I have been looking forward to this play for weeks now. I get excited about all performances I have the pleasure of reviewing, but this one has an edge over the others for the simple reason that it is about a City close to home. Bradford.
We start the show in the company of Anton D, the head of 'Create International'. He shows us what he and his company plan on doing to the now closed down Drummonds Mill. They propose to turn it into modern flats, and surround it with restaurants, tennis courts and even a craft centre. His presentation however, is cut short when the lights go out mid speech. As he disappears to fix it, the caretaker enters the room. His name is Frank and he started work at the Mill when he was just 14. Now 65, he takes us on a journey through time to show us the highs and lows of this once great textile mill.
For the next hour and a half we literally walk around the mill with Frank as he introduces us to just some of the people whose life was changed when working there.
I cannot begin to describe how well this is written, acted out and generally put together.
The sights, smells and sounds of each room, together with the intimacy of the cast, in this huge and eerie abandoned Mill is a perfect combination.
Roma Patel had the set design down to a tee. It was brought together more so thanks to the help of some excellent and original use of sounds (brought to us by Janek Schaefer) and lighting that fit the mood and era superbly (of which Leeds based Lumen provided) Every time I entered a room I felt I had a strong connection with Frank, Asif, Petro, Henrietta and of course the wonderful Maria.
This main cast portrayed their character exquisitely. Each line hit with precision. Their fears and anxieties came across so well that I had constant Goosebumps. The acting was so good in fact, that towards the end of the performance I had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. Even Jennifer Lee's voice over the tannoy gripped me and had me hanging on to every single deep and soulful word she spoke.
It wasn't all sadness though. The writer and director, Omar Elerian, also managed to mix in a good dose of humour too. Emil Lager deserves some recognition as the slightly eccentric and over the top Anton. His comedic timing and interaction with the audience was spot on.
I really don't have one negative word to say about this play. Every single person involved, be it a member of the community cast or Luke Davison (Design Assistant) put their heart and soul into making this site specific production a one of a kind piece. And one that I would never tire of watching.
Presented by Freedom Studios, from March 26th - 16th April.
An absolute must go see.
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