Sunday, 8 July 2018
They Can't Take That Away From Me - The Edge, Chorlton.
This show was something a little bit special, and can't be reviewed in the usual way. A 35-minute 'homage' to our NHS it may well have been, but that was only the subject matter... the words... of the event. What really matters here is the WHO and the WHY, not the what.
The Edge in Chorlton have built up a huge and deserved reputation for working with people who are, for the want of a better phrase, on the 'edge' of society. Learning difficulties, mentally or physically challenged in some way, or as was the case in this production, homeless.
Working in partnership with The Booth Centre, and with an aim of producing two quality theatrical works each year, this was the first I have had the privilege of watching.
Part Musical, part historical, part anecdotal, the 35 minutes flew by as a large cast, including three excellent singers, took us on a journey past, present and future, of our glorious NHS. Written and directed by Janine Waters, with music and musical direction by Simon Waters this was pitched at just the right level, length, and it was obvious that the entire cast were gaining so much from this experience. It didn't matter that one of the characters forgot his lines half-way through; it was superb to see a fellow actor come to his rescue so easily and beautifully; but even that wouldn't have mattered if he hadn't have done. The joy and the sense of achievement was so utterly obvious to read on all of their faces.
I loved the concept, I loved the music, I even loved the corny jokes!, and myself, along with a large and unflustered-by-the-humidity-of-the-theatre audience, stood and applauded long and loudly at the end.
This show was giving these citizens a meaning and a reason to stay alive perhaps sounds a little melodramatic and exaggerated; but after speaking with some of them after the show, that really was the case. I can only continue my own silent applause now as I type - not just to those who performed the show, but to all those who had the vision and dedication to see this project through and make it work so wonderfully.
For more of what both The Edge and The Booth Centre have to offer, please visit their respective websites. [www.edgetheatre.co.uk and www.boothcentre.org.uk]
Reviewer - Matthew Dougall
on - 6/7/18