Monday, 13 January 2014

That Day We Sang - 1 Week To Go !!

A bit random I know but I love this picture.


You now have just one week left to see Faye in Victoria Wood's remarkable play 'That Day We Sang' at Manchesters iconic Royal Exchange Theatre.

Unfortunately last time I checked there were no tickets left available but there may be returns so keep checking the website and you might get lucky.

All being well I'll be there on Saturday for the final show and hope to have the opportunity to see Faye before she sets off for London to support Gareth in Dancing on Ice on Sunday. Don't forget to vote for him.


Here is yet another glowing review of this very special play:

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The Royal Exchange is full of the usual well-heeled and savvy crowd but there is a distinct buzz of Xmas amidst the chinks of coffee cups and pre-show drinks. We are gathered for Victoria Wood’s musical which was originally written for the ever successful Manchester International Festival, and performed at the Opera House in 2011. I have to say upfront, I am no fan of the musical genre, however this is Victoria Wood – she of so many BAFTA’s it’s boring to list them, of Acorn Antiques and a little light masochism with the Woman’s Weekly!

The story is a Mancunian tale of love and rediscovery, based on the real life recording of “Nymphs and Shepherd’s” by 250 of our scruffiest and most melodious kids in 1929. Forty years later, a reunion of the young chorister’s proves the fillip for Jimmy Baker and Enid Sutcliffe to make a grab for the life they feel they somehow lost along the way.

The stage is strangely bare for the Exchange, indeed very few props are used throughout, but there are enough purple and brown outfits to place the action somewhere around the seventies. Old Jimmy Baker is played by Dean Andrews from the acclaimed TV series Life on Mars. He is almost unrecognisable from the archetypal male chauvinist ‘pig’ he played on the TV series, a credit to his skills in itself. Young Jimmy is played by the adorable William Haresceugh and, although I’ve heard better singing voices, between them they bring a realism and emotion to their character that transforms this little struggle for love from mundane to really quite moving.

Anna Francolini plays a very Enid-like Enid, she performed in Acorn Antiques – The Musical and is obviously well versed in Victoria Wood’s style of comedy. She has a great singing voice and her passionate second half ballad detailing Enid’s sexual frustrations provoked howls of laughter and thunderous applause. More comedic excellence is delivered by Sally Bankes who is quite magnificent as Dorothy Brierley and Pauline, delineating her roles with big hair and a big heart. With such fabulous female characters around him it was always going to be difficult for James Quinn. He plays the offensive Frank Brierley and positively “ungodly” boss Mr Stanley and delivered suitably unlikable characters, but, it was hard to escape the ladies’ shadows on the occasion of my visit.

The supporting cast were also brilliant, I simply can’t mention them all by name but Kelly Price was a loveable Gertrude Riall, Darren Lawrence carved out three distinct characters in no time at all, and Andy Brady’s Tango Dancer will stay with me forever. The highlight of the night for me was the Bernie Inn number, and the supporting cast’s performance as the waiters was quite superb. It was as though the piece had been originally imagined in the round and as a whole the play worked very well on the Exchange’s circular setting. Its excellent acoustics meant at times the live music was louder than the words and I was a little distracted by the conductor on the TV screens but overall this was a really good modern musical.

It’s worth mentioning that the younger players are drawn from Theatre Schools and acting classes across Manchester and of course parallels with the choir of 1929 are hard to miss. As such, the Royal Exchange’s Christmas Appeal this year recognises the positive impact that the performing arts can have on young lives and asks for a donation fund their campaign, which aims to help as many people in the region enjoy the power of live theatre as possible. Go on, it’s Christmas.

I happily gave this show four stars and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like Victoria Wood you will like this and if you like musicals you’ll absolutely love it!

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