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Ladies Day is odds on favourite at the New Vic for 2023!

Ladies Day by Amanda Whittington

Directed by Marieke Audsley

Review by David Bithell

Photo credit - Andrew Billington

The latest offering at the New Vic begins on the production line of a Hull fish factory, definitely not the glitz and glamour of a ladies day at Ascot.

We immediately get to know the main characters, four women, Pearl, Jan, Linda and Shelley, who are fish packers, front line production workers who want a break from their mundane day to day work and swap their smelly overalls, hair nets and wellies for dresses, make up and fascinators.

The story centres around Pearl who is nearly retiring from her job and decides she wants to go to the races, ladies day at Ascot to be precise, with her work colleagues.

Cue York racecourse, which in fact was the host venue for Royal Ascot in 2005. The write of the play Amanda Whittingham wrote the play to mark this occasion, but as it has become popular over the years, it has continued to tour ever since with a few changes to the script over time.

As the play is told, we learn about the characters and all is not as it seems with the gang of four, and we soon get a picture of what their lives are really like away from the factory behind the laughs and factory floor banter.

The actors who portray each character are brilliant throughout and you get to become attached to each of them and yearn for an happy ending.

Tanya-Loretta Dee shines as Jan especially during the drunken scene after too many glasses of Prosecco. Annie Kirkham who plays Shelley also stars as the feisty, life loving one which gives us plenty of laughs throughout the play.

Tony Christie loving Linda, played by Jo Patmore is also great as she plays the timid, down the line role and finally Kate Wood gives us a convincing performance as the matriach, the mother hen of the group, Pearl. Who has a huge secret to tell as we get to find out. New Vic favourite, Gareth Cassidy, completes the line up of fabulous actors, and he gives us what we have come to expect from him, an all round polished performance. From his range of accents, facial expressions and versatility as always, he brings the whole play together by playing six, yes six roles during Ladies Day.

Overall, it is a very heartwarming and fun play that hits the spot with a lovely script and actors who really suit their characters. It is certainly not one to be missed.

It runs until February 25. Tickets can be booked online at or by calling the theatre box office on 01782 717962.

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