Stags and Hens at Fruit - Tuesday 26th July 2011
By Melanie Fullard
Photos by Neil Holmes
Have you been to the 3D cinema recently?
The characters are larger than life, there's surround sound and you become so engrossed that you feel like you're in the film. Well, that's what it's like watching Stags and Hens.
The audience is gathered - standing room only. A bloke walks down the middle aisle; he's swaying a bit and looks a bit pissed. You just start to wonder who he's with when the front door bursts open complete with full sound effects.
Enter the Hens!
Five loud, lairy lasses, they head straight for the bar (the real one). Then, like most women, they head straight for the bogs for a hair and make-up fix; the bogs are the only bit of stage set, two sinks and a cubicle, half for males, half for females. In they go, preening and guffawing.
Bernie does the gags in proper 'ull-speak. Her husband is 'a miserable owld twat' and she tells the girls they're 'minge en masse!' as they make their way to the disco. A muffled
disco beat plays in the background and Stevie Wonder calls them to the floor.
The doors open again. This time it's the Stags. They head to the bar all beer googles and testosterone. The drunk at the front of the stage resurfaces; turns out he's the groom,
Dave! He's pissed as a fart and manages to spew down the front of his mate's trousers.
The lads come through the crowd and head for the bogs taking Dave with them. They put him in the toilet cubicle, where he can lay down. Robbie is narked. How's he going to get a shag with chicken korma stains on his crutch?
You'll recognise this motley crew; Romeo's/LA's circa 1980's. The Tony Manero, The Fonz, and their mate, Curly Watts. There's always the token nutter, in this case it's Eddie.
He's older, more mature, a Begsby incarnate; a proper psycho. They banter about being in Trog Bar and 'gerring off' with a Bo Derek type as they head for the dance floor.
Dave is still horizontally challenged.
The lasses are back in the bogs. Bernie is the lairy one, full of lip but a bit of a dolly bird, too. 'Me ' usband sez why do ye wear that bra wen y've nowt te pur in it? Ah sez, look luv, ah don't stop you from wearin' ye fookin underpants'. The girls scream with laughing. Carol is cute and blonde, the looker of the group - she always pulls. Maureen is plain and naive. The lads will try for her at the last chance saloon; otherwise they'll miss the taxi queue.
Linda is the bride. She's loving the attention but she's really crapping herself. She still can't believe she agreed to marry him. They were pissed and smooching to When a man loves a woman. He got better by the pint and now look what's happened! Francis is quirky, she fusses over them all. Nice lass, but she'll be married with four kids before she's 25. A dole-wallah with a shared brain cell and a small nob.
It's the second half and there's 'Trouble at mill'. The two groups have spotted each other in the club. Not only is it bad luck but they'll cramp each others style. Things go from bad to bleedin' worse. Apart from the disco, there's a band on. Turns out some of the lads know the singer, Peter from when he was local. He's a big shot now, lives in London and wears women's boots - 'The big puff''. Turns out it's not only the lads he knows ...
Peter is at the mixing desk at the side of the stage (an actual fixture) when he bumps into Linda. The old flame is re-ignited and within minutes they're off for a dance and a snog.
It all kicks off. Bernie and Linda have a row, Eddie barges into the ladies bogs and threatens to 'bray' the bride for 'tekking the piss owt me mate'. He then threatens to kill Peter, the singer - or he can leave with his life and his boots if he goes now!
Dave is still horizontally challenged.
Linda promises the girls she's sorry, she'll behave and there'll be a wedding. Maureen's desperate to be a bridesmaid and they've all bought presents, some non-returnable.
Pete's packing his gear, he's getting the fuck out of Dodge!
Dave has done a Lazarus and is out of the bogs. Linda is looking for him. She needs to explain, to put things right. She finds him propped against the wall and cradles his face tenderly in her hands. She's crying. He listens from the twilight zone with half an eye open. She didn't mean this to happen, she's so sorry but it'll be okay in the end, she tells him softly. Ten minutes later she's done one, out the bog window and in a Transit van half way down the M62. Eddie goes ballistic.
The brief search is called off and the tragedy brings them all together. Bernie cops off with pyscho Eddie and even dopey Maureen gets her man. Curly Watts gets a bird and The Fonz finds out he doesn't have the clap after all. All's well that ends well! Just another Saturday night in Hull.
The final scene sees all the cast together, lads on one side, lasses on the other (it's like Grease meets West-Hull side story).
A deep voice booms, 'He's crazy like a fool, what about Daddy Cool?'
Brilliant, bloody brilliant!
These talented actors have done a cracking job. I certainly got my fivers worth - it was deserving of 4 times that price. By the reception from the crowd, they could do a 'Les Miserables' and spend the next six months playing the Fruit bar.
I have a feeling we'll be sat in the cinema one day and say, 'Int that the 'ull kid from Stags and Hens?' 'Yeah, good innit - bet their dad int 'arf chuffed!'
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