The Mountaintop

The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester; Thursday 30th September, 2021

Memphis, Tennessee; the night of 3 April, 1968. Outside, the spring air trembles to the rumbling of distant thunder, the sky fizzes with piercing flashes of lightning.

Inside, specifically in room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, Martin Luther King (Adetomiwa Edun) is agonising over his newest and latest speech.

“America, you are too arrogant; … America, you are going to Hell!”

A brief call to room service, a simple request for coffee. But that coffee brings with it an unexpected and intriguing development: the feisty maid who calls herself Camae (Ntombizodwa Ndlovu).

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Salford Arts Theatre; Wednesday 29th September, 2021

I can feel what you are feeling and you can feel what I am feeling. That’s because I am you – and you are me.

Lines from a soppy love story? Possibly, but in this case it’s a clue, one that could potentially help to unravel the mind-boggling conundrum that is Sandy by Manchester’s Peripeteia Theatre Company.

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Sour Milk

AATMA, Manchester; Tuesday 28th September, 2021

Manchester, the 1980s. In the living room of a flat above a chip shop, Mark (Jonathan Mitchell) and Ange (Abbey Hayes) are watching Coronation Street. These two are so “Manchester in the 1980s” that they seem to be more than just viewers of Coronation Street – they look as if they might be characters straight out of it.

They’re an odd pairing. It takes a short while to figure out that they’re not just some bickering husband-and-wife-unit moaning about fresh milk and who’s going to go out and get it – they seem to be just good mates, housemates. Queer housemates.

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Failure Studies

The King’s Arms, Salford; Sunday 12th September, 2021

Mark (David Allen) is the boss from hell. There are two major problems with him:

  1. He’s an arsehole;
  2. He loves failure.

He just loves it, so much so he’s turned his personal fetish for failure into a business: some kind of publishing house, a sick-minded journal of non-fulfillment – if you have a proposal / theory / idea on what failure is and how it can be defined, and perhaps even glorified, Mark is the kind of failure-loving arsehole who would definitely want to hear from you.

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Your Playground Voice Is Gone

Salford Arts Theatre; Saturday 11th September, 2021

A secluded fly-tipping spot somewhere in Salford: a group of bored teenagers idly gather to have it out with each other; to take the piss; to find out who’s doing what; find out what he said; find out what she said – work out whether any of it actually means anything.

It feels like typical teenage banter on a dull weekend – so then why is one of them dressed in school uniform?

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Leaving Vietnam

The King’s Arms, Salford; Sunday 5th September, 2021

Jimmy Vandenberg was well on his way to the American Dream – working as a mechanic for Ford, literally in Motown itself; a new home; a sweetheart to miss, sugar to kiss; perhaps the chance to one day own a ‘69 Mustang of his own?

But this was America in the late ‘60s – and for millions like Jimmy the guardians of the American Dream had set a price for entry, a price that would need to be paid in the jungles of Vietnam.

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