Mink, mistresses and money
The expression "all fur coat and no knickers" springs to mind when watching 'Not Now Darling' breathlessly staged by Abingdon Drama Club at the Unicorn Theatre last week.
The Fur certainly flies in this sixties farce written by Ray Cooney and John Chapman and set in a first floor West End fur salon.The action centres on a wolf - the randy rogueish owner Gilbert ( the excellent Patrick Bird) - among the minks, who is plotting to seduce new girlfriend Janie with the gift of a £5000 mink coat.
To allay the suspicions of the girlfriends husband (Allan Dannfald) the furrier devises a scheme to sell him the coat for just £500, making him believe he is buying the present for her.
Naturally it all goes horribly wrong when hubby refuses to pay - but his wife, splendidly played by Ruth Collins, refuses to leave without the coat, and shows her determination by shedding all her clothes, except the mink.
Then, for variously complicated reasons, a great deal of lingerie and female garments are flung from the first floor window, some ending on the roof of the No 9 bus to Mortlake.
The arrival of Gilberts wife (Lin Beekar) adds to the frenzy of trying to hide the semi-naked Janie, and by now, new arrival Sue has also had to strip down to bra and pants (don't ask).
The play demands rather more in the way of exposure than we are normaly used to from the Abingdon Drama Club, but Ms Collins and Helen Magney rise admirably to the challenge in Keith Hales' sparkling and witty production.
The pace is relentless and although dated (and incredibly politically incorrect by today's standards), the saucy plot still has the capacity to raise a laugh a line.
Full marks to everyone - with particular praise to Michael Ward as the put upon Arnold Crouch, and to Mary Hitchens as the firm's spinster secretary Miss Tipdale. Praise too to stage designer Malcolm Ross for a simple, but effective set.
Roy Cooper - Abingdon Herald - 25/7/02