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Work it Out

Updated: Apr 11

Eve Steele

HOME Manchester production

HOME Manchester

March 1-16, 2024; 2hrs 20mins

The cast of Work It Out, working things out.
The cast of Work It Out, working things out.

Banner showing. a four star rating

Who would have thought that the new NHS policy of social prescribing could be such fun, such hard work and such a container for working out a range of social issues?

Yes there are stereotypes in Eve Steele's Work it Out: Scottish recovering alcoholic (Aaron McCusker)? Tick! Homely Irish grandmother with a bitter heart of gold (Eithne Browne)? Tick! Afro-Caribbean young woman who is a great dancer (Raffie Julien)? Another tick!

But good direction by one-time Royal Exchange director Sarah Frankcom sees the group develop and draw you into each of their personal stories.

From the start there is a sense we are in capable hands. The set is basic, so no frequent changes; there are laughs from the start, which ensures we settle into the rhythm of the play, and we feel we know the setting – a room in the local college, with the slight chill that comes from austerity and penny pinching.

We recognise the people in the play: a major benefit of stereotypes. But the actors and director are able to show us the real people beneath the broadly-washed types. They do this with dance: the transition from initially gawky movement, all arms, legs and bumps-a-daisy, to a free-flowing ensemble – that includes the actors playing the overweight character (Eva Scott) and bad-tempered grannie – is a life inspiring one.

And the best mover is Raffie Julien, though the leader/instructor (Elizabet Twells), all Lycra and earnestness, runs her close. She exemplifies the need for a leader to follow their flock as she transitions from telling people what to do to listening to what they can do. A great role model for any aspirant teacher in the audience.

One of the most underrated talents is to write good dialogue. Eve Steele manages to do this. Perhaps because she is from Manchester? Or perhaps her work on Coronation Street? Whatever; she puts on stage people like us.

So if your resolution for this year to get some exercise has already fallen away, you can at least exercise your hands and mind by going to HOME.

More info and tickets here


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