JB Shorts, Lowry Theatre, Salford

4.00

 

There is a myth, peddled by Manchester City supporters, that most footballing Mancunians support their team; Man Utd fans, they claim, fly up each week from London. A survey by estate agents Rightmove gave the lie to that this week revealing that 55.6 percent of Mancs follow United, while just 14.8 percent follow City.

But James Quinn has a different view entirely. True Mancs, he insists, follow FC United, the breakaway club formed by disgruntled fans when the Glazer family bought Man Utd and saddled it with $600m dollars of debt.

Quinn’s play Red – at the festival of new theatre writing by top tv writers, JB Shorts @ Re:play at the Lowry in Salford – is a celebration of fan-based football. The writer plays an FC loyalist on the eve of a key FA cup match during which his businesswoman wife is preparing a bid for the catering contract in United’s posh Platinum Suite.

It is a surprisingly even-handed contrast of the romantic and the corporate – pies versus prawns, Fosters v fizz, plucky part-timers v polished professionals – with some uproarious laughs and coruscating lines about the misfits, lefties, librarians and real ale hooligan socialists of FC. Connor Ryan does deft slow-mo miming to re-enact the on-pitch glory.

In Bombmaker by Lindsay Williams (East Enders) a Mossad agent is sent to Tehran to assassinate a scientist working on Iran’s nuclear bomb. A dialectic ensues in which the audience’s judgement oscillates over who is the true terrorist, patriot, family man and fanatic. Williams offers no easy answers but Amir Rahimzadeh’s anguished doubt as the scientist elicits more sympathy than Lucas Smith’s cool certainty as the assassin.

The bravura performance of the evening comes from Judy Holt as the ageing glamourpuss celeb in Maddie by Dave Simpson and Diane Whitley. Unexpected consequences arise when Maddie flirts with the boyfriend of her sulky teenager daughter, splendidly pouted by Emily Fleeshman who finally asserts herself with an unusual use of ten-speed nipple clamps.

In A Christmas Carol by Ian Kershaw (Shameless and Casualty) Jeni Howarth Williams has a feral exuberance as a desperate older woman with a young nightclub pick-up who turns out to have gone drinking straight from his mother’s funeral. Oliver Wilson as Waz has a touching moment of authenticity giving the eulogy the vicar ought to have delivered but didn’t.

Funny, thoughtful and moving JB Shorts are now a much-anticipated annual milestone in the Manchester theatrical calendar.

Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits