PAWN is certainly value for money.

In the space of an hour you experience the whole gammut of human emotions. A laugh out loud comedy that also has something to say about the way society casts aside psychologically scarred ex-servicemen.

That’s quite an achievement for a play that is only 60 minutes long, and Trafford based writer Brian Marchbank should feel exxtremely proud of his engrossing creation.

All the action takes place in a Manchester pawn shop, held up by Bernie and Simon, a latter day Bonnie and Clyde. Bernie, who comes from a feared gangland dynasty, is far better at this robbery lark than her accomplice, a posh private schoolboy turned bad. She seems so hard she could be armour plated, but it soon transpires that she’s met her match in the alcoholic former soldier Sam.

Pawn is being performed as part of the 24:7 Theatre Festival and reinforces the importance of this new writing showcase. Brian Marchbank writes punchy, edgy and funny dialogue and the cast more than return the compliment with strong and believable performances.

Annmarie Bayley is a scream as Emma, nickname Mouse, Matthew Stead is totally captivating as Sam and Chistine Clare is unnervingly intimidating as Bernie. Outstanding, in your face and irresistible. Contains strong language.

* At New Century House in Manchester until August 1. Star rating - **** Anyone interested in booking tickets should call