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Exit Salford (24:7 Festival)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The Printworks, Manchester

Ed Jones uses the best tricks of the trade in his new play Exit Salford, part of the 24:7 Festival of new writing.

Jones makes sure there is a dramatic opening and an ending which links.He also persuades us that the conclusion will be a bad one when it turns out to be quite good.

I like the way he uses the lead character, Luke (Alan French), a TV script writer, as a narrator taking the audience into his confidence and telling them about his relationships.

Using equity from his old house Luke purchases a property in Salford for £30,000 and unwittingly buys £30,000 worth of trouble by moving into a rough area.

His girlfriend (Rebecca Ellis) moves away and he is constantly troubled by yobs banging on his door. Fundamentally a kind man, he befriends them and becomes aware of their vulnerability even though they shatter his car windscreen and let his tyres down.

French is a good choice for the lead. With excellent stage presence, he holds our attention unceasingly; in a neat piece of staging, he and his ex chat via a make-shift phone consisting of ear pieces connected by a wire.

The other cast members have accurate Salford accents and add humour to a fine addition to this year's festival.

- Julia Taylor


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