Stage review: Brassed Off, Carriageworks, Leeds

The new stage production of Brassed Off.
The new stage production of Brassed Off.
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Basing a stage play on such a hugely popular and much-loved film as Brassed Off is a brave move. But it is one that writer Paul Allen manages to carry off.

Brassed Off tells the story of a mine destined for closure and the lives of the miners, their wives and the wider community who will be affected if that happens.

The colliery band is central to the life of the miners and, apart from the pit, is one of the things that binds them all together; members of the Bradford Brass Band and BD1 play throughout the performance.

This stage production has all the drama of the film, the tensions between man and wife and friends and colleagues who want different things, and recreates some of the classic scenes and snatches of dialogue from the film.

It has humour and pathos but does not descend into maudlin sentimentality – it tells it like it is.

Band leader Danny is played with aplomb by Reece Andrews and Leanne O’Rourke is a credible Gloria, the surveyor who is brought in to deliver the review that will determine the pit’s fate. Thirteen-year-old Alfie Coles as young Shane gives a good solid performance.

An inspired touch is the music that intersperses the dialogue, from Chumbawumba’s The Diggers’ Song to Kate Rusby’s My Young Man. Some of the choices are bit contrived at times – but good to hear nonetheless.

At Brighouse Civic Hall, September 9 and 10.

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