I love Vinegar Vera (what becomes of the broken hearted?) is an ambitious and creative work from writer Nadia Drews and Director Jen Hayes from Cut to the Chase Productions.

Joe Whiteside (Nick Birkinshaw), an unemployed former trade unionist, meets the alcoholic, karaoke singing Vera (Laura Campbell) in a backstreet pub and romance ensues.

Birkinshaw is a sympathetic Joe, exhausted to the point of collapse but still hanging onto his ideals. While Laura Campbell is perfect as Vinegar Vera; with her high heels, short dress and smudged makeup - you are reminded of a Saturday night in town. The two of them, initially so different, make a convincing and sweet couple. Their story is
supported by a group of regulars who act as a chorus and the pub landlord (Chris Hannon).

Writer Nadia Drews’ song writing background is evident in the poetry of the piece. Every sentence contains a clever wordplay, and the dialogue often stands on its own.

However, despite the flow of the words the narrative of the play is stilted. And although Hannon performs the role of the MC and landlord with great animation, his character is distracting. There’s a strange juxtaposition between the gritty reality presented by Joe and Vera, and this cabaret performer who pops up in between scenes to narrate and interact with the audience.

From the outset there is strong sense that we should be learning something. We are being taught the callousness of the modern world but the most effective moments are the human interactions, which are free of such analysis.

- Joanna Ing

(Reviewed at Joshua Brooks, Manchester)