THEY say the first casualty of war is truth. Closely followed by our humanity, if this play is anything to go by.
In Brecht’s piece, transported to a frightening, futuristic world, there’s a scene involving Mother Courage’s daughter Catrin, which moved me so profoundly I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
Not a word is spoken by RET newcomer Rose Ayling-Ellis. But some scenes in drama just don’t need dialogue, do they?
The role of Mother Courage is vividly and engagingly brought to life by Julie Hesmondhalgh, who gives a performance to remember as this most driven of entrepeneurs.
In this fresh and vibrant adaptation by Anna Jordan we question whether there’s moral justification in making money during wartime.
Hesmondhalgh’s character, which she plays using her own and very distinctive Lancashire brogue, knows how to make a quick buck. But rest assured, she pays a hefty price for her serial money grabbing.
However, this play, which still has relevance today in this war torn world, never invites us to sit in judgement on its leading lady, who supplies the troops with everything from bullet proof vests to burgers.
Mother Courage finds herself being made an offer to get even richer by the erotic dancer turned brothel manager Yvette, played to perfection by Heydd Dylan.
Director Amy Hodge and designer Joanna Scotcher creates a world in which I felt very uncomfortable and a world populated by displaced people whose vulnerabilities are exposed by the unscrupulous. Does that sound in any way familiar?
Whoever decided to set this play to music has made an inspired choice, with Nick Pynn providing an atmospheric backdrop to the events on stage.
Powerful stuff, with a dash of humour to lighten the gloom, this is a must see.
Until March 2. The box office is on 0161 833 9833. Star rating - **** Photo by Richard Davenport - The Other Richard.