'One Sunny Day' review

ONE SUNNY DAY by Claire Spratt
United Reformed Church, Buxton. 6-13 July 2013

I was very much looking forward to this, the third production featuring the family of Claire Spratt, founder of Planet Rabbit Productions, and I wasn’t disappointed.
‘Blitz Bride’ introduced us to Ruby and Henry (Claire’s Grandparents) and their war time courtship and his subsequent proposal. In ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ the story moves to the 1960’s and Ruby and Henry’s daughter Sylviann’s excitement at gong to meet the Beatles. ‘One Sunny day’ and we are in post decimalised England and Ruby and Harold have bought their dream holiday cottage ’10 minutes from Whitby’, Sylviann is married to Clifford and have a Son, Timothy.
The cottage may not be everyone’s idea of heaven but Henry and Ruby are ‘living the dream’. They had wanted a little project, something to do at the weekends – and somewhere Sylviann and Clifford might bring little Tim for holidays. It doesn’t need much, a cooker, fridge, a bathroom – including walls! And they can soon make a window to fill in the hole in the ceiling. It will be best if Sylviann and Clifford don’t come until it is all done up and habitable, or they will think they have gone mad! But of course, it being a Sunny Day, Sylviann and Clifford go out for a ride in their Morris Traveller and drop in on Henry and Ruby. There not being many home comforts yet a picnic on the beach is decided up on.
Of course there is much more to this trip down memory lane – what exactly are the plans for the cottage? What are the neighbours like? Is there a ghost upstairs? And what of the Cod Bandit?
The characters are brought beautifully to life by this talented ensemble cast. I understand the real ‘Clifford’ saw the production and declared ‘yes that’s how it was’! Ruby struggling to get to grips with ‘this new money’ – ‘nobody wants it, only Wilson, everything’s been rounded up’. Ruby on the beach in full matching skirt and jacket with fancy blouse, large hat and chiffon neckerchief, taking off her tights; Henry with his cine camera, filming everything ; Clifford with his boots and trying to be the ‘man’ but not quite making it, and Sylviann stoically keeping them all together. All of which transports those of us who remember, back to the day. Clever, witty dialogue paints a wonderful picture. Good music choices jog the memory and, as ever, the meticulous attention to detail means the props, wardrobe, and ingenious stage settings bring this slice of British family life in the 70’s in to focus.
I loved the staging and the very slick scene changes, very imaginatively done in such a small arena.
I believe this is the last offering about Henry and Ruby, they are certainly going out on a high. This is a charming, funny and fond look back to a gentler time. Treat yourself, it will be worth it. Thank you Claire.
Linda McAlinden

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