Review by Graham Chalmers
Not Too Tame presents Early Doors, Hales Bar, Harrogate.
I’ve just been served a pint by a man who turns out to be an actor in a play.
Each year Harrogate Theatre’s 2’s Company mini-series promises unusual productions in unusual locations, and Not Too Tame’s Early Doors delivers the brief in a thrillingly hi-energy and earthy, occasionally poetic fashion inside the intimate confines of the Hales Bar.
Having sat down for my first sip in the Victorian gaslight of Harrogate’s most historic bar, the people around me whom I thought were part of the staff suddenly burst into song and handclaps like something from a West End musical.
That’s just the tip of a rip-roaringly entertaining ensemble piece which throws in an A-Z of theatrical styles without ever losing sight of the point.
No wonder this northern-based company enjoyed a sell-out run of the show at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
As led by actor-director -writer Jimmy Fairhurst, who gave up a potential career in rugby league for the stage, this story of a brother and sister taking over their late mother’s pub is part Stomp and part Coronation Street with just a hint of agitprop and John Cooper Clarke-esque street poetry.
With a script edited to within an inch of its life, the rumbustious Early Doors is perfectly paced from start to finish and never lingers on any moment for longer than strictly necessary.
As various members of this hyper-active cast bound around the floorboards of the Hales Bar within touching distance of most of the audience, you will find yourself laughing one minute and trying to hold back a tear the next.
The one thing you will never be at any point with any production by the boundary-busting Not Too Tame, however, is bored.