Halfway through Forced Entertainment’s current offering, Out Of Order, which is currently playing out to enthralled audiences at HOME Manchester, I started to wonder what the collective noun for clowns was. I was hoping it would be just that eclectic to be an eyebrow raising conversational starter. Like a murder of crows. I was secretly hoping it be something like a parliament of clowns and in doing so the allegory that Forced Entertainment wish to bestow upon those watching Out Of Order will have come full circle.
It’s an all time 1980s classic. It’s a story of three women who work for a sexist egotistical boss and deliver his comeuppance in spectacular style. The theme tune sung by Dolly Parton became a global smash and as it is the way with these things it eventually made its way into realms of the world of theatre by becoming a musical. This revival debuted in the West End earlier this year and is currently embarking on its national tour hitting the Palace Theatre all this week.
I’m not sure exactly when the word “dramedy” entered the popular consciousness of people’s lexicon but it seems that dramedies have been around for a lifetime. Mixing comedy and drama has become vogue and that is certainly the case for the heavyweight production from HOME and the National Theatre of Scotland, Red Dust Road. A play that centres on the memoirs by Scots Makar Jackie Kay, it tells the story of Kay’s journey from being an adoptive mixed race child to her search for her real parents, bringing into sharp focus issues such as race, sexuality and parenthood.
I personally blame Porridge. Their cute array of loveable rogues. Fletcher. Godber. Even the bad guy, Harry Grout, is played with a sentimental kitsch that has the audience guffawing in sentimentality. In fact there’s a whole host of dramas that give prison life a bit of sappy saccharine schmaltz. Think Shawshank Redemption. Green Mile. Heck, even Midnight Express is packed with maudlin idealism. So, when the Jumper Factory comes along, a play about what it really is like to be inside prison, it shatters our dewy-eyed illusions.
Where did the Summer go? It’s been a whirlwind few months that has encapsulated the joys of a typical British season. A cornucopia of malevolent weather, heroic sporting triumphs and a calendar chock-a-block with festivals that cater for every whim and fancy. So, here we are at the start of September and the onset of Autumn, when the nights start to get longer, the days become colder and it all feels less hazy than it once was. Therefore, its with keen feverishness that we welcome Hive City Legacy, currently playing at HOME Manchester, for one last chance to enjoy that feeling that only the Summer months can bring. That outlandish splash of colour, the base-thumping grooving beats and the lyrical machinations that let me have one last chance to be utterly indulgent.