The latest from Jim Cartwright, whose past hits include Road and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, is the story of a successful novelist who returns to his Lancastrian roots for a prize-giving at his old school. Gregory Hersov's inventive production and Cartwright's genius for social surrealism compensate for the author's tendency towards over-indulgence.
Who's In It?
The lead role is played by Cartwright himself, but fine support comes from Tony Booth, David Fielder as the unhinged landlord, Susan Twist as a put-upon housewife, and Alan Gear.
What They Say About It
"The best sections of Prize Night and of Gregory Hersov's spunky in-the-round production are like an exhilarating head-on collision between Road and Coronation Street... but even while you're laughing you can feel yourself blush," Paul Taylor, The Independent.
"What the play proves is that Cartwright's real talent is for Jonsonian exploration of public eccentricities rather than for portraits of the artist as a Lancastrian Lear," Michael Billington, The Guardian.
"Cartwright's work often comes perilously close to being downright embarrassing, yet somehow you find yourself won over by his charm and honesty... What I like best about him is his ability to combine gritty realism with sudden flights of dotty surrealism. Unlike his central character, the quirky Cartwright shows no sign at all of being a burn-out case," Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph.
Where You Can See It
Prize Night is at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester (0161-833 9833) to 20 Nov