Cast gets to the heart of family life with timeless comedy drama

ON STAGE Maria Bailey and Adrian Wales in Dewsbury Arts Group's production of Spring and Port Wine.
ON STAGE Maria Bailey and Adrian Wales in Dewsbury Arts Group's production of Spring and Port Wine.

Spring and Port Wine may have begun life as a radio play in the late 1950s , but the struggles of the family it follows could just as easily be unfolding in any number of homes today.

Set in a working class household in Bolton, the story follows the Crompton family and father Rafe’s desperate attempts to assert his authority.

Worrying about the finances, despairing at the way society is changing, wanting his children to be happy but only adding to their woes – it’s no wonder Rafe is world-weary.

Adrian Wales’ wonderful portrayal of the stubborn and domineering family man brought great humanity too, particularly in moving scenes with Rafe’s wife Daisy, played by the excellent Maria Bailey.

Rafe’s increasingly unreasonable behaviour and his children’s reactions provide not only drama but also a great deal of laughter.

Superb comic performances from all the cast drew roars of laughter at points.

Iain Winstanley was great fun to watch as cheeky older son Harold, full of bravado when Rafe’s not home but terrified the moment he returns.

And a special mention must go to Carol Ward for her turn as nosy neighbour Betsy Jane who scurries into the fantastic living room set at the first whiff of scandal.

Another hugely enjoyable show from Dewsbury Arts Group in what is proving to be a memorable 50th year.

The play runs until Saturday. See listings for details.