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65 Miles (Hull)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Bleak industrial scaffolding on a raised stage sets the opening scene as a brooding, strutting Pete (Craige Els) fills the theatre with expectation and a measure of fear. Glaring silently at his younger brother, Rich (Alan Morrissey), the tension is razor sharp, only broken by the rawness of pure aggression as the two brothers verbally tear into each other.

This is moody stuff, enhanced by softly played, but very menacing, background music, a grey backdrop and the sound of falling rain.

Both are troubled men; Pete is returning to the family home in Sheffield after "nine years, six months and eleven days" in prison for killing a man. Nick is up to his neck with girlfriend issues.

In the middle, and holding all the trump cards, is step-dad Frank (Ian Bleasdale). Frank knows the whereabouts of Pete's daughter, whom Pete has never seen or even knows the name of. Frank has been on the receiving end of Pete's anger before and is now desperately attempting to keep his secret, and physical wellbeing, safe.

Finally Pete discovers his daughter is living sixty five miles away in Hull. The stand-out scene is when Pete meets Tony (also played by Ian Bleasdale), his daughter's "new" dad. Tony feels guilty "pruning roses" whilst Pete is like a coiled spring wanting to know all about his daughter, but does she want to know him? Do the two completely opposite "dads" have anything in common?

As working class as a pair of dirty overalls hanging from a rusty nail on the outside lavvy door. Shades of Shameless but in steel toe-capped boots and without the laughs.

Compelling, thought provoking and hard hitting theatre, with Craige Els and Ian Bleasdale outstanding throughout.


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