THE 1966 Aberfan Disaster provides a heart-wrenchingly poignant backdrop to Bolton Little Theatre’s latest production.

Set a few months after that terrible day in 1966 when a mud slide from a colliery spoil tip brought devastation to the small Welsh village, Anthony Neil Docking’s play brings to life the stories of four bereaved mothers as they attempt to put their lives back together.

The play looks at those characters eight months after the disaster as their support group meet in a room above a local hotel.

They cry, laugh, natter and just try to get on with their lives as best they can – but eventually have to admit “they really, they’ve ‘let themselves go’ a bit”

With the idea proposed of inviting a representative from Revlon to give them some make-up tips, they grow anxious that the rest of the village will think them frivolous for daring to make an effort with their appearance.

Director Sandra Simpson said: “I’ve been wanting to produce it ever since I first saw it.

“It struck me so much as a very human story and the playwright’s skilled enough to weave unexpected moments of humour into the plot to counter what clearly is a very sad story.”

Charlotte Ashworth, who pays the eponymous Revlon Girl, added:“It’s a remarkable story – made all the more so because of course it’s based on real life events. The characters have been dramatised naturally – but rehearsing it we really got a sense of those women’s lives.”

The rehearsal process has not been without incident though. Tara Haywood, who plays Jean, had to step in with two weeks to go after Charlotte Carlin – who had rehearsed the role for the past six weeks – broke her ankle.

“It’s not an easy thing to step into a role and create a character that the other cast members have already got used to – but thankfully they have all been so supportive,” said Tara.

Lisa Barlow, Lindsay Farnworth and Meredith Collinson complete the cast.

Sandra said: “It’s the sort of play that needs a very strong cast, and I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch.

“It’s such a shame that Charlotte is missing the run after all her hard work, but I’m very grateful to Tara for learning the part at such short notice.”

The Revlon Girl is running from Monday 17 – Saturday, January 22 at Bolton Little Theatre, Hanover Street, Bolton BL1 4AH.

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