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

Lucky Sods

Mint Theatre Society,

Aldridge Social Club


Luck is a strange thing. It’s always good or bad, never something that just happens, middle of the road, ordinary, everyday life sort of luck. That’s not luck, that’s just living.

They say we make our own luck, but let’s be honest, a helping hand from the National Lottery is not going to hurt.

Instant Saturday night millionairedom we would class as good luck, but, what about walking away unscathed from a road accident in which your six-year-old daughter has been killed? Is that good luck or bad luck? It surely can’t be both. Good luck for you, bad for her? Can the two be separated?

Godber poses the question, but not the answer. Luck in all its forms is the dilemma facing the couple in John Godber’s closely observed breakdown of a marriage; not that this is some deep, psychological drama mind, Godber doesn’t do deep, just people.

He does recognisable, everyday, meet in the street people, doing and saying things any of us might say in the most gloriously funny way. His strength is writing plays about us and the people we know.

Jean and Morris are a bickering Northern couple with the sort of barbs and comments anyone who has been married longer than the honeymoon period will have heard, and Ellie Ball and David Stonehouse play them superbly, both aiming to have the last word.

She works at a video shop, he is a security guard and the highlight of their week is the National Lottery draw where for a few minutes they can dream – Jean of trips to Hollywood and Venice, Morris, fishing in Bridlington. Even their dreams are cause for argument.

Dreams are just dreams though until Jean changes Morris’s numbers – another argument – and they win $2 million, setting in train a domino effect of emotions. 

There is Annie, played with a green haze of envy by Beth Howell, who smiles and congratulates her sister’s good fortune with barely disguised resentment and her husband Norman, played in laid back style by Alex Howell.

He is facing redundancy and more disappointed than bitter that the boost in family fortunes has not dripped down his way. Still, he does have some lovely lines - and plenty of soap on a rope - to make up for his lack of cash.

Then there is Morris’s dying mother, Molly, in hospital and going down, if not exactly fighting, at least managing some low blows on her son when he visits. It’s a lovely performance with great timing as the curmudgeonly old biddy by Freda Simpson.

With 22 years of marriage behind them you would think Jean and Morris would have known each other pretty well, but coming into money, lots of it, can do strange things. A lottery win, followed by another, then another (all right, perhaps Godber was getting a bit carried away here) suddenly it gave them the freedom not to worry about paying bills or affording a holiday – the freedom to worry about other things.

And while Jean’s good luck goes on, and on, it is matched by a following cloud of misfortune, the old adage that bad luck follows good.


Ellie Ball as Jean and David Stonehouse as Moris, moaing at he TV and each other.

Thus, Morris’s old flame Connie pops up. Played by Michelle Black, she was the singer in a band he used to play drums (badly) for. Old passions can flare up again when fed enough pound notes, but then so can old problems, and Morris’s self-doubts, self-analysis, self-obsession are enough to see anger burn brighter than passion in Connie’s reaction.

And while Morris is off playing away Jean is finding more trouble closer to home with sister Annie ill and not looking a safe bet to last much beyond the curtain calls.

A sister heading for the past tense might seem bad enough but lady luck has not finished yet with Jean. There are more shocks for her to come leaving Morris devastated and Annie and Norman elated as they celebrate their own modest lottery win, the dying Annie cackling away in misguided triumph – one wonders what ill is about to befall them to level out the luck, although in Annie’s case perhaps the bad had already jumped the gun.

Along the way we meet Ian Toulouse as the Hollywood waiter who you suspect is after more than tips from Jean and then the vicar at Morris’s mother’s funeral, played by Andrew Hughes, who admits to having a weekly flutter on the lottery with the organist.

He asks Jean for tips and, wouldn’t you just know it, wins the lottery, so he has some trouble ahead. Indeed, the only one not to win seems to be Molly, and probably that’s only because Camelot have not yet found a way of selling tickets in the afterlife.

It is a very funny play, well acted, though without having much to say about anything, particularly the lottery, or indeed luck other than indicating that bad luck has a habit of following good, which appears to be a lifelong mantra of Morris who is terrified of travel, worries incessantly about the future, tries to forget a past that won’t leave him, and can’t seem to enjoy or even cope with the present even when loaded down with more money than he could spend.

Jean is more fun and outgoing but misses her anchor, even if Morris is a pain, Annie is consumed by both cancer and jealousy while Norman is, well, Norman. Bumbling through life taking it much as it comes.

Its an entertaining evening and all credit to Mint in turning a social club concert room into a community theatre. Directed by Stan Hubbard it runs to 01-12-18.

Roger Clarke


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