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Northern Broadsides - An August Bank Holiday Lark

Jan McNulty

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Tonight I saw Northern Broadsides production of An August Bank Holiday Lark at the Liverpool Playhouse.  The play was commissioned to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the start of WW1.


It is set in a small Lancashire mill town in August 1914 as the town prepares for the annual Rushcart festival.  It centres on a Morris Men group.


The production is a comedy and tragedy in equal measures and is utterly magnificent.  The cast, led by AD Barrie Rutter, is incandescent.


Please go and see this wonderful production if you get the chance.



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I saw it tonight and am grateful to Janet McNulty for the recommendation.


It is set in the West Pennines just a few miles from my home, The backdrop evoked our haunting landscape of moors and reservoirs.  This was - and to some extent still is - an area of small semi-rural mill communities where the old country ways linger.


One of those traditions is the clog dance and the play charts the history of a group of clog dancers from the outbreak of the first world war, Two of the troupe  - both fine lads and one something of s poet - die in Gallipoli but their brother in law survives despite horrendous injury.


There is a poignant scene when that survivor returns to meet his wife who conceives a son the night before their wedding day. This reminds me of one of the scenes in Chris Marney's War Letters for Ballet Black.   


There is a lot of dancing in the play and the story unfolds like a ballet. Janet would have been quite justified in listing it in the "Performances" section of this website. Like Janet, I was deeply affected. It shows the horror and ultimate futility of war. 


I should say a word about the theatre. The Everyman must be one of the prettiest in England.  I was told by one of the organizers of Sound City where I have been spending the last few days that it has been refurbished. They have done a wonderful job.  Although I hate to admit it as a Mancunian, Liverpool has the best theatre outside London.


PS. If anyone is interested in English folk dance - Morris, rapper etc. - he or she should come to Holmfirth for our folk festival next week.

Edited by terpsichore
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