Thursday, 10 April 2008

Spring and Port Wine - What's Being Said....

Audiences seem to not only have flocked to buy tickets for Spring and Port Wine but seem to be enjoying it too. We've had some lovely comments from audience members so I thought I would include some of them below:

'It took me right back to the old days'
'There's nothing like a good old northern play to kick the pride back into Bolton'
'I've been coming here for 10 years and that was the best production I have ever seen'

Rave reviews from our audiences indeed. If you have something to say why not post your own comments or a review below. It's always nice to hear from you! As for tickets, we still have a few left (mainly single seats) and we have a waiting list for practically every remaining performance. So if you want to see it, call Ticket Office now on 01204 520661. You won't be sorry!

Not many press reviews so far but here's one from The Bolton News and another one from The Stage. We also have been reviewed by Clitheroe Advertiser. Unfortunately I can't find a link to the review on their site so I have included a transcript below:

Director Noreen Kershaw’s production of Bill Naughton’s, ‘Spring and Port Wine’, celebrates the fortieth anniversary season of Bolton’s Octagon Theatre. The playwright’s first play was performed here and he was very much a local lad. Indeed the studio venue is named after him.
Spring and Port Wine is one his most popular and enduring family dramas. The film version starring James Mason was memorable. The action tells of the upheavals of the Cromptons over one emotional and life-changing weekend.

This production benefits from two accomplished stage actors in the leading parts, Russell Dixon as Rafe Crompton, the stubborn and domineering father, and Julie Riley as Daisy, his seemingly submissive wife but loved by her four children, Harold, (Paul Simpson), Florence (Eve Robertson), Hilda (Joanna Higson) and young Wilfred (Des O’Malley). David Crellin plays Florence’s fiancĂ©, Arthur and Mary Cunningham, the feckless neighbour Betty Jane.

The director has chosen to set the play in 1966, a little after it was originally written, but this means that it is, in some ways, a period piece. However, many of the attitudes and emotions still ring true, especially for older members of the audience. According to the programme notes, the first credit card was introduced in 1966 and thus Rafe’s revelations about the disastrous effects of debt on his childhood are tellingly contemporary. The cast extract all the humour and pathos of Naughton’s script and Russell Dixon and Julie Riley bring a lump to the throat in the final scenes as they learn to understand one another and the needs of their children. Dawn Allsopp’s design evokes the period skilfully. This is a modern classic well acted and most enjoyable.

The next production is Meet The Mukherjees, starting on 1 May.
UPDATE: Here's another review from Reviewsgate. When a review ends with the line 'The whole production is a joy from start to finish' you know you are onto a winner! Plus a lovely (4 star) review from The Guardian and a 5 star review in The Metro. No link for this one so here it is transcribed below:
Inspired by Lancastrian comedies such as Hobson's Choice, Bill Naughton's 1967 play is set in the Crompton's household in Bolton. Not the ideal setting for an evening of laughs, you might think, but thanks to committed direction by Noreen Kershaw, the piece has comic punch and tear-jerking moments in spades.
Dad (Rafe, played by a grizzly Russell Dixon) thinks he rules the roost with his good old fashioned values. His four offspring and wife, however, have one foot in the future and are keen to get going. Masters of disguise, they hide their modern ways well, but when Hilda refuses to eat herring for tea one night, the domestic revolution begins.
The conflicts and confessions that unfold take the family to the brink, creating a tangible atmosphere of anxiety, and it's only after Mother (Julie Riley) admits her own white lies to Dad that he goes from bellowing to mellowing. Realising that his unerring quest for the truth has been the very thing that has almost broken up the home, the tension is shattered in true Naughton style - by younger son Wilfred telling Harold to put the kettle on.
As well as fabulous ensemble acting, the set works marvellously, despite the difficulties of being in the round. Kitted out with astutely sourced props, this kitchen-sink drama even has running water. Indeed, the realism is so great that even the kippers are cooked onstage.

1 comment:

  1. Went to see this performance yesterday and it was fantastic! Full credit to all the cast for making it such a good show to watch!