Based on the TV series George and Mildred and written by the original authors, this comedy was bound to appeal to all those who remembered such a popular show. Fortunately the director, Peter Farrin, did explain to the audiences that it was to be a Pepperpot version rather than a faithful recreation, thus dispelling any possible disappointment as the production unfolded. However, Mike Chapple as George Roper did indeed sound very like Brian Murphy and Chrissie Blow was absolutely made for the part of Ethel Pomfrey, Mildred`s snooty sister. Not only did she manage to look and dress like her but the disdainful air and little gestures captured the part to perfection.
Faye Farrin was the acid toned Mildred, constantly putting down her poor husband in the approved manner, so it came as quite a surprise when, on telling George that she had booked them both on a holiday to celebrate their wedding anniversary, he unexpectedly revolted and refused to go. This, of course, was the essence of the plot and the ensuing mayhem and complications. Ethel and Mildred decide to go away together instead, leaving the husbands to their own devices. And devices they were.
Humphrey Pomfrey turned out to be a bit of a womaniser, so the rest of the story and the inevitable and predictable outcome was assured. Steve Watts played Humphrey and must be congratulated on his excellent diction. There was no dropped voice delivering a punch line and every word could be clearly heard.
Denise Farrow and Jenny Bond were the two `lady friends`. They had suitably contrasting characters, with the feisty blond `Jennifer` played by Denise Farrow and the introverted, anxious Shirley, by Jenny Bond.
The set was cleverly managed with a stairway leading to the bedrooms. There was even a futon-type bed which, like the set that started its dual purpose life at Whitwell, had to be adapted to be squeezed on to the mini stage at Niton and still leave room for manoeuvring. This was, as usual, seamlessly achieved without looking in the least bit contrived. Set building and adaptation seem to be the forte of the Pepperpots, with many helpers both past and present, who generously rally round year after year to make it all happen on time.
When the Cat`s Away was one of the better productions of this small village group. It was well presented at every level and their were laughs a-plenty from the audiences. If you`re interested and aren’t already familiar with the zany plot, then read Jon Moreno`s report in the IOW County Press of Friday 11th November 2016.
By Rita Boffin
Originally posted on NODA’s website.