The infamous British camping holiday has long been rich territory for comedy writers. The obvious humour lies in the gap, or rather the chasm, that exists between our idealised vision of a relaxing weekend away and the soul destroying reality that often greets us. Romanticised visions of in the English countryside, glorious sunshine and picnics in the long grass give way to wet weather, days spent inside a rusty caravan and barbecues that incinerate rather than cook. It is this familiar environment that John Godber’s Perfect Pitch takes place. When Ron, (Terry Cowlishaw,) and Yvonne, (Karen Gordon,) shunt their £14,000 caravan into position at the opening of the play the audience at least have found themselves in a comfortable situation even if the couple have not.
Ultra tetchy Ron soon discovers that trying to erect an unwilling awning, (surely a symbol of his lack of sexual prowess,) is the least of his troubles when oversexed couple Steph (Rebecca-Jane Mason) and Grant (Wayne Jennings) arrive on the scene. Rough and ill-mannered the working class couple are everything that Ron and Yvonne are not. However, at different junctures throughout the play Ron and Yvonne show a degree of ambivalence toward their neighbours. At times they despise their uncouthness and vulgarity but then veer towards envying their carefree attitude and reckless behaviour.
When Steph persuades Yvonne to join her in going to see a party of male strippers the middle-class housewife’s sexual frustration is vented in a night of hell-raising and lewd antics. A drunken Yvonne returns home ranting about the musclemen leaving Ron with a profound sense of inadequacy.
Towards the end of the play Yvonne is again encouraged, this time by Ron, to take part in a talent show which she easily wins with her Shirley Bassey number and Oxford educated vocal cords. Looking down her nose at the people taking part Yvonne says they were all just making fools of themselves forgetting that Steph was also a participant with her Cher impersonation. In this particular scene we realise that Steph feels the sting of inferiority as she mocks Yvonne’s posh accent and with a dejected tone tells her it was “just supposed to be a bit of fun”. Here Rebecca-Jane Mason’s performance of Steph goes beyond that of a chavvy girl in her 20s to reveal a three-dimensional character conscious of her own situation in life.
Although the characters within Perfect Pitch are instantly recognisable the Leicester Drama Society’s production contains some wonderful performances. Terry Cowlishaw is excellent as the self-depreciating and highly strung Ron. His delivery of the ex-headmaster’s deadpan dialogue is superbly timed and perfectly encapsulates his disillusioned state. Whilst Karen Gordon’s zesty Yvonne captures all of the frustration and anxiety of a woman trapped in a stale marriage. There can be no doubt that Director Angharhad Owen’s production thoroughly entertained the sold out audience with laughs aplenty.
A bittersweet comedy Perfect Pitch addresses the class division and notion that the grass might not always be greener on the other side of the fence. Towards the end of the play both Ron and Yvonne realise that their marriage has lost its spark and whilst it is obvious that they both love one another we ask ourselves will that be enough?
Perfect Pitch continues its run at the Little Theatre until April 28th
For ticket information more visit: www.TheLittleTheatre.Net or call the box office on 0116 255 1302