THE last vestiges of taboo for the C word are blown away in A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer at HOME, Manchester.

This brave musical comedy – yes, comedy- grasps the nettle of prejudices and untruths to reveal a story of hope although it is not without its sadness.

Based on a book by Director Bryony Kimmings and Brian Lobel, it is a whistle stop whirl of song and dance.

Complicite and the National Theatre have joined forces in association with HOME to present this unusual show and this, the world premiere, takes place in Manchester.

Tom Parkinson has composed the lilting music.

It is obvious that the writer dislikes the word ‘war’ when it comes to Cancer. I agree. How often have you heard the cliché “After a brave fight’’? It is modern medicine which fights it, not patients.

Unfortunately, the medicine often includes unpleasant bouts of chemo and, despite its cheeriness, this musical leaves no stone unturned.

It visits the effect the disease has on people’s lives but the focus is on Emma who has a desperately ill baby. Amanda Hadingue screams and shrieks her way through her suffering.

The second half is especially moving. So moving, in fact some audience members are in tears when they are encouraged to interact at the end.

• A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer is at HOME, Manchester until Saturday, September 24. For tickets, telephone 0161 200 1500 or visit Star rating: * * *