Words: Izzy Toner
A beautiful coming of age story, A Manchester Anthem stands out at this year’s fringe for its raw, sensitive portrayal of a young man’s last night at home before moving away to Uni.
18 year old Tommy is the first in his family to be accepted to university, and not only that but at one of the most prestigious and historic institutions – Oxford University. The play follows his final evening in Manchester, as he narrates his final goodbyes to friends and family and is somewhat reluctantly taken on a night out by a group of posh school friends who are also attending Oxford. While the night takes a dark turn and creates difficult encounters for Tommy, ultimately the play is both entertaining and delivers a heartfelt conclusion.
The elements which stood out most was the energetic physicality of the performance, where different characters were wholly and distinctly bodied, rather than just given marginally different voices. The set was cleverly designed to present a modest yet multifaceted stage, and the accompanying music and lighting was thoughtfully worked and attentive to the storyline.
Good humoured, emotionally charged, and elegantly versed – the writing of Nick Dawkins and committed deliverance of Tom Claxton presented a wonderful story. It was well deserving of The Bobby Award presented at the end of the show, handed to a shocked and exhausted Tom before sharing the triumph with Dawkins and the director Charlie Norburn. An excellent and moving piece, and a definite highlight of the month!
A Manchester Anthem
Pleasance Courtyard, The Green