Review: 'Greyhounds' play at The Kings Arms in Salford, Manchester - 'witty, intelligent and thought-provoking'

Picture the scene: a box room at the top of a chic Northern pub, 25 fold down chairs, mysterious and uniquely crafted props dotted around the room, 'Big Band' style wartime music teasing the senses and five incredibly talented actors. Yes, this review is going to be a rave.

Following a successful run at the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, Greyhounds made it's second appearance at The Kings Arms in Salford. Written by Laura Crow, who also plays main character Katherine Winters, Greyhounds is a witty, intelligently written and thought-provoking play that will leave you wanting more. And more you will want, seen as it is a one act play!


The year is 1941 and rehearsals for Shakespeare's classic Henry V play is well under-way in this small village that is trying it's best to carry-on through the traumas of war. Five different people, five individual lives; we see the everyday trials & tribulations of small village life during WWII, and the inside of the dramatic and humorous amateur theatre rehearsal room.

Director of the Shakespeare play, the flamboyant Ruby Winters played by Catherine Cowdrey, is Katherine's sister, and the pair couldn't be anymore different. Ruby is a loud and proud patriotic woman, who puts on a brave face throughout; she is made of pure British stock.

Katherine is the complete opposite: she is a brutally honest, incredibly intelligent young woman, who has a sledge-hammer wit and a quiet innocence. She is literal about everything, and she struggles to understand the usual tongue-in-cheek humour of those around her. The best thing about Katherine is that she is, unknowingly, absolutely hilarious.

Most people, especially her sister, can become easily exasperated with Katherine. She doesn't fit in with the mould, she's different. She doesn't conform to the social standards that are being thrust upon her from every angle, and the brilliant thing is, she couldn't care less.

Will Croft, played by Jacob Taylor, is a talented and strong young man, with a good head on his shoulders: but he is a conscientious objector. He struggles to gain respect from society, and even some of his fellow cast members, because he has claimed his right to refuse to join in the armed forces. For very good reasons.

Will sees Katherine how the audience sees her: beautiful, clever, funny in her own sort of way, and intriguing. The acting between the two is so convincing, and the audience was sat waiting with bated breath, waiting for both the characters to realise their love for one another.

Nancy Wilde, played by Rachel Horobin, is a soldier's wife. There is so much more to her, but that is how she is seen. During rehearsals, we get a peak into what kind of life Nancy has, and we get introduced to the darker themes of the time. She is a very endearing, almost naïve character, and she develops a very sweet friendship with one of the other amateur actors, Edward.

Played by Tim Cooper, Edward Holmes is an injured serviceman, and he has some issues he hasn't worked out yet. We see him fighting against himself throughout the course of the play, and he is definitely the character that you root for. By the time the play ends, we see him grow as a person, which is touching to see.

The ending of the play is sudden, poignant and quite simply heart-breaking. The room fell deathly quiet, as we waited for someone to jump out and say 'Just kidding!'. A clever and heart wrenching representation of wartime worries, absolutely captivating.

From the beautifully crafted props and costumes, to the layers upon layers of storyline, to the charming and alluring relationship between all the actors on stage: this play was exquisitely executed. You know a play is well-casted when you can't possibly imagine anyone else playing the roles. Each actor pulled you into their individual world, they made you believe, even just for a short time, that you had really been transported back to 1940's England. Truly captivating acting.

So what I am trying to say is this: if you get the opportunity to see Greyhounds, take it.

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