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Once in a House on Fire Reviews

1st April 2011 by Martin Gibbons

EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL 2012

Cast: Sarah McDonald Hughes, Rachel Austin & Francesca Waite

PUBLIC REVIEWS *****

“Devastating and all too real, the piece highlights many of the reasons and excuses made by victims for both continuing to stay in violent relationships and repeating the cycle with several partners.”

BROADWAY BABY ***

“The play is heartfelt and honest, portrayed with realistically and sensitively by the fantastic cast.”

FESTMAG ***

“Infused with the energy and imagination of youth, this tale is vibrantly told.”

MARCO G BLOG *****

“Whilst the story is tragic and upsetting in places, the overall emotion that flowed into the audience is one of optimism and positive potential.”

LOU 86 BLOG

“The three female cast were utterly compelling throughout, and everything about the piece resonated the Manchurian theme from the lilting accents, to interludes by Joy Division and other North-Western greats.”

THE FICTION STROKER

“Trimmed down to a three hander, a impressive trio of actress perform a harrowing, and at times, bleak story.”

SPRING 2012

Cast: Sarah McDonald Hughes, Gemma North, Emily Fleeshman, Francesca Waite, Thomas Aldersley & Matthew Ganley

WHATSONSTAGE.COM NORTHWEST ****

“outstanding storytelling and strong performances throughout”

ALISON’S ADVENTURES IN THEATRELAND

“a touching play, nicely staged and with some well-judged performances.”

MANCHESTER THEATRE AWARDS

“Manchester’s own Monkeywood Theatre company’s small-scale performance manages to capture the grimness, humour and – ultimately – life-affirming resilience of the human spirit at the heart of Andrea’s story.”

REMOTE GOAT ***

“The cast made me feel so close to these people that I was wishing things could change for them all… each actor grasps the essence of their characters and shows the strength of the girls and their mother in the face of adversity.”

SPRING 2011

Cast: Sarah McDonald Hughes, Rachel Austin, Francesca Waite, Thomas Aldersley & Ted Holden

MESSENGER NEWSPAPERS *****

“Monkeywood and McDonald Hughes are a potent combination and I hope they’ll be around for a long, long time to come. Outstanding and uncompromising – you simply musn’t miss this.”

PUBLIC REVIEWS ****

“Once in a House on Fire is a realistic picture of a dysfunctional family, but not a bleak one. The affection between the sisters, which is a key factor in their survival, is reflected in the vivid performances.…It is a tribute to the skill of the company that we care as much for those left behind as we do about the central character.”

WHATSONSTAGE ***

“Andrea Ashworth’s award-winning memoir is a breathtakingly honest account of her experiences of domestic violence and financial hardship when growing up in inner city Manchester in the 1970s and 80s and locally-based Monkeywood Theatre (in development with The Lowry) has done a commendable job of transferring it to the stage….This a gripping story which is well told by a local theatre company.”

CITYLIFE ***

“There are good performances from the strong cast, particularly Sarah McDonald Hughes as Andrea and Rachel Austin in a variety of roles. In spite of its dark story, this uplifting production will tour nationally and appear at the Edinburgh Fringe, so Andrea’s story will continue to inspire.”

JILDY SAUCE

“Once in a House on Fire is a terrific play, graced by excellent performances throughout; and the use (and apt choice) of songs and news items to segue from scene to scene was a splendid stroke.”

BREWING DRINKING THINKING

Monkeywood should be proud of their adaptation as they have translated a gripping tale that engrosses you in such a way that you so desperately want better things for the family. I loved everything about this performance; the story, the acting, the direction, the set and the development of the character’s relationships.  The ending is just so beautiful and moving. It left me hoping there’d be a brighter future for everyone. I rarely get to see theatre this good – even in Manchester.”

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