APPROACHING your 50th birthday is a milestone you’d rather forget. But Clive Debanks, the central figure in Sale Nomads play, Love Begins at Fifty, approaches it in a way most men would envy.

Unbeknown to his wife Anita, and assisted by his friend, Jack, he answers three lonely hearts ads in the same local paper where his wife has secretly entered them for the Mr and Mrs Perfect Marriage competition. She succeeds in winning a cruise even though their marriage is falling apart.

Clive’s three dates arrive within 30 minutes of each other. The first, Annabel, is greeted by a Clive in a Roy Orbison wig and specs. The second, Mavis, who sells vitamin pills, like Annabel, is swiftly sent on her way. But the would-be Romeo is swept off his feet by his final date, the sweet natured Emily well cast with Jo Liston in the role.

Just as he practices his charms on her, the photographer from the local paper arrives to take a snap of the married couple. It doesn’t take much imagination to work out what happens next!

The comedy degenerates into farce thanks to mistaken identities. And this is where the Nomads deserve praise, especially, director, Terry Hollinshead. Their timing and pace is spot on as one surprising event follows another, and the audience laugh their socks off.

You can’t help liking Bill Nolan’s Clive as he romps from woman to woman after 28 years of marriage to the snobbish Anita. Ann Robinson puts over Anita’s character well. She is obviously bored to death with Clive and believes she has married beneath her station. Her facial expression is always appropriate.

The cast work well as a team but Joe Cramsie’s Jack stands out. Jack offers to pay best mate Clive £100 if he can boast a love bite within a fortnight He does not envisage that rather than a love bite, Clive will find love.

Stage Manager Tony Bancroft comes up with a realistic living room set with silk style wallpaper, Malcolm Gray's wall lights really work and Jay Hollows' door and telephone bells as well as his 60s music are well timed.

First night nerves result in hesitation with words but I suspect the problem will subsequently be resolved.

The Nomads Clubhouse is a small, cosy place to visit. Yet they have tiered seating. If you haven’t been before, give it a go. You’ll not only enjoy a fun play but receive a warm welcome.

* At the Nomads Clubhouse, Friars Road, Sale, until March 17. For tickets, telephone 0161 969 5140 Star Rating * * * *