In the late 1950s getting your slightly substantial, unfortunately too-tall daughter married off to a wealthy and tolerably respectable man before her youthful good looks faded must have been exhausting.
And although her daughter Jane is just 17, Sheila Broadbent (Jane Asher) is terrified she will, “end up living in a flat in Gloucester Green with just a bull terrier for company”.
Jane’s father (Clive Francis), meanwhile, alternates between worrying about how much “bringing his daughter out” is costing him and feeling guilty for offering his own flesh and blood up to the highest bidder.
When Jane turns down inhibited army officer and peer’s son David Bulloch (Alex Felton) in favour of scandal-tainted David Hoylake-Johnston (Ed Cooper Clarke), a tall, handsome stranger of half-Italian extraction, Sheila is understandably aghast. Not so Jane’s father, who finds himself rather taken with and not so horrified by his daughter’s choice, having not been above a bit of hanky-panky himself in his younger days.
The title of this very entertaining production sums its theme up pretty accurately. And some of the performances are delightful – Clive Francis, for example, demonstrates masterful comic timing as he uses his stage wife’s snobbery to get the result he wants; and newcomer Louise Calf offers a touching and naive portrayal of the inexperienced and affectionate Jane.
Others are less so – like Jane Asher who, for some reason, fails to deliver much of the wit written into her matriarchal role.
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