Review: The Big Corner @ Octagon Theatre, Bolton

It has come to be said that the Theatre is the place the world`s stories comes to life and The Octagon has never shyed away from telling those stories in an attempt to show the little worlds we all create around ourselves and somehow show us where we fit in the grander scheme of things.

Those are some of the thoughts i found myself thinking after seeing Lawrence Till’s glorious new adaptation of the short stories of the Irish-born, Bolton-bred writer Bill Naughton (1910-92)

Bill and Alf, two young Bolton lads hungry for adventure, discover the mystery and the delights of girls as they grow up together.

Every night they meet at the “Big Corner” at the end of the road to tell (and exaggerate) the stories of their days. One day they meet a girl and both fall in love. A kaleidoscope of Bolton life, The Big Corner is a story of hope, young friendship, love and heartache.

Bill Naughton wrote over a thousand short stories and memoirs of this time growing up in Bolton. For our 50th anniversary season former Artistic Director Lawrence Till writes a new play that weaves together Bill Naughton’s stories into a heartwarming and uplifting comedy.

Bill (Dan Parr) narrates a life story from the base of the “Big corner”, a Bolton gathering place. Details are kept local  – accounts of  miners, outings to Blackpool, weavers; the Plot details are universal for all – first job,first death, first love, first child etc shown through artfully put together set pieces and staging.

It all adds up to  bits of stories which are occasionally charming, some of which are engaging  and some of which we have seen in more complete form in Naughton’s plays,  Personally i quite liked the patchwork approach , which i understand are not to everyone’s taste but the approach was artfully brought to life by a very capable cast with superb direction.

If you get a chance to see this , then i suggest you snap up the chance and check out this slick production from the Octagon team.

The Big Corner is showing at The Octagon Theatre until the 5th May. For more information and to book tickets click HERE


Review by Wendy Ann

Additional Editing by Pete Hopkinson


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