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

Laughter begins at home . . .

Family Planning

Moorpool Players


Family situations and tensions often offer the potential for humour and this production is no exception. Frank Vickery is Wales' most popular playwright and this slightly black comedy had the audience laughing from the outset.  

Debbie Scattergood delights as young Tracey who has discovered that she is pregnant.  What should she do? How on earth can she tell her sensible, dependable mother and hypochondriac father?  She hasn't even told her boyfriend yet!    

Tricia Martin takes center stage as the bed-ridden gran who is surprisingly vibrant – seeing all, understanding everything and making sure she has her say - even if only to the furniture or the occasional wayward fly that venture into her domain! She tries to pave the way for the announcement of Tracey's predicament and has some great one-liners.

You will find yourself giggling at the antics of characters who are recognizable yet charming in their own ways. Mark Earey goes right over the top as Idris, the hypochondriac husband and father. Returning home, he listens in to the tail end of a conversation between the long-suffering Elsie (Liz Bridgewater) and Tracey. Their distress leads him (wrongly) to believe that he has only eight weeks to live.  

Action moves back and forth between the sitting room, Gran's bedroom, the kitchen and the hallway with malapropisms, misunderstandings and mishaps featuring highly. Gossipy neighbour Maisie Millard (Linda Robinson) flits in and out of the home - but gran knows that this is only because she harbours secret romantic fantasies about Idris. Indeed, Maisie is soon revealing more than her memories of a disastrous honeymoon. 

There is a believable performance by Andrew Miles who plays the spiky-haired and rather gormless Bobby; he clearly doesn't know what on earth to make of the whole situation but nevertheless tries to do the right thing. The tale also features Maisie's knitting-obsessed introvert son Jeffrey (Des Lea) while liberal amounts of tea, cocoa and gin oil the wheels. Thus the play rolls along to reach its uproarious - if rather abrupt - conclusion.  

Undoubtedly you may need to accept that Vickery's plot does not develop very deeply, but engages with aspects of life that most people can identify with. If you can do this, you will be able to relax and simply enjoy this entertaining show that runs from 21st to 24th November.  

All credit to the backstage team; clever use of lighting helps to direct the focus around the set. Directed by Norma Mason, the Moorpool players have transposed ordinary everyday dilemmas into great fun and a heap of laugh-out-loud moments.

Laura Ginesi


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