Clatford Amateur Dramatic Society

CADS review – Who you gonna call?

BILLY used to be indecisive, but now he's not so sure! There's a lovely new woman in his life and he's starting to be more assertive – all thanks to the mobile answering service 118 118.

This romantic homespun tale, written for the Clatford Amateur Dramatic Society by its own playwright Sharon Colpman, had audiences on three successive nights reaching for their hankies one moment and laughing the next.

Graham Oxtoby played the lead part of Billy in Who You Gonna Call? convincing all of his desperate insecurity and lack of confidence with the belittling voice of his domineering dad, Peter Bray, always ringing in his ears.

Thankfully he has a great bunch of mates Graham, Carl, Big Tom and Mark – played by Bob Houghton, Peter Smith, David Benwell and Mike Goddard . With them he can enjoy the odd pint at the local, a pub quiz and a few bags of chips, served up by bucksome Brenda, Marilyn Hillier .

Life gets complicated when Billy finds out about the services of 118 118 and asks them to help him sort out his problems with finding a girl and facing up to his dad. He doesn't know that the two 118 operators – Sharon Colpman and Nick Bull – have different views on every subject, particularly after sexy leather-clad 500 – Marlene Saunders – from a rival phone company, sets one against the other. Their conflicting advice leads him into some amusing situations at a speed dating event and ‘stitch and bitch' club.

Billy, Graham Oxtoby, doesn't get off to a good start at speed dating by offending the slappy lady, Kim Mawby

None of the women who try their luck at speed dating are really Billy's type. He immediately offends the slappy lady, Kim Mawby , by asking her age and over-sexed Margery, Anne Blake , is enough to terrify the most confident of suitors. Fuzzy brained cat woman Millie, Sally Struthers , is his only choice and she easily falls for Graham's joke that playing the fruit machine for 10 minutes will count as one of her five a day!

The good 118's suggestion of joining a knitting group is more successful as he meets the browbeaten Mandy, Janet Smith , on the way in. A housebound housewife, she has been struggling for years to meet the outlandish demands of her brutish husband Roger, Dave Painter.

On the advice of Clatford's answer to Barbara Cartland – Auntie Joan, Christine McCann , and her sidekick George, Chris Upchurch , Mandy decides to find herself a new interest. As it turns out joining the knitting group – Lynn Brown, Pat Carter, Marilyn Hillier and Anne Blake – led by overbearing Janice, Ann Buckley , changes her whole life as she instantly clicks with Billy.

The 118's, Sharon Colpman and Nick Bull, tire of answering questions all day and decide to work shifts.

Mandy persuades him to answer the call from his mother, Jean Williams , to grant his father's dying wish to see him again. He is surprised to get a fulsome apology for the awful way he has been treated and is able to forgive the old man before he dies.

Mandy, Janet Smith, crumples under the iron fist of husband Roger, Dave Painter.

There's a bit of a dust up when Billy turns up unannounced in Mandy's kitchen and Roger gets a taste of his own medicine. She takes Auntie Joan's advice to leave him and Billy proposes, aah!

What about that bobby dazzler ballad singer Manfred Steel, played by director Cliff Tucker , who kept popping out of the fridge? Luckily, Auntie Joan came back and mended his broken heart.

Thanks as always are due to the excellent production team headed by Cliff and Alwyn Tucker. Stage management, props and scenery Chris Upchurch and Alan Willens. Val Oxtoby and her catering team provided the tasty interval supper. Thanks also to the technical crew, backstage team, front of house and bar staff.

Without the support of everyone who comes along to these events there would be no show so a big thank you from CADS. £XXX collected from the sales of tickets, programmes and raffles, run by Jean Blacklaws, has been donated to the Community Fund for the Recreation Ground for the benefit of generations to come.

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