Harrogate Theatre has kicked off its new season with a sparkling production of John Godber's On The Piste. Featuring one of the best sets every to grace Harrogate Theatre's stage - including a ski chalet, a sauna, and a working ski slope! - On The Piste is every bit the fun romp through the disaffected lives of a bunch of 30-somethings that John Godber intended. Not one of our protagonists is contented with their relationships, apart perhaps from an over-sexed ski instructor (Oliver Mellor) who needs nothing other than a string of casual relationships to maintain a healthy body and a smug disposition.
As to the 'holidaymakers': Chris (Ewan Goddard) is a radio presenter and a voice over artist - and a bit manic; Mr Bean meets Frank Spencer. He has a wife (Katy Dean) at home and a secretary at the office. His marriage is drifting towards a stalemate and this holiday is going to be decisive for their relationship.
Into this group comes posh, attractive Melissa (Anna Clarke), a rough-and-ready Dave (Ross Waiton) and a jolly but rather pitiful Bev (Janine Mellor). Of course social mayhem ensues. It's classic John Godber; nothing deep and meaningful but a good romp through the pathetic shallowness of first world relationships - and regularly punctuated with some great one-liners.
And, delightfully, Rep. is back in style at Harrogate. With Ira Levin's Deathtrap and The 39 Steps to follow over the next couple of weeks, this looks set to be a sparkling repeat of last year's excellent form.
There's something utterly delightful about having your very own repertory company. It's a chance to wallow in the quality of acting and realise that the actors are not just playing versions of themselves - yes they really can pretend to be other people!
On The Piste is a great choice for an opener; fundamentally shallow but entertaining and amusing. It promises great things for the rest of the rep. season. And that splendid set... it's crying out for some audience participation!