REVIEW: Gym and Tonic at Louth’s Riverhead Theatre

IN the middle of a mid-life crisis and a stagnant marriage, where’s the best place to go?

Well according to playwrite John Godber it would be the Scardale Hall Health Farm and with the help of director Sue Soper and her Louth Playgoers team, the troubled marriage of Don and Shirley Weston is depicted in the dark comedy Gym & Tonic.

The curtain opens and visually you could almost be at a health farm as you are taken within the walls of Scardale Hall, pristinely designed and created by John Hollingsworth and his talented stage crew.

Instantaneously pumping music fills the theatre and your eyes are drawn to the tight buns of aerobics instructor Zoe, played by Denise Padbury, taking a very bizarre class through their steps.

The class is soon interrupted by the late arrival of Don Weston portrayed by Andy De Renzi.

Don Weston in the midst of a failing marriage and mid-life crisis is amusingly brought to life by Andy’s depiction of the 40-year-old kitchen fitter and it is not long before the roller coaster downward spiral ride of his life is unfolded.

The hysterical ride is enhanced by the other residence at the Health Farm: Sue Hewer, a season actress of the Louth Playgoers, side splitting character Gertrude Tate adds sprinkles of comical spice.

While the rugged charms of Ken Blake – Neal Brown – nearly entices Don’s wife Shirley to her not so secret wish of two weeks of passionate sex!

Oh and we must not forget the sexy Chloe the masseuse, duel roll excellently played by Denise Padbury, that has the unfortunate job of facing Don in his underpants on more than one occasion.

So do you fancy a night at the Scardale Hall Health Farm?

Then come along to see the John Godber play Gym & Tonic: It runs until Saturday April 23 at The Riverhead Theatre, 7.30pm each night.

Box office: 01507 600350. It contains some adult content so recommended for ages 14 plus.

Review by Susan Munro.