Although part of a UK tour, The Cemetery Club marks the first of four plays in the Ian Dickens Play Season at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.
The play follows three Jewish widows, Ida, Lucille and Doris who meet once a month at Ida's house and head to the cemetery to visit their dead husbands. This particular day they meet Sam, who is questionably there to visit his wife's grave and treats it more of a singles club.
Alan Miller Bunford's set is very compact, beautiful, realistic, but compact. It is perhaps condensed enough to fit into the smallest of venues but the small cast of five struggled at times to move around Ida's flat, let alone the cemetery which took considerable time to move onto stage while the tabs flew in and we sat at listened to Rat Pack.
Slightly lengthy breaks in the play can be overseen considering the perfect casting. Shirley-Anne Field is an absolute joy as Lucille, the man-hunting, mink wearing member of the club. She manages to provide much of the comedy and receives raucous laughter when she reveals her wedding outfit.
Anita Harris is a delight as Ida and Anne Charleston (Madge from Neighbours) is right at home in her character's no nonsense approach to the idea of finding love again.
With less time to impress but certainly manages to, is Debbie Norman who is wonderfully annoying as Mildred. It is such a shame that her character appears for only one scene. The Bill's Peter Ellis is charming as Sam.
The problems faced in young love are repeated all over again in an uncertain try at love in life's later stages. This is a wonderful, bittersweet and enjoyable play to kick off the Ian Dickens 2012 Play Season in Wolverhampton. The Cemetery Club plays only four more venues before finishing on 4th August. You can see it at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday 30th June.
More information on the Wolverhampton Grand's entire play season can be found here: http://www.grandtheatre.info/default.asp?Id=311&PageSubType=323&sC=page48
Website for The Cemetery Club: http://iandickensinternational.com/productions/cemetery.html