A review by Geoff Hale, Buckinghamshire Advertiser
This Comedy, written by Sue Townsend (the creator of diarist Adrian Mole), brings together a neurotic do-gooder, a trainee social worker and three agoraphobics (ones who fear the outside) who are persuaded to run a stall at a rummage sale.
Cassie Sharp took the part of Gwenda, an ex-agoraphobic, leader of a self-help group sufferers who are imprisoned in their homes for various reasons; she has engaged the assistance of Fliss, a trainee social worker, played by Lorna Hughes.
Bell-Bell (Liz Peskin) was the first ‘patient’ to make her hesitant entrance into the unknown, she was an insecure, demure lady with an apparent hatred of untidiness.
Next came Katrina, played by Erica Cheetham, who soon realised she was no longer in a safe environment and threw a very realistic convulsion. She was a flamboyantly dressed lady who revealed a fondness for Barry Manilow and promptly broke into song, with a number from the Manilow musical, Copacabana.
Margaret was the third to arrive. She was a foul-mouthed Cockney, who had led a loveless life following a rather brutal rape by a close relative. Tina Barclay, who played this part, gave a moving description of this experience, complete with copious expletives.
Another musical outburst came when Gwenda told of the death of her father in July 1966, just as the famous World Cup match was reaching it’s climax on TV.
So what was this play really about? Glenda was clearly unstable; she admitted to undergoing electric shock therapy. Could it be that she was desperate to keep the group together, possibly because these three lost souls had become part of her own therapy and she couldn’t allow them to recover, which was the clear goal that the trainee, Fliss, was aiming for.
The sixth member of the cast, the WPC played by Sarah Golding, exploded onto the stage at the very end of the play. I admit to being bewildered at her presence, although her personality seemed to contrast with the others, as did her outdoor lifestyle which was the opposite of agoraphobia. It was she who finally led the group out of the rummage sale and into a life of freedom, out of doors.