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Double Top. The Caxton Theatre, Grimsby. 07 June 2022.

Updated: Apr 8, 2023



Double Top

Ron Rose

The Caxton Players

Caxton Theatre, Grimsby

11 - 18 June 2022

Caxton stalwart Pam Reynolds returns to her very best form as a director with her latest production of Ron Rose's comedy Double Top. The show went through an exceptionally long period of gestation when written by Rose, originally intended to feature a cast of nine women and three men. He was asked to rewrite his original script by Gareth Tudor-Price of Hull Truck Theatre Company, and to reduce the cast to five performers with some doubling up, very much in the style of John Godber. That signature Hull Truck-style remains in evidence in this Grimsby production.

Rose does his best to emulate the brash humour prevalent in Godber's sporting comedies, so be warned that there is some bad language in the show and if you are looking for subtlety then this is not the play for you, but Pam Reynolds knows how to get the best out of both the script and her cast. Demonstrating deft touches in handling the more delicate moments within the play as well as bawdy humour, Reynold's flair as a director is clear. These women are no delicate flowers however, expect to see them behaving badly, but do expect to laugh - a lot. This play has all the ingredients of a good night out.

Set at The White Heart pub, we meet a social science student researcher, Marie played by Olivia Kersey, and her college supervisor Rob (Mike Wilson), with whom she has an extra-curricular relationship. Marie seeks to set up a self-help group for women, as part of a wider research project, that eventually leads to the formation of an all-woman darts team looking to enter a local pub darts competition. The course of sporting success never runs true however, life will always get in the way. We see how each member of the cast copes with precisely what life has in store for them throughout. Their daily grind is gradually replaced by the all-consuming passion for darts, but then even that becomes onerous for them, and the quest for success creates an astonishingly divisive drive among the team's members, tugging at their loyalties and testing them.

The play boasts a strong cast with Olivia Kersey; Louise Blakey; Danielle Emmitt; Mike Wilson; Jane Webster; Jo Forster and Keiron James. Each credible in their own way, bringing humour, strength, resilience and wonderful comic timing to their respective roles.


Kersey's slightly spoiled, upper-middle class researcher Marie is the hub around which the plot revolves and her relationship with her supervisor Rob will leave many sympathising with her. It is a mature performance and manages to evoke both humour and empathy here.

Louise Blakey has really developed as an actress and gives a strong performance as the maternal, but hard as nails landlady Kath. He comic timing is excellent and her always animated facial expressions are a joy to behold.

Jo Forster gives possibly the best performance I have witnessed from her over the last few years, as Jackie, a downtrodden and exploited mother. Her incredibly powerful monologue in Act Two will leave many feeling emotionally drained as she gives it absolutely everything and the audience will grieve with her as she loses her emotional core.

I loved Jane Webster's cameo role as the "ringer" in an opposing darts team. A brash and blousy performance that contrasts beautifully with her ealrier appearance as the caller and scorer at earlier darts matches. The physical transformation will impress the audience and demonstrate Webster's versatility. I hope we see her in more prominent roles in future.

Playing multiple roles throughout, Mike Wilson demonstrates the depth of his talent as he flits from erudite academic to foul-mouthed landlord and brings a refreshing humour to some otherwise thankless roles.

The final cast member to note is Keiron James also portraying a variety of roles. His abusive ex-partner, confident male stripper and sympathetic police officer offer him the opportunity to demonstrate his range in what are often tiny roles.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Danielle Emitt was unable to perform at the rehearsal I was reviewing and the role of the sexually promiscuous Chris was performed, script in hand, by director Pam Reynolds, who did a sterling job filling in.

What Rose's play does, is that it highlights the mundane experience of "normal life" (whatever that is) and shows how women deal with everything life throws at them. There is a great deal of cheeky, saucy humour but the play does not shy away from the reality of everyday life as the audience will see. The truthful nature of the relationships shines through and creates a hugely enjoyable night at the theatre.

The show will open on Saturday 11 June and will run for a week. Tickets are available from www.caxtontheatre.com or from Tourist Information at Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre or Grimsby Central Hall on Dunscombe Street.







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