SparkPlug

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Thursday 14th February, 2019

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“I’m here, I’m aaaaaahrite, …. I got me car.”

Dave loves his car, his beloved Ford Capri – the metallic 1980s comfort blanket that he wears around him as he ferries his sister and her mate between the leafy-green Irish estates of Wythenshawe and the cramped, red-brick claustrophobia of Moss Side.

Things happen to Dave when he’s in his car, playing his Rod Stewart tapes; and quite a lot of things seem to happen outside the car too. Though he’s mad for it, eventually he’s left with no choice: he can’t just cruise up and down the Princess Parkway in his Capri forever, ultimately he has to open that door and step out – there are some big, big decisions to be made.Read More »

Mother Courage And Her Children

The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester; Wednesday 13th February, 2019

 

The year is 2080. Every nation that humanity created has now gone – all that remains are grid squares, huge blocks of land that are both battle ground and prize as the Red and the Blue Armies wage war in an attempt to methodically seize control of each zone.

In amongst the carnage, a mother and her three children roam the vast expanses of what was once known as Europe. Armed only with a solid sense of pragmatism and a keen eye for a business deal, Mother Courage buys and sells her way through the war, determined that neither she nor her children will will be victims of a conflict that has clearly broken the spirit of so many others.Read More »

The Animals And Children Took To The Streets

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Thursday 7th February, 2019

 

At number 3 Red Herring Street in the lousiest, grottiest part of town, there lies a cockroach-infested tenement block known as the Bayou Mansions – a dreadful, filthy old hovel inhabited by no-good seedy tricksters and lowlife perverts.

But as frightful as these unsavoury occupants are, their repugnant exploits pale into insignificance compared to the horrors of what happens at night – for that’s when the animals and children take to the streets.Read More »

2084

Manchester Central Library; Tuesday 5th February, 2019

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Tuesday, April 4th, 2084. Comrade #6079 (Smith) is a docile Level 2 Records Administrator and member of the Outer Party in the Ministry of Truth, Oceania.

#6079 has a specific job function – to obediently adhere to whatever truths the Inner Party wishes to promote, specifically by adjusting and amending historical documents to match the prevailing paradigm.

Whoever controls the past controls the future: whoever controls the present controls the past.Read More »

A Different Way Home

The Coliseum Theatre, Oldham; Saturday 2nd February, 2019

 

Deep in the placid suburbs of North Manchester, a festering family feud has pushed a pair of elderly siblings to the edge. Neither accepts responsibility for their brutal conflict and, as with most family feuds, neither seems to have a rational explanation for how it all started, or how it got so completely out of hand.

Writer Jimmie Chinn was born and raised in Oldham and the surrounding areas and so much of A Different Way Home is pure, unadulterated Northern-ness – a theme so strong in this performance that it feels as if it might just step off the stage in a flat cap and grey coat in order to make a curmudgeonly grumbling demand to be added into the taxonomy of recognised theatre genres.Read More »

Trial By Laughter

The Lowry, Salford; Tuesday 29th January, 2019

 

In December 1817, a relatively obscure Fleet Street writer and bookseller named William Hone found himself unexpectedly summoned to court to face grave charges of seditious libel and blasphemy.

Hone was facing the prospect of ruin in the form of bankruptcy and a lengthy jail term. Furthermore, there was even the threat of forcible exile to Australia – a one-way ticket which, in those days, was nothing short of a death sentence.

Hone stood his ground though – representing himself in court he set about convincing the jury of his peers that he was guilty of nothing more than criticising the morally deficient manner in which both government and monarchy were conspiring to rule over the populace.Read More »

The Turk

The Lowry, Salford; Saturday 26th January, 2019

 

 

Deep in the hold of a 19th Century cargo ship, a desperately fatigued old man prepares for the coming of his death – old age and illness have joined forces to create a formidable nemesis which he knows he can now no longer challenge.

The crew grow ever more concerned for his well-being – he’s locked himself away for six days and he shows no sign of emerging, even though the vessel is less than a day away from reaching port.

But he has only two concerns as he wearily accepts his inevitable fate: twelve bottles of fine wine and the constant torment of his travelling companion – the silent and menacing being known only as The Turk.Read More »