Bad Reception at Guiseley Theatre Review

There’s something really special about settling down for the evening to watch a brand new play you haven’t seen before and, as Bad Reception is penned by fab writer Will Burns, the show is a great laugh.

Bad Reception follows Kelly Thatcher, a singleton in her late thirties, as she navigates the world of online dating. When she meets the man of her dreams, will she find out it’s all just a nightmare waiting to happen? Rushed into marrying her date in order to save her local pub, The Flat Cap Arms, Kelly’s friends and family must surely see that her husband-to-be isn’t all he seems to be…

By The Play Theatre Productions are a local company based in Guiseley, and produce completely unique shows for the community to both take part in and to come and watch. It’s clear the cast is brimming with energy and enthusiasm for the play throughout, a sure sign the rehearsal process has been just as much fun as watching the final show.

There’s a lovely sense of camaraderie amongst the cast, with particular chemistry between our leading lady Kelly Thatcher (Joanne Powell) and louder-than-life best mate Vicky Piggs (Kim Blount). Blount ups the game every time she’s on stage, really making the most of those classic Will Burns gags. It contrasts perfectly with the more demure, nervous disposition of Joanne Powell’s Kelly – the audience is really rooting for her to find her Mr Right (or Mr North, as we’ll come onto). Sarah Bishop, directing, has created a great blend of completely unique and quirky characters to bring the script to life.

There are some great moments between pub landlord Jack Daniel Stout (Josh Breeze) and his wife Shelley Stout (Vic Clarke), giving real Yorkshire pub vibes. We can all relate to at least one or two of the motley crew in The Flat Cap Arms, and there are plenty of local jokes that make the audience feel even more connected to the story.

Kelly’s husband-to-be Luke North (try saying it out loud in a broad northern accent) is played fabulously by Phil Smith. The audience are so taken in by his charms, we never really know quite how he feels about proceedings. This nuanced ambiguity adds a nice undertone to the script, giving a bold and bouncy play a poignant edge. We all root for Kelly to find her happy ending, after all!

Every member of the cast has taken their role and run with it, which is truly joyous to see. So many times you see casts either taking their part far too seriously, or throwing away lines of comedy gold. The cast of Bad Reception bring the script to life brilliantly, particularly Saphron Middleton as con artist Effy Shlutz and Daniel Hunt as Reverend Church. It’s a script that bounds from one joke to the next, and the cast do their best to make sure every gag lands.

Sitting somewhere between a rom-com and a farce, Bad Reception is a totally unique show packed full of twists and turns to keep you on your toes. It’s a treat to see a local production company bring a brand new show to the stage, and even more wonderful to see so many people come along to enjoy it!

Keep an eye out on the Guiseley Theatre website for the latest By The Play shows!

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