by D H Lawrence.

The Lowry (Quays Theatre) Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ To 10 March 2012.
Mon-Sat 7.15pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm.
Audio-described 1 March 7.15pm (+ Touch Tour 6.15pm).
BSL Signed 2 March.
Captioned 7 March.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.

TICKETS: 0843 208 6000.
Review: Sadia Habib 24 February.

Love is the pits in the pit (but there shines a light).
A loving family desperately cling to one another, and their positions in the pit-mining community, amidst the trouble of mining strikes. Yet they don’t know how to cling to each other. Through the resentments that rise to the surface as they row with one another, and the “snagging and snarling”, these folk learn about love and life in a close-knit, sometimes claustrophobic community.
Class divisions and social ambitions are rife.

In Chris Honer’s Library Theatre Company production at the Lowry’s Quays Theatre, the cosy living room of the Gascoigne household with its ornamental knick knacks contrasts the socially ambitious Minnie’s home, with its elements of her tastes. Judith Croft’s set is constructed beautifully to give is an insight into the characters of the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law.

The play highlights the strength of women – and their desire for husband or sons to fulfil a certain role. Mother and daughter in law struggle to be the sole woman in miner Luther’s life. We empathise with his wife Minnie’s yearning, and with her attempts to be on an equal footing with him. And we long for her to achieve her aspirational desires. “Then why did you marry me?” asks Luther. We too want to know why they married.

Their physical attraction is evident, but they seem disconnected in other ways. Alun Raglan portrays the slow and confused Luther superbly as one who is unable to please his wife, but has no idea as to why. His wife speaks in Standard English, stark contrasting Luther’s sometimes difficult Nottingham accent and vernacular.

The two stars of the show are Natalie Grady, portraying the ambitious but lonely Minnie, and Paul Simpson as the brother-in-law, Joe, teasing and tormenting Minnie, but caring for her dearly. In the opening scene Simpson deftly recalls stories, imitating the conversation he had at work regarding his pit accident. We are fond of Joe for his role as peacemaker, advisor and for lightening the situation.

Mrs Gascoigne: Diane Fletcher.
Joe Gascoigne: Paul Simpson.
Mrs Purdy: Susan Twist.
Minnie Gascoigne: Natalie Grady.
Luther Gascoigne: Alun Raglan.
Cabman: Max Calandrew.

Director: Chris Honer.
Designer: Judith Croft.
Lighting: Nick Richings.
Sound: Paul Gregory.
Assistant Director: Joshua Azouz.
Voice coach – Sally Hague.

2012-02-28 02:32:26

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