Reasons to be Cheerful

This event has now finished. Until Nov 13 2010

© Alison Baskerville

Time Out says  

Posted: Wed Nov 3 2010

Oi, oi! Paul Sirett's new musical, fashioned around the music of Ian Dury, is rough, ready and (when at its pugnacious, ebullient best), bloody brilliant. Dury, who contracted polio as a child, was a supporter of the theatre company Graeae, led by people with disabilities, and in this production by Jenny Sealey they present his material with truckloads of exuberantly defiant attitude. Sirett's plot sees East End teenager Vinnie, his mate Colin and his dream girl Janine try to take Vinnie's terminally ill dad - dying, as Dury did, from cancer - on one last jaunt to a 1979 Blockheads gig. Admittedly, it's sentimental and contrived. But who cares, when the onstage band, led by ferocious vocalist John Kelly, are so storming.

The signing and description for deaf and blind punters are woven into the action with skill and the subtitles that accompany evocative period photographs point up the dry wit and warm wisdom of Dury's lyrics. Watching these actors perform an explosive version of one of the show's most confrontational numbers - the caustic 'Spasticus Autisticus' - is violently thrilling. And the characters' uncompromising anti-Thatcherite politics are hugely invigorating in our own politically hamstrung times. Admittedly, there are moments when anarchy reigns and the show becomes meandering and shapeless. But if it's sometimes a mess, it's often a glorious one - and its untidiness is, after all, in keeping with its punk spirit. Dig out your Docs and go.

Theatre Royal Stratford East details

Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN

Theatre Royal Stratford East

A community theatre with many shows written, directed and performed by black or Asian artists, Theatre Royal is a great cultural hit in ethnically...

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