This is an uplifting, sad, delightful, demoralising but most of all splendid play that anyone in Blackpool who wants a good night out would be well advised to go and see.
Maybe I’m biased because I loved the film, but I don’t think so. Just because Brassed Off, released at the cinemas in 1992, was a great movie doesn’t necessarily mean the stage play will be much cop.
The fact it is, is down to Paul Allen (the former journalist who wrote the fast-moving and very funny script, based on Mark Herman’s film version) and the dynamic direction of Damian Cruden, who manages the feat of getting a whole brass band on stage at various moments without losing any of the pace or pathos of the story.
That story is centred on the Grimley Colliery Brass Band, set against a background of pit closures under the Tory government and the effect it has on a variety of characters and families in the area.
The cast is fantastic, led by former Brookside and Bill star John McArdle as band-leader Danny. Gilly Tompkins is particularly good as Vera, Clara Darcy superb as Gloria Mullins (and proving a pretty decent flugelhorn player too), and Andrew Dunn outstanding as the slowly disintegrating Phil.
The Haydock Brass Band deserve great credit too, playing live on stage, which is absolutely key to the play’s success.
By the end there is barely a dry eye in the house, through a combination of laughter and sadness.
A terrific play that I can’t recommend highly enough, though a word of warning – don’t take young kids, the language is occasionally a touch industrial.