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The Funfair

By Simon Stephens

HOME, 21 May 2015

Ben Batt (Cash) and Michael Ryan (Frankie Marr) in The Funfair adapted from Ödön von Horváth’s Kasimir and Karoline by Simon Stephens, directed by Walter Meierjohann.  Presented by HOME Manchester (14 May - 13 June 2015).  Photo by Graeme Cooper

Ben Batt (Cash) and Michael Ryan (Frankie Marr) in The Funfair adapted from Ödön von Horváth’s Kasimir and Karoline by Simon Stephens, directed by Walter Meierjohann. Presented by HOME Manchester (14 May – 13 June 2015). Photo by Graeme Cooper

The first theatrical production in the former Library Theatre’s new home is Simon Stephens’s version of Kasimir and Karoline by Odon von Horvath.

A gritty, grimy drama, it follows the fortunes of a squabbling couple, Cash (Ben Batt) and Caroline (Katie Moore), their mates and hangers-on, over the course of a night spent at a Manchester funfair.  In no time at all, the couple argue and bicker and fall out.  Cash has just lost his job, he’s all out of cash, which doesn’t help his mood any; while Caroline decides it is a fine evening for taking offence.

Such dissatisfaction sits side by side with the gaiety and grotesqueness of the funfair: there’s a freak show and were treated to a performance.  On reflection, this is quite apt; you can’t wash away the dirt of the world so easily.

While faithful to the original, The Funfair also gives us some Stephens’ scenes.  Two characters looking at the sky, with one telling the other what the constellations are called, we’ve seen something like that before.

At any rate, this is an explosive, entertaining production of an intriguing play with the outstanding performance coming from Michael Ryan, who plays Frankie, Cash’s supposed friend, erstwhile tempter and demonical ally.

The Funfair is showing at HOME until 13 June, further details can be found here.

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