For Love or Money – Review – Halifax Viaduct
By @Steve Crabtree, September 2017
It’s a lovely theatre, the Viaduct in Halifax. An actual arch from an old railway viaduct which is small and very intimate, offering a different and likeable stage for the performing arts. And the dark setting is perfect for the 1920’s based play For Love Or Money, which is tonight’s offering.
It’s pretty full tonight, and we audience members are either side of the stage, where we find ourselves in Rose’s sitting room. You can see that the room was once grand, but is now in a state of disrepair, with marks on the wall where the pictures once were, and wallpaper hanging off the walls that adorn an empty room, except for a broken chez-longue, a single dining room chair and a small table with a decanter and sherry glasses on top.
“Funny and clever”
The attractive and lustful Rose, played by Sarah-Jane Potts is a widow who is bombarded with high octane, no-holds-barred warnings and advice by housekeeper Marlene (Jaqueline Naylor) as to what she should do when accepting gifts and money from her two love interests, Fuller and Arthur.
It’s a Yorkshire version of the production, and well-dressed and mega-rich bank manager, Fuller is played by Barrie Rutter; director of the show and Northern Broadside’s founder in his final acting role for the Yorkshire company as he steps down as Artistic Director.
We’re enjoying a medium paced first act; as we meet the dashingly dodgy Arthur (Jos Vantyler), his accomplice Jack (Jordan Metcalfe) and the confused and just-off-the-drink Martin, played by Jim English. The love-triangle-rivaly; and who’s taking who for a ride is beginning to unfold before us; and it turns me from being an audience member, to investigator as I try to piece together and work out who, if anyone, is being honest and will come out on top in this funny and clever play.
I’m in with my mother tonight, and over a very reasonably priced tub of Bailey’s Ice Cream during the interval we talk about how perfect the scenery is for the Viaduct theatre, and she’s looking forward to the second act as much as I am. I think the rest of the theatre is too, judging by the laughter and the appreciative looks that people are giving their friends at various parts of the play.
The pace is turned up a notch for the second act, and the chuckles from the audience have turned in to full-on belly laughs. The introduction of former prostitute Lisa (Kat Rose-Martin) adds a new element to the story, and a hilarious injection of humour. As the story line unravels it begins to answer those investigative questions that I had running through my mind earlier.
Whereas act one provided more intrigue and an element of mystery around it, act two is definitely opening up the story and the characters, and it’s becoming thoroughly entertaining. As the play draws to a close, we have a number of characters on stage, still in Rose’s sitting room where we’ve been for the entire play and there are beaming faces right across the audience.
Some clever acting, some very well-timed comedy, and some brilliant direction has given us a thrilling performance tonight. The audience applaud as the cast take their bows and leave the stage, and Barrie Rutter offers a farewell wave as he’s the last to exit. A pillar of the Halifax performing arts community, he’s certainly bowed out in style tonight.
Well done, Barrie. A great show.
images: Nobby Clarke