Juno Leigh’s Culture Guide

A fantastic comedy of 'things going wrong', performed by a highly acclaimed theatre company is coming to Penrith as part of a UK tour on 16 November, writes Juno Leigh, Eden Arts programmer.

Very Hard Times, taking place at Ullswater Community College, is part of the Eden Arts ongoing programme of events, which recently included As You Like It by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre On Tour.

The brilliant Bristol-based company, Publick Transport, presents a dark, brooding meditation on the banking crisis, spiced up with music, dancing and some bare legs. Taking as its source material a hackneyed, yet startlingly relevant, Victorian melodrama based on Dickens' classic, Very Hard Times offers an unusual perspective on our economic climate that is by turns thrilling, chilling and tragic. An obsessive writer-director has recruited two friends (a street performer and an out-of-work actress) to help him stage an obscure melodrama which he misguidedly believes has suddenly become ‘relevant’ in today’s economic climate. As the lights fade up we dimly perceive a low-income couple with one child. A knock on the door... and their lives are changed forever by the irresistible temptations of a loan shark.

Greed, envy and lust take hold, while the hero weighs up the pros and cons of recapturing his erring wife. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll laugh again, then you’ll cry some more. This will go on for some time. But one question will remain: how on earth could melodrama have remained the predominant dramatic art form for a hundred years? Well, it did…and it’s back! Written by Angus Barr and directed by Phil Booth, this is a piece of deftly daft theatre for our very hard times.
An Eden Arts event
Date: Wednesday 16 November 2011
Time: 8pm start (doors open 7.30pm)
Tickets: Adults £12, students and children under 16, £9
Age recommendation: 11+
Box Office: Penrith Tourist Information Centre: 01768 867 466
Venue Address: Ullswater Community College (Cumberland Hall)
Estimated Running Time: 1 hour 40 mins (inc interval)