Come and visit ‘Our Town’
Friday 13th October 2017 @ 09:46 by Nigel Skinner
Entertainment

Be quick to catch the American classic ‘Our Town’ by Pulitzer Prize-winning Thornton Wilder and directed by Sarah Frankcom performs at The Royal Exchange Theatre until Saturday.

Set in a small New Hampshire town, between 1901 and 1913, the play premiered on Broadway in 1938. It has an unusual and innovative beginning which breaks the fourth wall, as people sitting at tables inhabit the stage.

The audience, who are also part of the townsfolk, observe the conversations and we are introduced to the town by the Stage Manager/Narrator (Youssef Kerkour).

Kerkour’s strength of presence and compassion conducted the characters of Grover’s Corners in an orchestra of life, stopping and starting the momentum, making us feel that we are part of their lives and stories.

The town is universal and could be any town which makes the play very real, although the theatricality is surreal and encompasses ‘a play within a play’.

It explores the everyday themes of love, marriage, birth, death and human existence through the eyes of the town, conveying the story of teenagers Emily (Norah Lopez Holden) and George (Patrick Elue).

Both charismatic actors play their roles with passion and energy.

Graeme Hawley (Mr Webb) is compelling as George’s father who we remember as John Stape in Coronation Street.

The last act is very memorable as we are emerged into a heavenly dimension which is haunting, but beautiful in its staging by Designer Fly Davis and Lighting Designer Jack Knowles.

Choirs and community choruses complement the storytelling and further notable performances include: Carla Henry (Mrs Gibbs), Nicholas Khan (Dr Gibbs), Kelly Hotten (Mrs Webb), Chris Jack (Howie Newsome) and his invisible horse, Patricia Allison (Rebecca Gibbs), Eamonn Riley (Constable Warren), Tarek Merchant (Simon Stimson), Nadia Nadarajah (Mrs Soames), Michael Peace (Joe Stoddard), Luke Matthews (Sam Craig) and Wyllie Longmore (Professor Willard). Royal Exchange’s Young Company and Company of Elders complete the cast which makes the Royal Exchange Theatre so accessible in providing performance opportunities in our communities – in Our Town!

For tickets contact the Box Office 0161 833 9833 or online https://bookings.royalexchange.co.uk

Review by Denise Evans

 

PICTURE: Patrick Elue (George Gibbs) and Norah-Lopez-Holden (Emily Webb). Photo by Stephen King