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Our Day Out (Oldham Coliseum)

Willy Russell's hilarious and heartwarming comedy about teenage life is brought to life in Oldham Coliseum's new production.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful, funny and fabulous are just a few of words used to describe Oldham Coliseum's new production of Our Day Out: The Musical.

Adam Barlow

The comments book was overflowing with praise from the audience as the Coliseum opens its autumn/winter season with Willy Russell's funny and touching play about the highs and lows of teenage life.

Originally written in 1976 as a TV drama, Our Day Out tells the story of the ‘Progress Class', a group of deprived children who are taken on a one-off school trip by their teacher Mrs Kay. Like many of Russell's works, the play highlights the harsh reality of impoverished inner city life in an honest, heart-warming and hilarious performance directed by Oldham Coliseum's Artistic Director, Kevin Shaw.

Set in Oldham, the show features a cast of nearly 40 actors, with nine professionals performing alongside 27 talented youngsters. The excellent performances by Adam Barlow (Mr McDevit), Kieran Cunningham (Les/Ronny/Zoo Keeper) and Claire Storey (Mrs Kay) are particularly special when the cast join in with the band, playing instruments alongside their acting and singing roles, in an ambitious actor/music ensemble piece for which The Coliseum is renowned.

The real stars of the show, however are the talented young cast from Oldham Theatre Workshop. The gifted individuals, who make up Mrs Kay's unruly class, had the auditorium transfixed with their energy, enthusiasm and outright talent, right from the opening number to the closing scene. Emily Fitton who plays Amy Chandler is particularly excellent, performing her musical solos with poise, professionalism and an established vocal that is beyond her 16 years.

Viewed alongside Russell's other creations, Our Day Out: The Musical may not boast the popularity or familiarity of Blood Brothers, Shirley Valentine or Educating Rita but it certainly beats them when it comes to energy, enthusiasm and charisma.

Our Day Out: The Musical is at Oldham Coliseum until Saturday 27 September.

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