Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Nottingham Lace Market Theatre

"Happy Jack" is a play about Jack and Liz Munroe which starts at the end of their lives and, through a variety of scenes, work back to when they first arranged their first date taking in their wedding, honeymoon and birth of their son among other highlights of their lives.

Jack was a miner and Liz was in "service" and set in the mining village of Upton in West Yorkshire, you can expect a down to earth play depicting "real" people, living a real, some would say normal life, or in other words "working class". They may look to the outside world as not being a couple in love, but for all the shouting, arguing and sniping you can still see a glimmer of the love they hold for each other, and that is a lovely thing to behold.

John Godber is rapidly becoming one of my favourite playwrights, having experienced "Bouncers", "Teechers", "Men Of The World" and now "Happy Jack" in the last couple of years thanks to the various drama and theatre companies in the area.

Godber has this lovely way of transcribing real life people and their foibles, eccentricities, language and normalness into amazingly enjoyable plays like those mentioned. One of our great observationalists.

With this in mind you will find Liz and Jack's characters easy to warm to because you will recognise them both in your own family members or people you know. There are some lovely emotional sections and a whole lot of comedy scenes and Nic Adams and Carole Parkinson encapsulate the characters beautifully. You won't have to spend time getting to know the characters because you already know them in your own circle of friends.

The direction, by Beverley Anthony, was inspiring, using more than just the given area of the stage, Beverley placed our couple within the audience and outside of the upstairs performance area.

Nice use of lighting to evoke emotion, especially at the close of the first part and to make you feel that you were in the cinema with them in the second half.

Nic and Carole drew all the joy and sorrow from Godber's script as well as the Yorkshire accent, which got stronger, especially in the case of Jack, the younger he became and further through the play we got. An excellent piece of casting.

This is one lovely and warm play which will make you laugh out loud and at times make you well up emotionally, another great trait of Godber's to be able to get the emotion of working class people to affect his audience.

It was practically a sell out tonight so get your tickets fast as "Happy Jack" is only on until Saturday 22 November 2014 at the Lace Market Theatre

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