THE Garrick’s production of Brassed Off, by Paul Allen, set ten years after the miners’ strike, combines the skills of actors with performances by the renowned Wingates Brass Band.
This moving production is syncopated with humour underscored by tragedy.
The opening number by Wingates, who become the Grimley Colliery brass band, lifts you to a different world. It’s great when they march around the auditorium.
The men face keeping their pit open or receiving lucrative redundancy payments. They are staunchly Labour and hate Mrs Thatcher.
The band gives constancy in their lives. The chance of entering a championship competition at the Royal Albert Hall offers hope in uncertain times, yet throughout chummy rehearsals, they remain individuals struggling with their own problems.
Their conductor, Danny, is devoted to the band.
His son, Phil, his wife and family, face their own demons. Phil’s wife, Sandra (Di Boyer) thinks she knows what to do but Phil rates keeping his father happy above all.
Garrick stalwart, Martin Oldfield plays the key role of Danny movingly and sensitively. He must decide what is more important, music or family summed up in an unforgettable speech.
Mark Butt in one of his best performances conveys Phil’s dilemmas well.
Beth Dilworth’s Gloria, a flugel soloist, is not only a star instrumentalist but a star actor, too. Her fledgling lover, Andy (Harry Jackson) backs off when he discovers her job..
A must see if only for the poignant ending.
* Brassed Off is at Altrincham Garrick Playhouse until Saturday, April 29. For tickets, telephone 0161 928 1677 Star rating: * * * * *