A hilarious two-woman comedy show featuring an array of funny characters inspired by Northerners is coming to Oldham. ‘Strife in a Northern Town’ is the story of a nameless working class city – and the plight of its inhabitants at the hands of a corrupt local council.
There’s Donna and Tracey who work at the local supermarket. Donna hates customers, but Tracey loves ‘em – especially round the back of the totes! And Kay and Val, who are star-crossed lovers. Val loves her pooches but Kay’s got a dog phobia, an allergy to cheese and a seething, armchair-bound mother, Maureen – who hates Clare Balding.
Receptionists Pepsi and Lulu work at the town hall. They’re ‘friendly enemies’. They’ve both got fiancés called Gary and lick ‘Weetabix’ for lunch so they can slim down into their wedding dresses.
When things start to go wrong for all of them, their seemingly unconnected stories come together in a hilarious, fast-paced tale of sex, death, corruption, friendship, family and Latvian cigarettes. And with just two female actors playing all these parts – and more – it’s a high-energy thrill ride with quick switches, laughter, mayhem and maybe even a tear or two, too.
The show made its debut in October last year at the Women in Comedy Festival in Manchester – where it was performed to packed houses and received critical and audience acclaim. It went on to be shortlisted in the Top 10 shows in the Best Show category of the 2017 Funny Women Awards – with the winner set to be announced in March 2018.
Actor, producer and writer of the show, Jennifer Banks said: “I originally wrote the script when I returned to my home town of Bradford a few years ago and I was angry with how the local government had let it slide so far into decline. There had been a giant hole in the town centre for over a decade, and scandal and cover up in the council.
“So this was really my pop at them, but in a funny way. And when I started writing the show I did a few improvisations with an actor friend from Wigan, who was working in a supermarket there. She told me loads of hilarious stories about her colleagues and two of them made it into the script! In fact, she’s one of them!”
Jennifer, who stars in the show alongside Manchester-based actor Tracy Gabbitas, added: “So that’s why it’s a nameless city – they’re characters you’d recognise from any town in the North.”
Jennifer is a student of the Cartwright Drama Studio in Chorley – set up by renowned playwright Jim Cartwright to bring more working class talent into the performing arts industry. “I’m not a drama school graduate,” said the actor. “All my performing and writing training has been done in and around day jobs to pay for the classes.”
“So I’m grateful to Jim for giving people like me a chance to train in an affordable way. I’m also grateful to Jim for setting up a brilliant talent agency and representing me – which has recently led to me landing a four-episode role in ‘Coronation Street’.”
‘Strife in a Northern Town’ is on Thursday 15 February at 7.30pm at Jackson’s Pit, off Barn Street, Oldham Town Centre, OL1 1HA.
Tickets are priced at £5 or £4 concessions and you can by them at: https://origintickets.co.uk/store/?event=938.