|Mark Addy, Jack O'Connell and Ralf Little - stars in"The Nap"|
At one o'clock I asked Shirley if she fancied seeing a play at The Crucible Theatre in the centre of the city. I had heard about "The Nap" from my friend Mike who is a bit of a theatre buff. He said it was outrageously funny. Today marks the last day of the play's successful run in Sheffield so if we hadn't gone today we'd have missed it.
I logged on to the Sheffield Theatres website, checked out which seats were available for the matinee performance and duly paid for two tickets which we collected at two o'clock from the box office. That's the amazing internet for you.
Written by Richard Bean and directed by Richard Wilson of "One Foot in the Grave" fame, "The Nap" is light-hearted and irreverential. There's a chain of never-ending malapropisms and clever one liners. A lot of the time there's a full sized snooker table on stage for the plot revolves around the trials and tribulations of an up and coming snooker star.
British visitors to this blog will already know that snooker and Sheffield's Crucible Theatre are almost synonymous because this is where the world championships are held ever spring and "The Nap" plays cleverly upon that fact. For example, the action opens in a down at heel snooker club at Manor Top, One of the actors, Mark Addy, looks around and says "It's hardly The Crucible is it?" This question ignited thunderous laughter and applause.
We have a parsimonious saying in England - "Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves" but in the play, when transgender conwoman Waxy Chuff is counting out her ill-gotten pile of fifty pound notes, she says, "Look after the fifties and the pennies can f**k off!" I guess you needed to be there to appreciate the infectiousness of this ribald humour.
There were various examples of imaginative stagecraft and the play ends with a a snooker final that is being played out in front of our eyes. Of course the young hero, Dylan Spokes, has to win and not the professional snooker player who was drafted in to be the contender. It took a while to reach the correct conclusion before Dylan lifted the trophy.
There followed a well-earned standing ovation.
"The Nap" isn't high drama. It's a long way from Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams but it is clever and funny and contemporary and I am glad we took the trouble to see it. Shirley isn't a big theatre goer but she really enjoyed the performance so if you are reading this Mike, thanks for the heads up!