Star names guarantee good audiences so iconic film actress Shirley Anne Field and Oliver Mellor (the dishy doc from Coronation Street) will undoubtedly draw the crowds to Chesterfield this week.
It’s just a pity that the biggest name on the bill gets bumped off at the end of first act in Ladies In Retirement at the Pomegranate Theatre.
Shirley Anne could have come a cropper prematurely on Tuesday when her head connected with a candlestick, causing it to bounce off her shoulder and onto the floor. In true pro fashion, the mistress of cool reserve never flinched an inch.
The play is typical creepy Edwardian melodrama, bathed in atmospheric lighting and set to the soundtrack of The Mikado which gives Mr Mellor the chance to air his considerable vocal talents.
Long and drawn out to a shade under three hours including the interval, it is laced with enough humour to prevent you wishing you could retire to bed.
Erin Geraghty shines in the role of down-on-her-luck housekeeper who conceives a deadly plot to provide a home for her peculiar and simple-minded sisters (a sublime performance by Karen Ford and Sylvia Carson). However, the plans don’t take into account the surprise arrival of a nephew on the run from police or a maid who falls under his spell...
Ladies In Retirement continues its run at the Pomegranate until March 15.