By gum this is a splendid performance!

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Hobson’s Choice - Lowther Pavilion

Harold Brighouse is often considered as the pre-eminent representative of the Manchester School – Lancashire dramatists writing in early in the 20th Century and championed by Annie Horniman.

However Hobson’s Choice, set in 1880’s Salford, proves to be far more than just a chunk of homely northernness in this accomplished performance by the Fylde coast Players.

Jeff Redfern as boot seller Henry Hobson, Rosie Withers as his oldest and almost-on-the-shelf daughter Maggie and Andy Cooke as his skilled boot-hand Will Mossop, all inhabit their characters fully and in contrastingly comic ways. They carry the play with immaculate timing, raising frequent laughter from some very dry humour.

Yet the suddenly chilling scene where Hobson lashes a chair with his leather belt reminds us that, beyond the comedy, this is a play about a domineering father, his rigid beliefs and way of life and the efforts of his daughters to become individuals – an age-old theme of dramatists, here set in Victorian Lancashire

There are splendid cameos from Rosemary Roe, Glynn Morton and Ian Edmundson and an encouraging debut from Katy Lenney.

The writing may be almost a century old, but is often very funny – almost modern American in style with its caustic one-liners. Teresa Mallabone’s direction is unfussy and a receptive audience enjoyed a strong performance of a strong play. Fylde Coast Players on top form.

Continues until Saturday