10 years on from Fur Coat…

10 years on from Fur Coat…

10 Years ago, the Repertory Players had just staged their production of Mike Harding’s Fur Coat and No Knickers.

In the programme, the Director, Alan Clarke, wrote:

Written 30 years ago now 40(editor), the play is a modern era northern comedy depicting a social history of working class society and its aspirations. Political Correctness was unheard of in these far off days – and it shows in the writing with the outspoken views of many of the characters. It is doubtful whether it would be written in this form today. However, as a piece of social theatre of its day, it is important to use this language to express the views of the families.
The social commentary aside, Fur Coat and No Knickers is Mike Harding’s best known play, still performed many times each year throughout the country because it is so very, very funny (and all the more so because we find that we are laughing at things we really should not). 

(ps. Stag Nights were traditionally held on the night prior to the wedding and close to home. After watching the play, it may explain why they now tend to take place weeks before the big day in some other town or city – or even in another country!)




One of the key actors in Fur Coat and No Knickers was James Freeman who is also appearing in our current production of Spider’s Web.

10 years on, (and just recovered from COVID!) James is as committed to the Rep as ever and is looking forward to his latest role as Inspector Lord

James Freeman with Shelley Rivers


James joined the Rep in 1997, three years before the Players moved from the old Rep Theatre in Beresford Street, Shelton. He appeared in The Deep Blue Sea, Relatively Speaking and the last production to be presented in the old theatre, Journey’s End.

James has played leading roles in most of the 20 + seasons since the new theatre opened and among his favourite roles have been John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night, Oswald in in lbsen’s Ghosts and Jefferson Steele in A Bunch Of Amateurs. He has also directed for the Players and his productions have included The Herbal Bed, My Boy Jack and Mrs Warren’s Profession.

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