Review: Our Kid (Greater Manchester Fringe Festival)

I’ve documented my love for fringe theatre before.

On the one hand you get to see experimental, exciting, no-holds barred productions and on the other hand, you get to see theatre which feels real, familiar, gritty, passionate…

Our Kid, written by and starring Taran Knight, falls into the latter category and is all these things and very funny to boot too.

In the great theatre space upstairs at The Kings Arms, Taran Knight single-handedly took us through a tale of sibling rivalry, sibling love, sibling anger…

in Our Kid, Jimmy (Knight) tells of Tommy, his younger brother – golden child – the one Jimmy took the fall for for years, all against a backdrop of Manchester and Salford.

Indeed fringe ate itself as the venue, The Kings Arms, made a cameo on a couple of occasions throughout.

Via a range of pitch perfect accents depicting family members, a girlfriend and colourful acquaintances, the 50 minute production took us through decades of incidents, punctuated by a Mancunian soundtrack.

Indeed whilst not a wholly linear timeline musically, what did signpost us to each year and how much time had passed was the brilliantly funny device of Manchester United terrace chants.

Oh Robin Van Persie…

Ah, we’ve arrived at 2012 – gotcha.

City fans – brace yourselves…

I want you to see this brilliant play so no spoilers here but Taran Knight takes us through tragedy, anger, love, devastation and elation.

Taran Knight as Jimmy – credit: Craig’s Barker

There’s much to laugh at too. Truth be told whilst the Northern Quarter is all too familiar to this writer, I don’t like Prosecco either…

As Knight filled the small space in an energetic and spirited performance, the peppering of local references never felt forced.

You felt like you were down the pub (the Salford Arms got heavily name-checked too), listening to that character. That bloke, Jimmy who’s alright – means no ‘arm – good ‘eart, shame what ‘appended etc. His poor mother…

A play that tapped right into the streets of Manchester – how austerity, domestic violence, drug culture, love can shape, challenge and divide people and their families.

Taran Knight had us fighting alongside Jimmy, looking out for Jimmy looking out for Tommy, shaking our heads at Jimmy, shaking our heads at Tommy…

It was meta. We were in a Salford pub in the world of a play in the world of Salford pubs including this Salford pub.

And that’s why I love fringe theatre. It’s real.

Go and see a touch of heartfelt brilliance.

Further performances on 24, 27 and 31 July. More details and tickets can be found On the Greater Manchester Fringe website.


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