A different way home at Oldham Coliseum
A Different Way Home
His sister is an aloof pseudo-Jewish snob who has walked away from her family…or so he says. Her brother is a racist single mummy’s boy…or so she says. Both are mourning the death of their mother. Jimmie Chinn’s A Different Way Home returns to the Oldham Coliseum 21 years after its world premier on the same stage. In act one we meet Leslie and hear his side of the family history; in act two we find out Maureen’s slant on their family life. The two never meet; indeed that would be impossible as Kenneth Alan Taylor, the original production’s director, takes on the roles of both Leslie and his sister Maureen.
Taylor is an absolute stalwart of this theatre, having been, at various times since 1959, actor, artistic director and chief executive, and this is his homecoming. After a strong start, a stumble of words seemed to take the energy out of Taylor in a first half that felt 15 minutes too long. The second half (panto dame innuendos aside) picked up with Taylor providing a valiant impression of Corrie’s Blanche Hunt as Maureen reveals a very different side to Leslie’s story. I did feel that no matter what happened on the stage, the genuine warmth of the Oldham audience would ensure a rapturous response…and it did.
A Different Way Home offers two isolated view points on one family; siblings split by misunderstanding and a lack of communication. A lesson for us all to talk to loved ones and build any bridges that may have crumbled.
Photographer Joel Chester Fildes.
Garry Thomas-Lowde for Canal St Online.
Oldham Coliseum Theatre: Jan 31st - Feb 9th 2019 tix.