If you come from Clitheroe and care about your cows one thing is certain – Upper Ramsbottom is not where you want to be!

This is English village life, so it starts with the Vicar, who has amongst many other foibles a disturbing obsession with Geri Halliwell. He has the Upper Ramsbottom Summer fete to organise, and he seems to be thwarted at every turn. His loyal assistant does her best, though baffled by his proclivities, and he can turn for help to a committee of the finest community members from the local pub and farms, who all have their own ideas and are ready to use them.

Laughing Mirror are the company who bring us this delightful and very fast paced rural romp, and no gag is left unused as we whizz through a livestock and deadpan-gag filled farce written by Sarah Fitzpatrick. With a minimum of costume embellishments this lively and clever cast bring us a breathtaking array of country characters including some suitably dim plod, geriatric hell raisers and enough bumpkin belligerents to make an Archers scriptwriter reach for the tablets.

The audience packing out the Emerson Studio at the Maddermarket Theatre were in hoots of laughter from the start at this well crafted comedy. The pressure is on the Vicar when a TV crew from down South come to cover the bucolic joys of a country fete, especially when they add their own mischief to spice up the ratings draw. However everything seems to be going well and the cows will be the stars of the show – if anyone can find them! Dirty business is afoot (and under your feet thanks to the cows) and the best minds of the village set out to solve the mystery of the missing bovine stars. Are the Clitheroe kids the cow rustlers? Or is the crime closer to home? You will need to know!

This show is fun from start to finish, and while never knowingly missing a gag opportunity it is made really funny by the superb character depictions from the lively young cast. A high energy show yet one that still allows us to get to know and like the diverse characters set before us. Impossible not to head home with an ear to ear grin after this show, catch it if you can! Just mind your step as you go…

© Julian Swainson 2019