WHILE Hindle Wakes is old-fashioned, taking us back to an "e by gum" north of England where people from the south were seen as being from another country,it was ground breaking when first produced.
I don't want to give anything away so let's just say Fanny Hawthorn is a feisty Lancashire lass more than capable of giving as good as she gets when interrogated by her parents. She's also a young woman determined to make her own way in the world.
Yes, while the pace of the play is sedate to the point of being forensic, I did leave Altrincham Garrick with a fresh perspective on a piece I mistakenly dismissed as a theatrical dinosaur.
The premise behind Stanley Houghton's well=crafted and witty work wouldn't even raise an eyebrow today, as you'd expect from a 100 year old piece. Fanny and mill owner's son Alan, a young chap only interested in a good time, sets tongues wagging in his close-knit home town when he and Fanny enjoy a weekend away.
Both are unmarried and they indulge in some - wait for it - kissing. Suddenly Alan's life takes a far more complicated turn and the laughs come thick and fast as he tries to manipulate the situation to suit his own selfish ends.
Hindle Wakes is co-directed by Val Watkinson and Carole Carr and judging by the fine job they've done here, only a fool would bet against them working together again.
Rehearsals must have been an unadulterated pleasure with the likes of Aidan Kielty and Janet Slade to work with. They play Fanny's flustered parents and the height difference between the two actors - Aidan is huge - was also a cause for some hilarity. Megan Johnstone and Adam Gonet are very watchable as Fanny and Alan and the final scene between the two of them is perfectly played.
But the performance of the evening comes from Charlie Tomlinson as Alan's father Nathaniel Jeffcote, the self-made mill boss who never tires of reminding us he's pulled himself up by his boot straps. This is the complete performance, Charlie is equally adept when it comes to being both the dictatorial patriarch or conveying the lighter elements of the script.
Hindle Wakes may be a gentle night's theatre but in a world where life is lived at 100 miles an hour, I found that rather comforting.
* Until Saturday, February 6. The box office is on 0161 928 1677. Star rating - ***