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The Bubbler

By Cathy Crabb

House of Orphans & Eat Theatre

The Lowry, 23 January 2013

The Bubbler by Cathy Crabb

Photo courtesy of the Library Theatre Company

There is that old question: what does the drinker (yes, that’s you) see in the glass in front of him?

For Peter (Neil Bell), one of those ‘never drunk, seldom sober’ sort of blokes, well, where do you start?  It’s the colourful characters he deals with in the pawnbroker shop everyday, who’re always looking to offload dodgy stuff; the good, respectable job he somehow lost; the relationship that broke down…  His usual is bitter, and it brings out all the hate, resentment and bile in him.

Neil Bell’s performance was extraordinary and mesmeric.  Try and picture a malign Tommy Cooper and you’ll get an inkling of what it was like.  The humour had a hate and an edge.  You laughed but always uneasily.

The play itself is beautifully written, paced and constructed.  A small canvas for Cathy Crabb, but a masterpiece all the same.