Little Theatre Company

Live theatre in the heart of Burton upon Trent

Brassed Off

by Paul Allen

Performed: June 2009

Brassed Off by Paul Allen

Review by Dave Stacey:-    


The emotionally charged story of miners faced with the closure of their pit in the 1990s, bringing with it poverty, broken homes and despair in their community, is told in Brassed Off by Paul Allen, based on the screenplay by Mark Herman.

The tale, seen through the eyes of the colliery band, about to disintegrate after more than a century of making music, is presented at Burton's Brewhouse arts centre this week by the Little Theatre Company, celebrating the company's 25 years.

A brass band - a very good one - directed by Tim Robinson, is inevitably the star turn of this outstanding and thoroughly enjoyable performance. There are also highly commendable portrayals by a fine cast of actors.

Phil Robinson is tremendous as the conductor for whom the band is his whole life. We see him as enthusiastic music man, reluctant hospital patient and finally, in a great speech, as spokesman for the mining community.

The love interest is supplied by Heather Gallagher and Luke Oliver - their romance threatened when they appear, wrongly, to be on opposite sides in the dispute about the pit closure. Both play their characters excellently.

Matt Bancroft, Craig Atkinson and Ken Brown as men whose lives are torn apart by the situation and Elaine Pritchard, Carol Brown and Vanessa Birch as the women who share their troubles all give first-rate performances in roles that demand both gloom and comedy, both fighting spirit and hopelessness.

This is a slice of real life, fiction based on cruel fact, a story which should not be forgotten, about the destruction of an industry not because the mines were exhausted, but to satisfy right-wing party dogma.

The production is superb, yet another triumph for director John Bowness.

There is some earthy language which may disturb some playgoers, but no more than justified to give realism to a traumatic period of recent history.

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