REVIEW: Rachel Creeger Hinayni! @ The Garrick, Whitefield

It’s always a joy to see a comic in the process of honing a new show before a tour…

And this was no exception. Rachel Creeger will be a familiar name to some in the Jewish community, but, sadly, not to those outside of it.

When she brought her last show, “It’s no job for a nice Jewish girl” to the Greater Manchester fringe two years ago and won “Best Comedy”, I for one was not surprised to see the show go on to sell out it’s entire Edinburgh run.

This show is a little different. Still a work in progress, Rachel takes the audience on a tour of Hinayni! from primary school all the way to her medical problems and syndromes to the present day.

Approaching the show from a fan’s point of view, it was a real pleasure to welcome Rachel back to the Garrick, and it’s intimate space. From a critical view, Rachel was bang on form, letting the audience meander with her as she scribbled notes and made adjustments to the set as she went along.

Working without a microphone to an attentive audience who were happy to be entertained by a performer who appears very at home on the stage. Remember, this is the same artist who happily entertained over 4000 in Trafalgar square at Chanukah in 2018!

I wont spoil the show, but there are gags a plenty, and a special mention goes to her husband, who gets his own gag as a personal present…After all, its those sort of handmade gifts that make a marriage.

If you get chance to catch the show when it hits the Edinburgh fringe, do so. Tickets will undoubtedly be hard to come by, but I assure you, seeing Rachel Creeger live is worth the effort.

5*

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REVIEW: Two, Footlights theatre, Salford (GM Fringe)

Its GM Fringe time again, and this year, its bigger and better than ever. Andrew Riley went to a new venue for 2018, Footlights theatre in Media City to watch a revival of the Jim Cartwright play “Two”

On nights like tonight, I truly do love the job of reviewer.

This was my first visit to Footlights theatre, tucked away on a little Avenue, just off Salford Broadway, but it won’t be my last.

A bijou place, and entirely self-funded, I can’t wait to see what else this theatre has in store over the coming years. It may be small, but it has a very welcoming atmosphere.

Watching a pair of actors take an audience from simply watching, to becoming an active part of the work they are watching always leaves me speechless.

Tonight, I saw two actors who simply astounded me.

I digress…

I was here to review Yard Brush Theatre Company take on the Jim Cartwright play “Two”

This is probably one of the hardest things an actor can do, outside of a one handed play, is a two hander, relying on someone else to hit every mark and every line, without any backup.

Dave Jordan and Jacqui Padden take on 14 different characters over the course of the piece, which is set in a fictional northern pub.

Yes, you read that right. 14 characters, one pub, one night.

Needless to say, like every pub, they have their regulars, and each one as recognisable as the next. The beauty of Cartwright is his ability to pick apart the minutiae of the human condition and lay it bare.

Dave Jordan and Jacqui Padden in TWO

Dave Jordan and Jacqui Padden in TWO

From the errant wannabe Romeo to the Housewife whose only escape from her disabled husband is her trips to the butcher, followed by a Guinness, Cartwright, and in turn the actors, lay open a host of stories that the audience can find both believable and have sympathy with.

We begin with a busy night in the pub and your hosts are hard at it behind the bar, but there is a simmering tension underlying the careful banter between the pair, which culminates after the pub closes.

Before then, we see the local Lothario, his girlfriend and assorted other locals who anyone who has sat in a British pub long enough (or run one) will recognise.

Dave and Jacqui have mastered the art of the quick change, after all, you can’t cover 14 different people without a few tricks, and they must have worked so hard to make these changes look so flawless.

The play runs seamlessly from beginning to end, with a beautifully subtle soundtrack that helps weave the tales into each other. It’s a simple set of a bar, two tables and four chairs and the fourth wall is broken just enough to really bring the audience into the pub and its atmosphere.

Yard Brush have really made this play come alive in a way I didn’t expect.

My only criticism would be that its run of three nights is too short, but if you get the chance, make certain you do get to see it, because Dave and Jacqui deserve as wide an audience as possible, and Footlights deserves a thriving local audience to help keep it afloat.

 

5*/5 for both the play and the venue