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Joy With Child (Manchester)

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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Venue: Taurus
Where: Manchester

Organised Chaos Productions are an ambitious new company who have been producing plays since February this year. The company, headed by Gayle Hare, Kirsty Fox and Mark Creamer, aim to find and nurture undiscovered and emerging talent in the North West.

Their latest production, Joy With Child, written by Kim Wiltshire, is performed in the basement of Taurus Bar. Dean Biddell makes his directorial debut with a cast of three; Celia Carron, Lee Joseph and Steven Moorhouse. The venue is an ideal location for the story of a widow who moves into her basement following the death of her husband. She is estranged from her children and possibly losing her mind as a stranger keeps appearing in her home.

This is an unnecessarily convoluted drama about a family with skeletons in their closet, whose unraveling plotlines are more problematic than intriguing. The characters are unlikable and their relationships unbelievable, including a woman who repeatedly allows a complete stranger to break into her home and a bullied son-in-law who chooses to visit his mother-in-law rather than work or spend time with his newborn child. The writing is not without merit, there are some nice sections of dialogue, but ultimately the story doesn't ring true.  

The set was an interesting jumble of boxes, photographs and other bric-a-brac, but the ‘in the round’ layout meant that many of the audience’s view was obstructed by over-bright lighting. This is an ambitious production which would benefit more from simplicity.

- Francesca Waite


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