Home / Drama / Play, Pie, Pint: Juicy Fruits – Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Play, Pie, Pint: Juicy Fruits – Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Writer: Leo Butler

Director: George Perrin

Reviewer: Nathan Shreeve


Brilliantly witty, acerbic and dark, Juicy Fruits finishes the Paines Plough & Oran Mor’s Play, Pie, Pint initiative with style, going out with a bang. Butler’s script is superb, flashing from brilliant humour, to heart wrenching emotional breakdown, sometimes within seconds of each other, brilliantly painting the portraits of two women; Nina and Lorna, whose reunion the play largely focuses on.

Nina, fresh from a stint in the Borneo, suddenly returns to the UK and to Lorna’s life, upskittling her routine by arriving for coffee in a sleepy village where Lorna lives with her barrister husband and baby son. Nina is a brilliant tragic-comic creation, and has some truly stunning (and shocking) lines of dialogue. For example, when startled, she announces to Lorna that her shock is down to her face. Some lines of dialogue were particularly shocking, hinting towards the darkness which is ever present in this taut, gripping play. Denise Hoey and Clare Waugh shine as Nina and Lorna respectively, and root the entire drama in humanity and emotion, although, at times, both characters seemed a bit overplayed and exaggerated. Both women are both ferocious and vulnerable, particularly Nina, whom the play focuses on.

The secret which is unveiled throughout the drama, for me, was an anticlimax, as the introduction to it almost led me to believe that something truly horrific had taken place while Nina was deep in the jungle, causing the final act of the drama to feel somewhat jarring in relation to the remainder of the piece. The third character in the piece, a Barista, feels like a dramatic device, and unfortunately, the moment at the end of the play when he finally gets time to shine as a character already feels very like an epilogue. The final image of the piece was particularly disconcerting, and prompted questions regarding our rôle in the world as humans, and the effect we have on others and the environment around us, a question I was not expecting to be asking at the end of a seemingly light-hearted piece.

Gripping, funny and ultimately challenging, Juicy Fruits ends the Play, Pie and a Pint season on a real high, and is definitely worth seeing.

Runs until 5 November at 7pm. Tickets include a hot pie and a pint.

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One comment

  1. An interesting question was raised by this play – ‘does civil exist in civilisation?’ Unfortunately, this issue is not explored in much depth, and the performance is marred by over-acting from Denise Hoey. Perhaps the least effective of the three dramas offered in this excellent ‘A Play, a Pint and a Pie’ season. Not really worth braving the motorway traffic for.