Firstly let me make it very clear, I am eighteen years old. In all honesty I am not too familiar with the original series of Early Doors but I very quickly became a fan. I Caught on to “The Regiment” with the theme tune feeling very familiar to me by the end, it was spectacular to think I was sat in a theatre but at a pub very similar to the one’s I know in Bolton. Above the pub the flat of Ken and his mum.
The seat’s quickly filled with eager smiling faces chatting and waiting with excitement as though getting served on the front line of a busy bar. Suddenly the lights dimmed, I were no longer in a Theatre, I had arrived at The Grapes in Stockport. I was now outside a gritty, characteristic pub with a red traffic light beaming over the audience then flickering to green. I know this show was going to be non-stop from that instant.
From the very first second, the audience was roaring with laughter up until the very end. A quick witted sitcom, now moved from being in front rooms, with the tables turned as you are now able to sit in The Grapes, getting the gossip and banter with friends on stage.
The cast new and original, certainly knew the characters as they become the locals, with a comforting stage presence that lets you believe you are part of the show. Consistent comedy and various emotions of the ups and downs of regular life, with twists that make you feel like you are in on the unusual business, that usually goes on down at The Grapes.
The staging was simply perfect, it was an extraordinary use of lighting and acting that came together in harmony to move you from scene to scene on stage, whilst feeling like watching a television programme.
The public traveled from miles to watch their favorite show in the Theatre and seats soon sold out. There was huge excitement by the fans for tickets and the lucky few who got them will definitely have a great time and guaranteed to leave with a smile.
The plot line written by the ingenious comic minds of Craig Cash and Phil Mealey followed the lives of thirteen different people. With Friendship, Romance and Bromance mainly lined throughout the stage show, making it not just any old northern drama about a pub.
In the plot we bumped into landlord Ken (John Henshaw), his barmaid Tanya (Susan Cookson), Joe and Duffy (Craig Cash and Phil Mealey), Winnie (Joan Kempson), corrupt coppers Nige (Peter Wight) and Phil (James quinn), Kens Mum Jean (Judith Barker), His daughter Mel (Lisa Woodward) Old Tommy (Nick Birkinshaw), Debbie (Lisa Millett), Freddie (Neil Hurst) and June (Nicky Binns).
I was lucky enough to grab a quick interview with Neil hurst who played Freddie a new character to Early Doors but fit in much like old ones. Neil has always been a “Fan of early doors” and said it was amazing to go from watching it to appearing in it. Neil also said it is a “Joy to do” clearly the cast enjoy being in it and it does come across to the audience as you enjoy watching it.
Alongside Neil I managed to meet Vicky Binns playing June. When Vicky was younger she “Always watched Early doors with her dad” and “loved” it. I asked her about the transition from screen to stage and how she felt it changed the show. A “community” feel gives the stage show it’s difference as there is a “Big difference in the way of work” the cast are more familiar and understanding in the way they work on stage following the storyline and being apart of all the show.
The community vibe must have helped bring across the original charm of Early doors as the transition from screen to stage worked well, with the audience cheering, laughing, oooooing and awwwing, as they watch the progression of the well written play.
Final Score: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
In conclusion, I heartily recommend Early Doors giving them five stars. Whether you are familiar with it or not you can easily take the teens along as it is very relatable and you will all enjoy it, sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to hear the new bit of gossip or what has happened with Ken’s Proposal (That may be some). The show has a warmth that as mentioned, lets the viewer be apart of it and feel welcome, much like a northern Pub. (as long as it is not in Salford)
Early doors at The Lowry is SOLD OUT. The show is currently touring the UK for tour dates visit https://earlydoorslive.com
Review By Lorenzo Carcione on Behalf of #BoltonLive