Godber's play with soul is full of heart and fun
and live on Freeview channel 276
It was in 1973 that the Wigan Casino venue staged its first all-nighter spotlighting soul records, usually from the 60s and fairly obscure, which had been spotted in record shops, brought North and given a whole new lease of life as accompaniment to dancing as the perfect escape from the drudge of daily mill town life.
Young people flocked to the Casino and other similar venues, including Blackpool, to ‘live for the weekend’ and that 50th anniversary of the Wigan debut is celebrated over this coming weekend at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.
Just down the road, and with a perfect coincidence of timing, a new work by master playwright John Godber celebrates the Northern Soul phenomenon as it starts its tour at the Grand Theatre – and is full of heart and typical Godber fun as well as featuring Northern Soul classics galore.
Blackpool gets a good mention too.
Godber is the man behind such stage classics as Bouncers – back at The Grand next year – and Teechers, and in Do I Love You? he very cleverly takes the Northern Soul theme and features its appeal to a whole new generation in the present day.
The playwright’s daughter Martha Godber, Emilio Encinoso-Gil, and Chloe MacDonald feature as twenty-somethings Sal, Kyle and Nat, in a story full of fun, music, love and loss, provoking the thought that maybe life in 2023 isn’t that much different to 1973 at all.
All three cast members are in excellent form throughout, with the distinctive music integral to the storyline and often accompanied by some very skilled dancing from the trio, particularly Martha in a stirring climax.
John Godber’s script is typically sharp and witty, with many a laugh out loud moment as well as times of emotion, and his direction and Sally Molloy’s choreography bring out the very best in the concept, script and performers.
The show benefitted from being staged in the much smaller Grand Studio space, as the performers and audience revelled in the more intimate setting and it is highly recommended, whether you are a Northern Soul fan or not. You never know you, like Sal, Kyle and Nat, might be converted.
Do I Love You? continues at The Grand until Saturday.