THE poor souls who inhabit the Bayou Mansions live a world away from the lap of luxury.
It’s a hellish existence in a sprawling tenement block that’s proved a dumping ground for the dispossessed and, in some cases, the sexually perverted.
So you really feel for Agnes Eaves and her daughter Evie when they find themselves trapped in this high rise hell hole.
It’s been a major moan of mine for many years about theatre being too safe, too obsessed with getting bums on seats, at the expense of taking risks. Then I came across 1927, who are currently staging The Animals and Children Took to the Streets at HOME in Manchester.
In this ingenious piece, the company combines three remarkable and very gifted actresses with music and animation and film to create a piece that’s quite ingenious and is sure to live long in the memory of those who are brave enough to see it.
The trio play a variety roles in an unashamedly unorthodox production, from Agnes, for me the heroine of the piece, to the world weary caretaker who dreams of escaping the thankless job he justifiably hates.
It’s impossible not to escape the play’s political undertones – just look at the way Agnes is treated when she seeks help from an over stretched health service crippled by cut backs. Then we have the decision by the powers that be to quell anti-social behaviour by pumping the yobs who terrorise their neighbours with sugar coated sedatives, rather than addressing the litany of social problems plaguing the Bayou Mansions.
This sinister programme also includes children who haven’t done anything wrong.
Suzanne Andrade, whose also director, writes an intelligent and witty script.
The cast, Felicity Sparks, Genevieve Dunne and Rowena Lennon all give performances that are studies in versatility in a production that’s far too good to miss. For me, live theatre is at its best when it makes you think and in terms of achieving that aim, it doesn’t get any better than this.
There are also plenty of laughs along the way. Highly recommended.
Until February 16. The box office is on 0161 200 1500. Star rating - ****