northern grit that will make you DELIGHTFULLY uncomfortable
‘Four completely unrelated plays’ (presented by off the cuff theatre company) will leave you with your jaw dropped. The whole thing is wonderfully northern. Opening with (1/4) ‘A satsuma and a chat’, this short play was INSTANTLY PLEASING as both characters argued about who looks after their quickly declining mother and the fast paced dialogue takes you on a rollercoaster of every day CONVERSATION between siblings, fluctuating between arguing and REMINISCING, and the COMPLICATIONS of everyday life. The simplicity of it gave it heart and echoed alan bennetts style. (Starring Maria Sykes and daniel brennan).
The second of the four plays was my personal favourite, due to the gloomy back drop of huddersfield in the 1970s and growing up gay. jACK sIMPSON (PLAYED BY THE outstanding JONNY PRICE), IS A 16 YEAR OLD ‘PUFF’, THAT WOULD PRAY TO GOD (WHILE CONTEMPLATING IF THERE EVEN IS A GOD) THAT HE WASN’T A PUFF, ALLOWED THE AUDIENCE light relief, BEFORE PLUNGING US INTO THE DARK WORLD OF LIVING IN FEAR OF THE YORKSHIRE RIPPER AND THE COMPLICATIONS HOMOSEXUALITY BRINGS. tHIS PLAY BEING MORE OF AN ACCOUNT, THE IN DEPTH DIALOGUE ALLOWED THE AUDIENCE TO ENVISION THE GRAPHIC DETAIL OF THE MISTY HUDDERSFIELD RAILWAY ARCHES AND THE TURMOIL OF LOCAL SOCIETY AT THE TIME. although the humour within this play is INCREDIBLY dark, it also had true emotion and left you with a real connection with its sole character.
Play 3 of 4 was perhaps the most current, relating to society today. An ASSAULT within the family that has loomed over a husband and wife for almost two decades. ‘a bit of ruff’, the husband, david (rik thorpe) claims, ‘from 17 years previously.. and you want to talk about it now’?. The lines stick in your head and you’re IMMEDIATELY there with them in the moment. The dress SIGNIFYING the night of the assault and the broken zip that has only just been fixed, create some dark imagery and wonderful, hard hitting lines for sarah (catherine traveller). The back and forth intensity, leading to the climax of, ‘how can i make this right?’. The answer is truly shocking and leaves the audience with nervous laughter. But after processing what was said, is an eye for an eye the best way to move forward?
The final play left the audience a lIttle confused for the first five minutes, as it became clear it was reflecting on a young womans mental health and her infatuation with her Doctor. After Clara (leah hamiilton) creates a futuristic PSYCHOLOGICAL machine that can recite back a PSYCHOLOGY degree and diagnose mental health issues within humans. ‘aLEX’ THE siri like voice, had attitude (Andy Mallinson) gave the audience some humour, as it debated the meaning of love with Doctor robin hart (gemma whiteley), and its negative effects on the human mind. As the play unravelled, we discover the debate was somewhat staged by doctor hart TO TRY and NEGOCIATE A COMPROMISE WITH ‘aLEX’, THAT LOVE IS A CURE TO LONELINESS, AS WELL AS THE CAUSE. tHIS LEADING TO THE FINAL STANDOFF BETWEEN A TROUBLED AND HEARTBROKEN CLARA AND dOCTOR hart, AGAIN ROUNDING ALL of the PLAYS OFF, WITH A COMMON FACTOR, THE INTENSITY OF HUMAN EMOTION.
all in all, ‘Four completely unrelated plays’ will get you thinking, while leaving you entertained. They do all share one common element that tie them all together, they highlight social issues from the past, present and even the near future.
In the BEAUTIFUL back drop of the lawrence batley theatre, huddersfield - its a must see and an INTERESTING evening out!
Get your tickets for the remaining showings (16th and 17th of October)click HERE