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Beneath The Blue Rinse By Tom Glover at Park Theatre | Review

Ian Redford (George), Kevin Tomlinson (Simon) and Marlene Sidaway (Flora) in 'Beneath The Blue Rinse'. Photo Credit Ben Wilkin.
Ian Redford (George), Kevin Tomlinson (Simon) and Marlene Sidaway (Flora) in ‘Beneath The Blue Rinse’. Photo Credit Ben Wilkin.

Tom Glover’s new play is not only VERY funny, it is also heart-warming and at times very dark!

Beneath the Blue Rinse attempts to explode stereotypes associated with old age and questions how society views and treats the elderly.

Unscrupulous salesman Simon Sudgebury, comically played by Kevin Tomlinson, has bullied 44 OAPs into purchasing his burglar alarms and now only needs one more to sign up in order for him to get a £20,000 bonus. Unfortunately, when he knocks on Flora Parkin’s door, he has chosen the wrong customer!

Feisty Flora is beautifully acted by Marlene Sidaway, who not only uses her twinkling eyes to subtly draw the audience in but has an amazing physical energy to drive the play forward with tremendous pace, always giving time for the laughs, which are plentiful. She and Tomlinson share the stage for much of the play and clearly each enjoys acting with the other as there is so much light and shade in their performances: each is relishing the other’s performance. I do not wish to give too much plot away, but suffice to say that Flora Parkins has joined the militant terrorist wing of Age UK! Woe betide anyone who crosses her, or shouts as if she’s deaf, or treats her like a child!

The casting of this three-handed play is completed by Ian Redford as Flora’s 72-year-old ‘Toy Boy’, complete with battle dress and sub-machine gun, even if at heart he is a ‘softie’.

One of the reasons for the success of this play, apart from the writing, is the direction by highly experienced Glen Walford, who never allows the proceedings to flag, even when the writing does occasionally. Her attention to detail, and to pointing the often hilarious climaxes greatly aids the enjoyment of the piece, as does the set design by Felix Waters – a very believable living room stuffed with china ornaments, and a very wet chair!

The many sound effects (and lighting) are by Jordan Wilkes. It was a shame that all of them emanated from the stage’s loudspeakers, rather than, for example, the phone being used or the doorbell being rung or the burglar alarm being let off, but this is a minor quibble in what was overall a highly polished production, even if the actors were occasionally unsure of their lines!

My only complaint, if you can call it that, is that the play only runs for 75 minutes, which is a tad brief for an evening at the theatre – but it is 75 minutes of excellent theatre, with lots of laughs: well worth seeing during the course of its run.

4 stars

Review by John Groves

Quentin Tarantino meets Last of the Summer Wine in this wickedly funny, high octane comedy about growing old passionately and disgracefully.

When unscrupulous, over-confident salesman Simon Sudgebury comes knocking on the door of the seemingly timid Flora Parkin, hoping to scare her into buying an expensive alarm system, little does he realise what he is about to let himself in for. Feisty, charismatic 75-year-old Flora and her gentle 72-year-old ‘toy boy’ lover George are not what they first appear!

KEPOW! Theatre and Veritas Theatre in association with Park Theatre present
Beneath The Blue Rinse
By Tom Glover

Directed by Glen Walford
Designed by Felix Waters
Cast includes Marlene Sidaway (Coronation Street), Ian Redford (Coronation Street), Kevin Tomlinson (Spiral, Park90).

Park 90
Booking to 15th June 2019


  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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2 thoughts on “Beneath The Blue Rinse By Tom Glover at Park Theatre | Review”

  1. My 91 yr old father in law chose this. He shouted with delight when Mrs Parkin’s fights back. Great to give older people a voice and break down the stereotypes.

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