Review of ‘Living With Women’, by Paul Gater

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

by Paul Gater
Published by Anecdotes Publishing of Buxton
ISBN 97818-986-70124 (2008)

Far from being a 'how to' guide, Living with Women is subtitled A Survivor's Guide On and Off the Stage. Author Paul Gater invites us to meet a score of ladies keen to share their confidences, their frequent angst and often bawdy humour.

The pieces were originally written to be performed by a solo actress and have all been brought to life in the theatre and other venues. The author lends an empathy to the insecure but optimistic egos of his cast, such as the well-upholstered Marilyn whose speciality is pretending to be a sprite; named after Marilyn Monroe, she insists on keeping her own hair 'really golden blonde'. Past-her-best Maddy, meanwhile, lavishes her money on an impecunious young admirer who reminds her of Steve McQueen.

Then there is Carla (declaring herself 'a very, very private person'), back in the limelight to accept what she claims as a long-deserved award, revelling in sharing this deep and private moment with thousands through the miracle of modern media.

Ivy from Fagg Street is hard to ignore, not for the want of trying, while farmer's wife 'big red Ruby' is a real handful who likes sharing a bit of jam roly-poly on the side. Peggy-Lou, whose country and western singing career has slipped below the horizon, confides how she once passed the apple-jack with the likes of Slim Whitman and Dolly Parton, while Belma Starr is a true artiste who 'almost knew Ivor Novello'.

The temptation to read the monologues aloud is irresistible and the numerous illustrations of rare theatrical postcards are quite captivating.

Living with Women by Paul Gater is presented 'For all men who ever tried to get along with women - For all women who can't understand why they don't!'

Review by Julie Bunting

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