern manners, in which able-bodied bridegroom-to-be triumphs over battleaxe ma-in-law, while a maiden aunt (left at the altar decades ago), stares into the tea-leaves and Pop is always nipping out back to his ferrets... plus the now ludicrously dated assumption that Scottishness is funny in itself.

It's well enough directed and performed Sheila Steafel (Auntie Edie) has, after all, had years of experience at being Sheila Steafel, and Jane Summer Wine Freeman is cast entirely to type as the significantly-named Mrs Hornett. Its mainstream appeal will make it a cash cow that'll subsidise the Lyric's worthier enterprises; but I can't for the life of me see what respected critics ever admired in the play itself, let alone understand its revival.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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