There are some things that only the medium of theatre can do justice to. The co-production of Winter Solstice from the Actors Touring Company and Orange Tree Theatre is one of those things. Currently playing out to enthralled audiences at Home Manchester, it is a beguiling, betwixting and brainstorming evening of dysfunctionality that the medium of television or film could not bring to life as much as you could by placing it on the stage. For it is that ethereal connection that you only get by being in the presence of something extraordinary!
Some things are just meant to be special! Take The Almighty Sometimes for example. It’s an award winning play from an award winning playwright in Kendall Feaver. It boasts a stellar cast that includes Julie Hesmondhalgh and Norah Lopez Holden. It’s produced by those folk at the Royal Exchange, who just cannot seem to put a foot wrong these days. So it’s no surprise then to find that The Almighty Sometimes was a stunning success.
It was inevitable that race would be put under the microscope in Eclipse Theatre Company and Royal Exchange Theatre co-production of Black Men Walking, which started its national tour at the Royal Exchange this week. Written by Testament, it’s a story of Thomas, Matthew and Richard, three black men, who walk the first Saturday of every month. They walk and they talk and inevitably the subject of their skin colour dominates their conversations. Yet, it is more than that, it’s a story of shining a light on Britain’s forgotten black history.
“The only thing we will ask of you at our concerts is that you listen. Really listen. And in return, we will create something extraordinary.”
I’ve never really understood why January has been consigned to the history bin of inconsequence. It really is very, very bleak. The excesses of December have given way to the banality of the new year. There are no more bright sparkling lights anywhere. The streets are empty and the folks are all at home, skint and living on the fag ends of what’s leftover from the food and booze of Christmas. Everyone is content to get their heads down and see the month through in some sort of short enforced hibernation. Yet, if you can be bothered to put your head above those snuggly warm covers, you will see that not everyone has given up on January.