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PREVIEW: Re:play Festival | HOME

A second chance to see the most innovative and talked-about productions from MCR's fringe scene

Written by . Published on January 21st 2015.

PREVIEW: Re:play Festival | HOME

NEW arts organisation HOME, a merger between The Library Theatre Company and Cornerhouse, has just opened its annual Re:play Festival, running from Monday 12 - Saturday 24 January 2015.

The festival includes a work-in-progress rehearsed reading of Two Spirits, which traces the journey of three Sioux warriors whose journey to Salford to take part in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1887 has entered local legend. 

Next year’s festival will take place in HOME’s new £25m base at the rapidly developing £500m First Street project, but this year they’re using a basic office in Number One First Street to provide not only a theatre space but also a bar - essential to any successful festival. 

Re:play provides a welcome second chance to see the best, the most innovative, and the most talked-about productions from Manchester and Salford’s thriving fringe scene, with a few new productions thrown in.

New £25m HOME arts centreNew £25m HOME arts centre currently taking shape

Monday’s opening saw performances of four fifteen-minute short plays from previous editions of the always excellent JB Shorts and an international long-distance collaboration in War Stories, a World War One tale linking Manchester, Australia and Egypt.

War Stories was exceptional. Played by local actors, Emily Spowage as Australian nurse Elsie and Joel Parry as Mancunian soldier Bernard, it brought to life the collaborative words of writers Emma Gibson, from Canberra, and Rob Johnston, from England.

It was as quietly moving as anything else I’ve seen on World War One. Credit to director Benedict Power for bringing the work so quickly to such a fine performance standard.

Elsie and Bernard meet in a military hospital in Egypt to tell tales of home and loss, expectation and disappointment. The audience’s taut silence validates the work. The new film of Vera Britten’s autobiographical account of WW1 - Testament of Youth - is about to be released. I recall vividly the book and the excellent 80's TV adaptation. War Stories is essentially the same tale, the same emotions, viewed in miniature, but no less valuable.

The rest of the festival sounds promising.

The programme changes on Thursday. Local collective Ransack Theatre bring their previously sold out, award-winning production of Harold Pinter’s classic, The Dumb Waiter.

Also starting Thursday is Spur of the Moment, a drama by Anya Reiss about a twelve-year-old girl on the verge of womanhood growing up in a dysfunctional family who’ve rented out the spare room to an attractive 20 year-old lodger. Presented by Deaf Dog Productions, it’s described as ‘a savage comedy exploring the most provocative taboo of our age’.

An Evening of Filth and DespairAn Evening of Filth and Despair

Colder Than Here, a tragicomedy, is presented by What A Little Bird Told Me Theatre, a company dedicated to bringing more female representation to fringe theatre audiences.

Tuesday at Tesco’s, sounds intriguing. The central character, Pauline, used to be Paul, and as far as her father is concerned she still is, though he’s willing to accept her help via a Tuesday supermarket visit. This show, presented by Tangled Web, starts its run, appropriately, on Tuesday.

An Evening of Filth and Despair is a one-woman comedy show by Jenny May Morgan in which erotica author Pamela DeMenthe invites an audience to hear her story and presents her latest ‘masterpiece’ Sticky Digits. Sounds like it needs an adult audience.

However, you can take the family to The Tongue Twister, a show about a land where rhyming is banned. Recommended for anyone aged seven upwards, and presented by Red Lolly

Local comedy favourite and now seasoned actor, Justin Moorhouse, will host the Re:play 'Breakthrough Comedian of the Year', featuring five emerging fringe comedians. The festival also includes a work-in-progress rehearsed reading of Two Spirits, last year’s Pitch Party winner, which traces the journey of three Sioux warriors whose journey to Salford to take part in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1887 has entered local legend.

Writer Chris Hoyle will follow the reading with the screening of a short documentary he made about his trip to South Dakota to research the play.

Re:play Festival runs from Monday 12 to Saturday 24 Jan.

Box office 0161 200 1500

All the productions will be presented on the Second Floor, Number One First Street, Manchester M15 4FN.

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