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Which team do true Mancunians support – not United or City says a new play

2013 January 19

JB Shorts

Lowry Theatre, Salford


There is a myth, peddled by Manchester City supporters, that most footballing Mancunians support their team; Man Utd fans, they claim, fly up each week from London. A survey by estate agents Rightmove gave the lie to that this week revealing that 55.6 percent of Mancs follow United, while just 14.8 percent follow City. But James Quinn has a different view entirely. True Mancs, he insists, follow FC United, the breakaway club formed by disgruntled fans when the Glazer family bought Man Utd and saddled it with $600m dollars of debt.

Quinn’s play Red – at the festival of new theatre writing by top tv writers, JB Shorts @ Re:play at the Lowry in Salford – is a celebration of fan-based football. The writer plays an FC loyalist on the eve of a key FA cup match during which his businesswoman wife is preparing a bid for the catering contract in United’s posh Platinum Suite. It is a surprisingly even-handed contrast of the romantic and the corporate – pies versus prawns, Fosters v fizz, plucky part-timers v polished professionals – with some uproarious laughs and coruscating lines about the misfits, lefties, librarians and real ale hooligan socialists of FC. Connor Ryan does deft slow-mo miming to re-enact the on-pitch glory.

In Bombmaker by Lindsay Williams (East Enders) a Mossad agent is sent to Tehran to assassinate a scientist working on Iran’s nuclear bomb. A dialectic ensues in which the audience’s judgement oscillates over who is the true terrorist, patriot, family man and fanatic. Williams offers no easy answers but Amir Rahimzadeh’s anguished doubt as the scientist elicits more sympathy than Lucas Smith’s cool certainty as the assassin.

The bravura performance of the evening comes from Judy Holt as the ageing glamourpuss celeb in Maddie by Dave Simpson and Diane Whitley. Unexpected consequences arise when Maddie flirts with the boyfriend of her sulky teenager daughter, splendidly pouted by Emily Fleeshman who finally asserts herself with an unusual use of ten-speed nipple clamps.

In A Christmas Carol by Ian Kershaw (Shameless and Casualty) Jeni Howarth Williams has a feral exuberance as a desperate older woman with a young nightclub pick-up who turns out to have gone drinking straight from his mother’s funeral. Oliver Wilson as Waz has a touching moment of authenticity giving the eulogy the vicar ought to have delivered but didn’t.

Funny, thoughtful and moving JB Shorts are now a much-anticipated annual milestone in the Manchester theatrical calendar.

One Response
  1. January 24, 2013

    You either LUHG & therefore don’t go or you LULG, paying gimps 70-odd quid every other week. If you LUHG you will never be seen in OT especially wearing a G&Y scarf as you would then understand the problem but aren’t arxed to do anything about it & are therefore part of the problem.

    You can’t moan about PL ticket prices yet still buy them.

    You MUST be prepared to apply your Principles & morals to rid our club & others of these leveraged buyouts to businessmen with little or no money.

    You can’t moan about no atmosphere while sitting down, quietly waving to cameras, knitting, reading a book or on concourse drinking (what happened to Taylor Report?)

    STAND UP. SING. With yer mates. GET INVOLVED.

    Boycott if club don’t put you 1st in everything they do. You have the Power – use it.

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