Gladys: A Beverley Love Story – Review – East Riding Theatre

Gladys A Beverley Love Story – Review – East Riding Theatre main

By Karl Hornsey, October 2022

Gladys: A Beverley Love Story is the latest in-house production to be staged at the ERT in Beverley, which continues to go from strength to strength eight years after opening. The homely and characterful theatre is perfect for this type of intimate play, which features a cast of just three, and the good news for Beverlonians and beyond is that ‘Gladys’ runs right through to the 22nd October.

Gladys A Beverley Love Story – Review – East Riding Theatre

“Host of emotions”

This drama is penned by New Zealand playwright Jane McLauchlan and much of the powerful realism comes from it being based on characters from her own life. And powerful this certainly is. It’s simply a very ‘real’ story, tapping into the hopes and fears of many people of a certain age, the anxieties that come with growing old and any number of inconsequential things that become big issues. There’s certainly a whole host of emotions that result from the script and the performances, with some genuinely funny one-liners among some of the more serious and moving dialogue.

The play takes place over a relatively short period of time and starts as we join Gladys and Alfie in their front room, talking about something and nothing, as it seems they must have done for most of their 45 years of married life together. Jacqueline Naylor stars as Gladys, whose life revolves her high-flying son (whom she seldom sees) and husband Alfie, played by Andrew Dunn. Outside of those four walls, Gladys is seemingly lost and afraid, which is explored later on, and played with great nuance by Naylor, who gets across the almost childlike qualities that make Gladys the fragile person she is. Candida Gubbins is the third and final member of the cast, starring as Daphne, whose life seems the complete opposite of Gladys’s, but whose character is gradually developed as the story unfolds, revealing much more than meets the eye at first.

Gladys A Beverley Love Story – Review – East Riding Theatre ert


This isn’t an easy watch in parts, but it’s heartwarming and makes the audience think; about their own lives and those in it, and about the fragile nature of who we are and how we go about the most mundane of daily routines. There’s also some fascinating footage of Beverley from olden times, which plays on stage as the story moves from one setting to another, which, as a resident of the town, struck me as a wonderful idea. While this is obviously a story that appeal to an older generation, there’s still something in it for everyone, thanks to the quality of the writing and the talents of those on stage.

‘Gladys: A Beverley Love Story’ is at East Riding Theatre until 22nd October


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