Theatre review: “Brassed Off” at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, until 14th

Andrew Dunn as Phil and Rebecca Clay as Sandra. Photo: Anthony Robling
Andrew Dunn as Phil and Rebecca Clay as Sandra. Photo: Anthony Robling

Based as it is on one of my all-time favourite films, this was one play I was really looking forward to. And boy was I not disappointed!

The year is 1992. The miners are on strike, the colliery is about to close and Danny’s hopes of winning the national brass band competition at the Albert Hall seem like a distant dream. But the arrival of flugelhorn-playing Gloria brings romance, hope and controversy to a Yorkshire brass band on the brink.

This play has just about everything. Pathos, humour and emotion have you sad one minute, laughing the next and crying the next. Add to that the wonderful music of the brass band and it is a powerful mixture which understandably drew a standing ovation and rousing applause.

The play coincides with the 30th for me, bringing back memories of how my family supported my sister and her husband through that troubled time. It would be unfair to single out any of the cast because they were all so accomplished but it was a masterstroke to use the role of an eight-year-old boy (Shane) for much of the narrative. Luke Adamson took off quite a few years to play the part but did it brilliantly.

You may struggle to get a ticket for this production but there’s nothing lost in trying (just ring 01204-520661) and yet so much to be gained.

It amazes me how the Octagon maintains such a high standard, but after watching this play I am left wondering: Does it get any better than this?