Brassed Off ~ Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Brassed Off runs at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday 2 September 2017 – book tickets here: Brassed Off Tickets

Star rating: *****

Brassed Off marched into the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre this week and it’s setting the stage alight with uplifting live music City Of Wolverhampton Brass Band and stellar performances from a tight knit cast.

The production is based on the true story of the impending closure of the mines in Grimethorpe and the Grimethorpe Colliery Band which is at the heart of the tale. With characters whom many will be familiar with from the film version which starred Pete Posthlethwaite and Ewan McGregor – the stage version does not disappoint. In fact it more than does justice to the plight of the miners in my humble opinion and as a piece it also stands for solidarity, unity and integrity.  It’s far from a happy-go-lucky tale though as it doesn’t shy away from dealing with health, both physical and mental. Comedy drama and it’s very best under the careful and considered direction of Gareth Tudor Price.

Jeffrey Holland gives one of the performance of his career as Danny, the man at the helm of the band. I would have believed that he had been conducting for years and his wry comic timing adds an extra dimension to the character. I’ve watched Jeff in many, many different roles over the years, I find it easy to forget that it’s Jeff playing the part and always find his performances believable. Christopher Connel was a great match as his son, Phil, a man who is hiding the pain of poverty and has an endless stream of bailiffs at the door. Connel played the part with subtlety and only brought Phil’s flaws to the fore when the timing was right. Miriam Grace Edwards also put in an excellent performance as Phil’s wife, Sandra – she had chemistry with Connel and also with Ash Matthews who was a joy to watch as son, Shane. I particularly enjoyed the scenes between Holland and Matthews as granddad and grandson – a formidable team!

The sound from City Of Wolverhampton Brass Band is spectacular. Clara Darcy as Gloria is a revelation, she played the fugelhorn and I had goose bumps, what an incredible tone.

I can’t recommend the show enough, it truly is a journey that I suggest you take, go and follow the loveable band members and their posse around fourteen villages, in an attempt to win a marching band contest. Get swept up in the passion of the protestors who are against the closure of the mines. Laugh with the miners who have a ‘wet’ to forget the stresses of work and the band! One of the best shows I’ve seen at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.

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