The production at the Wolverhampton Grand of Brassed Off was top spot of the trends on Twitter last night, following the opening Press Night performance!
The praise from the Tweets spoke volumes about the reaction of the audience of which I was lucky enough to be part of.
Having seen the film version only once, twenty years ago, I could only vaguely remember the bittersweet tale but knew I had enjoyed it. Also, I expected Jeffrey Holland to be great in the role as Danny (the role played by Pete Postlethwaite in the film) as I have seen him on the stage a few times (and fondly remember his role of Spike in Hi-de-Hi).
This production of Brassed Off and Jeffrey Holland’s exceptional performance actually exceeded my expectations though. I have never seen a show that has taken me on such an emotional rollercoaster ride! This is credit to such strong writing, characters and performances of all actors as well as a simple but extremely powerful storyline.
Set in northern England in ‘94, the outline of the story is a fight to save both the jobs of the miners and their brass band, and the simple, purposely gloomy set demonstrates these grim times. There are subplots of how the situation affects various characters including the miners and their families.
As well as Danny there are many notable character performances, but credit should be given to Clara Darcy who not only gave a humorous yet powerful portrayal as Gloria, also moved the audience with a beautiful flugelhorn solo.
(Thanks to Graeme Braidwood for the production shots.)
Harry (Tim Jones), Jim (Greg Yates), Vera (Susie Wilcox) and Rita (Donna Heaslip) bought a few hilarious moments; Phil (Christopher Connel) made me blink away the tears in a particularly moving seen as a tragic clown, and a special mention should be given to Ash Matthews who played Shane, an 8 year old with a wise head on young shoulders, who had the power to literally make me laugh and cry!
Of course, Brassed Off wouldn’t be the same without a brass band and the City of Wolverhampton Brass Band, along with the actors performing with them, brought the show to life and enhanced the atmosphere with their beautiful music.
The end applause and cheers spoke volumes with how the rest of the audience appreciated the show. If you are a fan of extremely powerful drama that will move you, you have to see Brassed Off!