Red Noses

ALRA North came to my attention when I saw Spur of the Moment at the Re:play festival this year.  The drama school in Wigan seems to be gaining an increasingly impressive reputation.  Their latest production, Red Noses, is on in Manchester at the RNCM studio.  It’s one of my favourite studio spaces in Manchester, and it’s always a treat to see theatre here.

Red Noses is an unusual play by Peter Barnes about a Catholic monk, Flote, who sets off on a journey to spread laughter and joy to cure the world’s ills.  It is both a tricky play to perform and a good opportunity for solo performance.  Probably no coincidence that MMU also chose this play a month ago.

I wasn’t disappointed.  Tarek Slater is captivating in the lead role of Flote, spreading love and hope through laughter, but needed to be older to make the character work fully.  Euan Mason is consistently strong as straight-laced, devout monk Toulon and offers a lovely counterpoint to Flote’s exuberance.  Lucy Hird shows superb range in the demanding requirements of Marguerite, the nun who aspires to be fallen.  Non-speaking Sonnerie (Bells), played by Emily Dowson, demonstrates wonderful physicality and presence.  There are some good individual performances from the rest of the cast.  It’s well directed, with good staging and imagery, although at times it loses pace and the cast struggle to generate sufficient energy in some of the larger crowd scenes.  The more powerful moments are those involving the main characters.  It’s a shame the studio wasn’t fuller; this sort of theatre needs a reaction from the audience to build the energy of the play.

Overall, a very good production that is well worth seeing, but not quite in the class of Spur of the Moment.  Also on 17th March.



Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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