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REVIEW: Filth And Despair & Tuesdays At Tesco | HOME

Joan Davies on two cracking plays for £20 at the Re:play Festival

Written by . Published on January 23rd 2015.

REVIEW: Filth And Despair & Tuesdays At Tesco | HOME

THE ANNUAL Re:play Festival (12-24 Jan), formerly run by The Library Theatre and now under HOME management, has created a cosy and effective temporary venue on the second floor of No.1 First Street, a modern office building between Oxford Road and Deansgate stations.

This piece was originally French, Le Mardi a Monoprix by Emmanuel Darley. It’s been translated by Matthew Hurt and Sarah Vermande, and feels very English, very northern English

The bar, furnished with a jumble of mismatched seating and a ping-pong table, has the addition of cheap prices and free acoustic entertainment in between shows. Using their offer £20 gets you tickets for two shows in one night, two glasses of acceptable wine and a bag of crisps. A bargain, provided the plays are good.

And they are.

Thursday’s offering gave us An Evening of Filth and Despair and Tuesdays at Tesco’s.

In Filth and Despair, erotic ‘writer’ Pamela DeMenthe (think Mills and Boon with a much raunchier approach to sex) is delivering the secrets of her ‘success’ with a reading from her most recent novel, Sticky Fingers, as the climax.

Written and performed by Jenny May Morgan, Filth and Despair is an entertaining hour with plenty of laughs and surprises. The first section, the presentation, works well as we’ve all attended presentations where neither style nor content could triumph and where a presenter behaved as if sharing great and life-changing secrets.

Filth and DespairFilth and Despair

The comedy targets the production of novels as a product design exercise, and delusional self-promotion dressed up as impeccable advice.

The second section is a highly active reading of the ludicrous novel, peppered with sponsorship-inviting references to Tesco’s Finest range, ultimately delivered to Mandy by Rodrigo, with anticipated and unanticipated consequences.

First seen at The Kings Arms, Filth and Despair deserves its place at the festival. Director Lindsay Chapman has brought a keen eye to the work which could equally be as well delivered in two sketches. Perhaps a little pruning in the second part would hone the piece to even greater satisfaction.

Tesco has a larger role in Tuesday at Tesco’s. Since Pauline’s mother died she takes her father there every Tuesday; it’s part of her day of duty supporting her father as a dutiful daughter; shopping, cleaning, cooking and ironing, and attempting meaningful conversation. The problem is that as a child Pauline was Paul, and it appears that father Andy can neither accept nor understand the change.

Scott Kentell’s superb solo performance is vital to the success of this piece. There’s a slow pace as the story unfolds. It’s highly personal, descriptive of actions and representative of speech, with Andy’s broader accent and deeper voice an accurate depiction and a contrast to the more gentle vowels and tone of Pauline. We’re rarely told how Pauline feels, but we often know.

Pauline describes her day, on a Tuesday, in minute detail. The trip to Tesco is a challenge. Pauline can see people watching her throughout, watching her surreptitiously, watching her openly. This is the area of her childhood and there are neighbours, former neighbours, old school ‘friends’ and her father’s acquaintances at every turn. The anonymity available in a big city is unavailable on a Tuesday in Tesco, where she’s helping her father.

Number One First StreetNumber One First Street

This piece was originally French, Le Mardi a Monoprix by Emmanuel Darley. It’s been translated by Matthew Hurt and Sarah Vermande, and feels very English, very northern English, very working-class northern English in its phrasing, its repetition of well-worn sayings; for pity’s sake, well that’s that...

This play presents a view of the life, the successes, and the tribulations of Pauline, formerly Paul, who always knew she should be Pauline, and presents the view to a wider audience, and audience beyond the everyday life of the Pauls and Paulines of the world.

Helping an ageing parent with the basics of everyday living, helping them cope with life after bereavement, is a common experience, and can be a challenge, even in the most routine of circumstance. The commonality, the friction between the generations, the regrets, the missed opportunities for communication, surrounded by the love and the genuine sense of family provides a setting which works to begin to convey what it really means to be Pauline.

This production by Tangled Web, directed by Sue Womersley, deserves a wider viewing. Unfortunately it’s now finished its run at RE:PLAY. Here's hoping it resurfaces elsewhere,.

Re:play, including An Evening of Filth and Despair, runs at No.1 First Street until Saturday 24 January.


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AnonymousFebruary 12th 2015.

Believe me MONOPRIX more ASDA than Tesco....

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