Albert Perkins is blessed with a loving wife, Muriel, and cursed with a fearsome mother-in-law, Boadicea. When his good friend Hilary Armitage writes to him reminiscing about the good times they used to have, Boadicea reads the letter and determines to remove her daughter instantly from the clutches of this sex-fiend. Albert has a hard time explaining that the letter is perfectly innocent, and anyway Hilary is a man. He isn’t helped when Hilary turns up, wearing a blonde wig and a glamorous evening dress. By the time Hilary manages to explain he’s come straight from doing his drag act at the local pub, it’s too late, Boadicea has bashed Albert with the poker. Even when he comes round, Albert’s troubles are far from over. In a weak moment, he agrees to model for a girl student at the local art school, wearing mainly a potted plant. And Hilary, anxious to make amends for the misunderstanding he has caused, offers to deputise for Albert at bell-ringing practice at St Humphrey’s. Both these acts of kindness bring disaster in their wake. Norman Robbins’ first farce is a riot from start to finish.
Pull the other one is a broad Northern comedy which at times verges on farce. Played at good speed, the combination of situations and funny lines should not fail to provoke an audience to laughter,
The important thing to remember is not to "play for laughs". The characters in the play are real ones (in their own minds at least) and whatever they say or do, their reactions are those of any normal person caught up in a like situation.
The characters themselves need little explaining, as the performers will see, but one or two small points I think need to be mentioned.
Virginia must not be played as a sexy young man-hunter. Sexy she most certainly is, but innocent with it. If played as a siren, the part will most certainly fail. Albert would not be caught dead within a mile of her company, never mind agree to pose for her, if she made a single sexual overture to him.
Hilary in turn must not be portrayed in the slightest degree as effeminate. To him his act is business and when the show is ended the female mannerisms end with it. To play him any other way than "straight" will leave a nasty taste in the mouths of the audience and make his relationship with Albert highly suspicious, as well as killing Albert’s entrance in Act Two, Scene One.
Incidentally, when making out the programme, it is advisable to bill Hilary as Mr Armitage for obvious reasons.
Offenbach’s "Bluebeard" Overture makes good theme music.
This play was first presented by the St. Giles Players of Pontefract, Yorkshire, produced by Barbara Arundell, with the following cast:-
|Boadicea Heptinstall||Kitty Stansill|
|Wilf Turner||William Dugdale|
|Muriel Perkins||Margaret Pindar|
|Albert Perkins||David Milne|
|Virginia Brown||Patricia Targett|
|Hilary Armitage||Melvyn Harper|
|Rev Elijah Nookey||Wilfred Taylor|