THE TOBACCO FACTORY - BRISTOL
The Price Of Meat
"Show of Strength's autumn season continues with Michele Celeste's viciously funny play about eight women living in a close-knit Yorkshire community in the aftermath of the miners' strike.
A thriller, a tragic farce and a heart-rending tale all rolled into one"
WESTERN DAILY PRESS, November 4, 1999
Glorious non-PC mayhem at coal face
Tobacco Factory, Bristol: The Price Of Meat
THIS is a play about what became of the brave Yorkshire miners' wives who supported their men at the strike.
Ah, you think, a right-on feminist tract about sisterhood and empowerment. But everything about this wonderful riot of a play confounds your expectations.
The author is a man, and an Italian to boot, and there is no sisterhood among these women, who have been living in poverty ever since the strike.
They unite only to relish, like vultures, the disintegration of the Jackson family.
The play reminds you of Joe Orton crossed with Dario Fo; a dotty black comedy that is a million miles away from Coronation Street. The cast, headed by Flip Webster as the mother, AmandaHorlock and Sophie Troll as the daughters, plus five other women playing several roles each, rejoice in wicked thumbnail sketches and director Jayne Chard controls the mayhem very skilfully to create an evening of glorious political incorrectness. Helen Reid
VENUE - 29 October 1999
The Price Of Meat
The Tobacco Factory, Bristol
There's no doubt about it - Show of Strength are on top form this season. Their production of Michele Celeste's brilliantly articulate play about eight women struggling to survive in a fictional Yorkshire town where nobody's worked since the pit closed down is vibrant, terrifying and wildly funny. Revolving around the Jackson family (or what's left of it), the plot's got more twists and turns than a Cornish B-road. There's murder. There's blackmail. There's a pair of incompetent policewomen (Louise Dawson and Miriam Cooper) And there's a gran obsessed with Marks & Spencer (Wendy Brierley) The pace never falters and the acting is consistently strong. Flip Webster gives a sustained and convincing performance as the reluctantly homicidal Joy while Amanda Horlock and Sophie Trott are absolutely spot-on as her stroppy but resourceful daughters.
As the body count rises and the situation gets grimmer, there's a definite touch of Orton in the air. But that's not just because there are gags about corpses. The writing is fiercely elegant and the humour deliciously wicked. Set against a backdrop of poverty and desperation, this is a gripping mix of comedy, suspense and the macabre. Theatre with a real edge. Don't miss it. (Tom Phillips)