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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

BEGINNING AT THE ROYAL EXCHANGE THEATRE

By Steve Griffiths



Now set in Manchester this naturalistic play was originally rave reviewed by reviewers based in the cultural oasis of North London. But with appropriate changes, the pesto triangle of Chorlton and Didsbury rather than Highgate for example , it could be any city with a good area and a poorer one.

As they all have people who are lonely and seeking to find someone they can cuddle and spend time with.




It’s a two hander for 100 minutes which puts enormous pressure on the actors . Not only are they on stage for all that time, as its in one long scene, but with the Exchanges round auditorium there is no hiding place.Fortunately with Erin Shanagher as the female lead and Gerard Kearns as the male they are well up for it.




At first you do wonder what she sees in him, post party ,where she met him for the first time. Gradually they shed their hard skins to reveal the sensitive damaged people that we can all respond to . Just like us in fact with lives which have escaped along with previous partners, children and . sometimes, hope .


It’s a play in the Alan Ayckbourne tradition with understanding being teased out in dialogue that is clear and understandable . But with occasional flights of fancy to keep you, and the actors, on their toes. And if you have a pair of Marigolds be prepared to see them in a wholly different light in future.


Directed by the resident artistic director , Bryony Shanahan, the play is a little long for one act as my numb bum testifies. But justification in silences, which we all recognise as inherent in the beginning of a relationship coupled to some lovely dance sequences would be her response. They have an intimacy coordinator , Chi -San Howard which is a first for me . And they know how to tickle the local connection with a football related joke which got a massive reaction. The audience loved it which has to be a good sign for the run.




CONTENT WARNING

This show contains adult themes and some strong language. There are depictions of smoking. Age guidance 14+.

VENUE: The Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann's Square, Manchester M2 7DH

DATES: On until Saturday 11 March 2023

RUNNING TIME: Approx 1 hour and 50 minutes (with no interval)

TICKET PRICES: Standard Tickets range from £10 - £40. Limited numbers of £7 Under 30s and Pay What You Decide tickets are available.






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