Turned Out Nice Again!

Horace (Rebecca Little, left) and Harold (Nicole Webb) offer The Edditer a ticket (iPhone pix: Stuart Williams)

What can you do in Bloxwich on a sopping wet June Sunday in 2011? Why, go to the seaside in 1938, of course!

And that’s exactly where I and the rest of the audience at Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre yesterday were transported to in a fun-packed hour of sun, sea, sand and silly songs presented by Little Pixie Productions of Derby.

Set in the fictional northern seaside town of Darley-on-Sea, ‘Turned out Nice Again!’ begins with the two stars, Rebecca Little and Nicole Webb, providing their own warm-up act as the audience enters the theatre to take their seats – which in this 1930s-style seaside review pass as deckchairs on the beach – dressed as beach attendants Horace and Harold. This daft (in a good way!) pair proceed to hand out deckchair tickets to all the audience, making merry quips as they go, until the last person has sat down and the show proper is ready to go.

Tea-time on the Beach

Harold and Horace repair to the stage, which is decked-out as a little bit of beach with various seaside accoutrements, for a jolly tea break, going through a number of comical routines to set the scene by reading the story of the unclaimed Darley Golden Trophy. They then transform, as if by magic, into Granny Flo and young Ruby, who, now in Granny’s living room, begin rummaging through a box of Flo’s seaside memories from the late 1930s, when she was but a lass.

Granny Flo and Ruby have a rummage in the box of memories

In this box, amongst shells, sea-sounds and sand, they discover a mysterious, cryptic postcard from 1938 which is to lead them to adventure.  And so the real story begins, as their, and our, imaginations become a time-machine whisking us away to happier, simpler days of the kind we all remember from the long, hot summers of our youth.

Dancing with deckchairs!

Punch and Judy

At the Pierrot Revue

The rest of the show leads us, too, on their voyage of discovery as before long Granny and Ruby are acting out a trip to the seaside and embarking on the adventure promised in the postcard, in the process turning a small Bloxwich stage into a musical seaside town of the past, where literally anything is possible, as a twist at the end reveals…

This is a super little show, quite literally summer fun for all ages, and can bring sea-breezes and sunshine to any audience, even if the rain is hammering down outside. The audience is cleverly drawn in and encouraged to join in with actions and sounds at several points, and there is a genuine surprise for one member of the audience.

Love and laughter shine out from the delightful and polished performances of Rebecca ‘Becky’ Little as Granny Flo, and Nicole Webb as Ruby, who never put a foot wrong, even when dancing with deckchairs!  A fine musical backdrop plus evocative scenery and well-chosen props put the whole show properly in its place.

Afterwards, there was also an opportunity for the children to investigate the props that were used in the show, and take a seaside photo. And here’s a tip: hang onto your deckchair ticket!

I can safely say that this was the best soggy Sunday I’ve had this century – and well worth the price of admission, deckchair and all.  Fun, frolics and great comic acting. Music, madness and jolly japes, 1930s-style.  For once, it really did turn out nice again in Bloxwich!

Little Pixie Productions easily won the Best Family Event award at the Buxton Festival Fringe in 2009 with the very popular “What Became of the Red Shoes?” and followed up with Best Show for Families there in 2010,  with the sequel ‘Turned Out Nice Again!’

I hope I have a future opportunity to see part three, ‘Granny’s Big Top Tale’, which debuts on 17 July at Buxton United Reformed Church Hall and on 23 July at Buxton Methodist Church Hall – Tel 0845 127 2190 or 07932 941576 for details.

For more about Little Pixie Productions, check out their excellent website: http://www.littlepixieproductions.co.uk

And for more iPhone pix of Sunday’s production, follow this link: Show Pix. WATCH OUT FOR SPOILERS!

This show was presented by Bloxwich Library Forum and hosted by Bloxwich Library, with the considerable support of Black Country Touring, without whom the show would not have been possible: http://www.bctouring.co.uk

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