Kes – LS Theatre Productions @ The Academy Theatre, Birdwell

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To be honest, it’s very rare that there is anything showing at the Academy that interestS me. Usually, pier-end tribute acts and twee musicals.

Well, as soon as I saw that Kes was playing as a 40th anniversary, I was straight off for a ticket.

The cast were great; especially the three leads playing Billy, Jud and Mrs. Capser. The interaction between the three was note perfect. The young lead that played Billy Casper looked perfect and you really empathised with him throughout.

After seeing the film, so many times, it is hard imagine anyone else playing Mr Sugden like the amazing Brian Glover played it, but here the character was less OTT and better for it. Mr Gryce Pudding in this production though, was no where near a nasty as the film, so the message that Barry Hines and Ken Loach had about the state of British education in the 1960’s wasn’t as forthright.

The ensemble cast were great and the school kids got quite a few laughs. In fact, there were a number of unexpected laughs to be had, most involving the number of real slaps involved, whose noise rang around the auditorium and the tirade of ‘fucks’ and ‘pigs’ which lasted many, many lines longer than both the film or the book, but no one seemed to mind,

My only down pointed was the extremely poor musical score that was used. Why, when the flute score by John Cameron is so beautiful, use a poor electronic equivalent?

And the seating. My back was bent out of shape after three hours at the Academy. The seats are small and uncomfortable and honestly puts me in two minds as to whether or not I will go see brassed Off Next month.

Overall though it was a great show, great cast and other than the score, a great adaptation taking elements from both the books and the film.

Shame we never got to see a real kestral on stage but for those early enough, were lucky enough to see a kestral hawk and handler in the box office.

Rating: 8/10

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