Oldham Coliseum to stage revival of Jim Cartwright’s joyous and anarchic play Road
By Steve Cooke
This September Oldham Coliseum Theatre will be staging Road, Jim Cartwright’s (Rise and Voice of Little Voice) powerful game changing snapshot of Lancashire life during Thatcher’s England in the 80s, that is still as relevant as today as it was when it was first performed over 30 years ago.
They say it’s grim up north, and sometimes they’re right. But worry not dear friends, because our well-oiled narrator Scullery will look after you.
This is Road, 1987. There’s no jobs and little hope but there’s a party to go to that’ll take you from the gutter to the stars and back again. Step into the homes of the residents of this Lancashire street and witness real life lived to the extremes, where there’s nowhere left to fall but into a little light relief.
Lancashire playwright Jim Cartwright’s debut play mixes humour and pathos to portray an all-too-relevant tale of deprivation and the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit. Road first premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1986 and staged there again in 2017.
Road’s exciting cast will include Richard J Fletcher, best known as Oldham Coliseum’s much loved Pantomime dame, now taking on a very different kind of role as the drunken narrator Scullery; Paula Lane (Kylie Platt in Coronation Street) as Lane; Will Travis (Mr Squires in This is England 86, 88 & 90, Channel 4); John Askew (Rita, Sue and Bob Too) as Joey/Eddie; as Professor/Jerry; Zoe Iqbal (The Importance of Being Earnest, Dukes Theatre) as Louise; Shaban Dar (As You Like It, Northern Broadsides & tour) as Skin Lad/Barry/Louise’s brother; Alyce Liburd (Now is Good, Storyhouse) as Clare, Kofi Dennis (The Wiz, Hope Mill Theatre) as Bisto/Blowpipe; and Claire Storey (Adrian Mole The Musical, Queen’s Theatre) as Molly/Helen.
Director Gitika Buttoo (Love N Stuff, Oldham Coliseum, The Jungle Book at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, and staff director on The Father and the Assassin, National Theatre) said about the forthcoming production:
“Road is such an iconic story and despite it being set in the 80s I think it's more relevant now than ever. With the cost of living rising significantly and where we find ourselves as a nation politically and socially. But you'll have the best night out as these buoyant likeable characters take you for a tour down their road"
Road will open at Oldham Coliseum Theatre from 16 September – 1 October.