Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

Not Now darling

Sutton Arts Theatre


The footnote in the programme reads `Any suggestion of political incorrectness and double entendre is entirely deliberate!’ and that pretty much sums up this fun filled frolic.

Written by John Chapman and Ray Cooney this saucy farce set in one late summer back in the 1960s contains a healthy dose of just about every potential slice of fun, which in the past years of finger wagging by the PC police has now rendered inappropriate.

Practically every character is engaged in some sort of illicit sexual activity and while the men lust after the ladies, the ladies lust after the worldly goods for services rendered and not only that, they all manage to play out the action in a real fur salon.

Gilbert Bodley is partner in the fur trade with Arnold Crouch. Gilbert convinces Arnold to sell a fur coat to his mistress Janie, for a mere five hundred pounds, when she visits the salon to view a mink coat with her husband Harry.

In return Janie has promised Gilbert a night of passion and so Arnold reluctantly agrees. When the husband decides not to buy it and leaves empty handed, Janie stays behind and as all disgruntled shoppers used to do in those days, removes her clothes and throws them out of the window. Wearing nothing now but the coat and refusing to leave unless she is wearing it, a series of actions begins to hide her whilst maintaining an air of normality to the salons customers.


Dexter Whitehead as Arnold and Gary Pritchard as Gilbert

Gary Pritchard undertook the cads’ role of Gilbert nervously juggling the prospect of his night of passion against the prospect of it all being discovered by her husband and the unexpected arrival of his own wife at the salon. Dexter Whitehead was Arnold Crouch and his exuberance and energy in the part overflowed to at one part nearly knocking down the set wall but was a great counterpart to Gilberts’ crafty scheming ways.

Janine McMichael was played by Angelique Runnalls–Bould with great enthusiasm and her confidence when part disrobing to her underwear on stage, probably had a lot of the gentlemen in the audience struggling in knowing where to look. Keeping the action flowing was Louise Farmer as Miss Tipdale the salons receptionist come secretary, who eventually falls for the panic stricken Mr Crouch.

Richard Clarke played the husband Harry McMichael and the next level of undress is added to by Harry’s secretary Sue Lawson played by Kate Lowe who becomes embroiled in the chaos when Harry brings her to receive the coat that was meant for his wife.

Finally in the mix we have Maude Bodley played by Elena Seraphinas who breezes in unexpectedly after returning early from holiday. There’s is great support too from Maureen George and Phil Shaw as the dotty Mr and Mrs Frenchman, Emma Green as the shapely salon model, Miss Wittington, and a bold appearance of George Turner as Charlie Lawson, Sue’s suspicious boyfriend.

The action is all played out on a splendid set by John Bishop and created by Jeff Darlow and his team. Barrie Atchison s direction is clean and effective and with all good farces makes sure the timing is spot on throughout.

Not Now Darling is a bit of a real Carry On set in the swinging sixties. So leave your PC at home and by that I don’t mean your computer and go see it. It’s a fun filled sexy amusing evening set in an era when everything seemed like harmless fun and that’s exactly what it is. To 12-05-18

Jeff Grant


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