The Roundabout – Lungs and Tuck Shop

Roundabout

For six days, from 15 to 20 September, the Roundabout has come to the Lowry. Pitched in the Plaza outside the main building, this intimate 168 seat travelling pop-up theatre-in-the-round tours the country, showcasing Paines Plough plays alongside exciting new writing.  It’s an excellent idea to make theatre more accessible, although outside the well equipped Lowry, it has more of a ‘fun’ feel.  Tonight I see Lungs from Paines Plough and Tuck Shop from independent theatre company Not Too Tame.

Lungs

‘You’re standing so far away’.  Her words define the play and the way it works in this space.  The two actors circle each other like cats within a circle perhaps four metres across.  They come together, they stand apart, but always the emotional distance is different from the physical distance.  Duncan Macmillan’s play Lungs is intense.  The couple’s relationship is laid bare in a style that compresses time into the key emotional events and moves forward at such a pace that humour and distress start to overlap.

The couple are deciding whether to have a baby and weighing up both the emotional and environmental impacts.  But the environmental story is just a sideshow; this play is very much about the pressures and challenges on a modern relationship, and what you need to do to hold it together.  It’s about the decisions we make and the consequences we suffer.  The venue is perfect for the play, and the high quality of both acting and writing stands out.

Tuck Shop

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Photo: Paines Plough

Tuck Shop is a collection of nine pieces of new writing from theatre company Not Too Tame, who brought Early Doors to Salford earlier this year. Performed by a talented group of actors drawn from the company and locally, the separate pieces are connected through a general theme of identity.  Not Too Tame set out to ‘create work for those who feel that theatre is not a place for them’. The performances focus more on character than story; more on experiences than drama.  The result is a collection of short insights into the challenges of life today, which seem straightforward whilst watching but really did stay with me afterwards.  The connecting themes start to stand out.  It’s a piece of work with great potential to reach out to a new audience.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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