Home » Reviews » Off West End » Hindle Wakes, Finborough Theatre

Hindle Wakes, Finborough Theatre

Stanley Houghton
Directed by Bethan Dear

Pros: Expertly produced, expertly performed, expertly designed, and a fantastic script.

Cons: I would be clutching at straws if I were to try and formulate any genuine criticism.

Our Verdict: If you can get your hands on a ticket, it’s a must.

Courtesy of the Finborough Theatre

Just to confirm: the Finborough is a truly magical place, an opinion of ours that anyone who has read our reviews before will know. About ten minutes’ walk away from Earls Court tube, the theatre is located above a cool little wine café, and is arguably one of the most dynamic off-West End venues in London. Very rarely do the shows on the Finborough’s stage disappoint, and casting aside any pretence of suspense, Hindle Wakes is no exception. Once again, the Finborough has delivered an expertly created production, with little or no faults to speak of. If you haven’t yet been to this superb venue before, then either leave our website immediately and never return*, or go and book a ticket (for Hindle Wakes if you can, but if not to anything that you can get your hands on).

Hindle Wakes was written in 1913, just before the onset of World War I. This was a very different society to the one in which we now live, although the message of the play is chillingly relevant. A young working class girl in rural Lancashire is discovered to have spent a weekend with an already-engaged, very wealthy young gentleman. At the time, this meant only one thing for the young man: he should renounce his engagement and wed the weaver’s daughter, end of discussion. The play deals with the societal consequences of this, and crucially (not to mention controversially at the time), what might happen if by some small chance the young lady had an opinion on the matter. The script is funny, well-penned, and arguably 100 years ahead of its time. Brilliant stuff.

The delivery of this production naturally does justice to the script. Every aspect of each performance is honed to perfection. The are some absolutely brilliant performances to look out for: Richard Durden is fantastic as the father of the errant young man (portrayed masterfully by Graham O’Mara), and he delivers a believable, honest and at times emotional performance. Peter Ellis, as the young girl’s father, also creates a touching portrayal of the mild-mannered weaver. The standout performance however, comes from Ellie Turner as the young girl, who takes on a very difficult role and delivers it with all the skill and expertise of the seasoned actress she is – a pleasure to watch. In fact, the entire cast functioned as a well-oiled ensemble, and praise must be given to director Bethan Dear for achieving this.

In terms of design, the production was impeccable. Beautifully lit, perfectly costumed… there really are very few bones to pick with this show. Perhaps some of the musical interludes were a tad long, but really this criticism is pretty empty.

To be perfectly frank, it is difficult to find fault in the production. There was a single slight slip up in the lines the night we saw it, but if that happens again at all during the run, I will eat my shoe. This is London’s best off-West End theatre at its finest: a slick, expertly produced, expertly directed production of a brilliant script. And of course, we expect no less from the Finborough. It is no surprise the run has already sold out, but if you are in any position to beg, steal or otherwise acquire a ticket, you should do so without hesitation.

* That’s a joke. We love you. Please keep coming back. And maybe click on the advert to the left of our page. Every time someone clicks on there we get £0.30. So far we’ve made £16 in two years – it’s a real money-spinner.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

Hindle Wakes runs at the Finborough Theatre until 29 September 2012.
Box Office: 0844 847 1652 or book online at http://www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk/productions/2012/hindle-wakes.php

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Everything Theatre is proud to support fringe theatre, not only in London but beyond. From reviews to interviews, articles and even a radio show, our work is at the heart of the industry, and we are official assessors for the Off West End OffComm awards. Founded in 2011 as a pokey blog run by two theatre enthusiasts, today we are staffed by diverse contributors - people who not only work in theatre, but also in law, medicine, marketing and even psychiatry! We are all united by our love for theatre.
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