Sunday, 1 February 2009

Absolutely Frank - Oldham Coliseum

Absolutely Frank by Tim Firth
Director: Noreen Kershaw
Reviewer: Helen Patrick

The song “upon the roof” echoed around the theatre, which was very appropriate considering the setting of the play. The story is about Frank the head of installation and Alan his new Trainee, they are installing the giant letters for the top of the company building “Forshaws”, Frank takes a lot of pride in his work and is keen to teach Alan all of his 25 years knowledge, whereas Alan is young and does not seem at all interested especially at the beginning. The first half flies by without a moment of boredom, the use of metaphors during this act are hilarious. At the end of the first half it made me wonder what on earth they could do for the rest of the show, well it was just as funny as the first half. It is set approx 7 years later and the two men’s roles are reversed for reasons I cant go into without giving the story away.

The set was exactly how you would imagine it to be, a roof top with an office behind it. Cleverly designed by Rodney Ford gave the show a set that was by no means simple, with a lot of attention to detail.

The second half of the show is based inside an office and again this was well thought out and believable in many ways. The lettering for the top of the buildings was brilliant, there were moments we all thought ‘its going to fall down’ but that just added more comedy to an already entertaining performance.

Geoffrey Hughes and Des O’Malley (Frank and Alan) were both fantastic, their comic timing was spot on, their facial expressions at crucial points and the ability to bounce off one another was pure talent. Considering they were the only actors in the show they kept the audience captivated and ready for more.

The Writer Tim Firth and Director Noreen Kershaw have between them created a show where the jokes came thick and fast and never did we feel like we had seen or heard enough, this is a clever and witty production that makes you want more!

The show lasted just over two hours which included an interval, how Hughes & O’Malley remembered all their lines was amazing, if they did forget any it didn’t show. These are two talented actors and produce a partnership that was like watching a double act that had been together for years.

If you only go and see one show this year get yourselves to Oldham Coliseum, we did a 100 mile round trip to see this and we can both honestly say it was well worth it. Roll on the next production!
Photos: Ian Tilton
Absolutely Frank runs at the Oldham Coliseum until the 21st Feb 2009
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