Monday, 7 September 2009

On the Piste - Oldham Coliseum

On the Piste
Writer: John Godber
Director: Kevin Shaw
Reviewer: John Roberts

The Oldham Coliseum has opened once again with a Godber classic, first produced in 1990 at Hull Truck, this biting comedy follows the trails of five skiers and their relationships with each other and their ski instructor, high up in the Austrain Alps, what appears quite calm and collected is soon brought to an abrupt ending.

It’s not hard to see why Godber is the third most performed playwright in this country (only beaten by Shakespeare and Ayckbourn) as his writing flows with great direction and pace, and never fails to bring a hearty laugh and a smack round the mouth when you least expect it.

Director Kevin Shaw has delivered a show that is packed full of laughs and some creative direction on the slopes meant that the action never felt stifled or lacking in pace. Shaw has brought together a great ensemble of many familiar faces from the North West who all work tirelessly to ensure the show is a hit.

The cast all pull out superb productions Adrian Bouchet is a powerhouse of rippling physique as sexy ski instructor Tony, Kate Coogan as Alison gives us a heart warming portrayal of a woman at the edge of losing everything. Stuart Wade still looking as young as he did when starring in Emmerdale, (How does he do it?) is excellent as voiceover artist Chris. Loveday Smith provides suitable sex appeal as Melissa the woman who gets in the way a little too much. But it is the pairing of Richard Oldham (Dave or should that be Kevin or the Space Alien?) and Catherine Kinsella (Bev) who steal the show with every moment they are on stage, with a fantastic on stage chemistry you can’t help being irritated by Bev’s constant whining or more angry at the pure menace and vindictiveness of Dave but still find a place of affection for both of them.

The set expertly designed by Foxton, gives the cast useable ski slope that takes up a vast majority of the stage and framed with snow covered trees, and really put the audience right into the middle of action.

This is a show that still stands strong and seems even more relevant today than nearly 20 years ago when it was first produced. Shaw has woven his directoral magic ensuing that the audience leave with a huge smile on their faces and singing dodgy european pop and Abba songs down the road for miles after – I think it may be time to book my first ski-ing holiday now!

Photos: Ian Tilton
On the Piste Runs until 26th Sept
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