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Arts

Back to the 1970s, with award-winning comedy at the Theatre Royal

The cast in rehearsal, courtesy of Chris Lewis (www.chrislewisphoto.co.uk)

For their next show, from 15th to 19th October, the Workington Playgoers will be taking audiences back to the Bad Old Days of the 1970s, with a play that won a Tony Award when it was performed on Broadway.

Comedians, by Trevor Griffiths, is still regarded as one of the best pieces of drama written in the late twentieth century. It was first performed in 1975, at a time when mainstream comedy largely consisted of racist and sexist jokes, as in the hit ITV programme ‘The Comedians’.

Set in a Manchester evening class run by aging ex-music hall comic Eddie Waters, the play follows the progress of six would-be comedians, desperate to make a name for themselves on the professional circuit. They are about to perform at a working men’s club in front of an agent who can offer them a way in to fame and fortune. But how low will the lads go in their search for success?

The cast in rehearsal, courtesy of Chris Lewis (www.chrislewisphoto.co.uk)

Director Stewart Grant says: ‘Our production of this astonishing play will be as true to the original performance as we can get. By staging it in this way we will be asking how much attitudes have really changed in the last 44 years.’ He warns that the play contains strong language, as well as language and attitudes which are now socially unacceptable but were current at the time.

But this is a play that will make you think about why you are laughing. Remember all those silent slapstick comedies? What about the downfall and pain of the man who slips up on the banana skin? Or the violence in a Tom and Jerry cartoon? Consider the humiliations suffered by Tony Hancock, Harold Steptoe, Inspector Clouseau, David Brent or (more recently) ‘Fleabag’. The truth is that we are often laughing at the real or imagined hurt or failure of another – and this play makes us realise that comedy is not just a laughing matter.

Featuring a strong cast of seasoned actors, this promises to be an entertaining and very thought-provoking show.

Tickets, priced at £11.50 (or £10.50 concessions), can be booked online at https://thelittleboxoffice.com/workingtonplaygoers/event/view/92844

Or you can leave a message for the Box Office on 01900 603161.

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