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Kes : Chorley Little Theatre
Bringing Kes, the tale of working class strife and failing education to the stage is no easy challenge, especially as Ken Loach’s 1969 film adaptation of Barry Hines’ novel is widely regarded as a British cultural classic.
However, the CADOS production which played to packed houses for five nights at Chorley Little Theatre did not disappoint.
The show was invigorating, thought provoking and although set more than 40 years ago, stimulated perennial questions about the aspirations of our next generation of youngsters.
Set during a single day in a South Yorkshire mining community, the play centres on 14-year-old Billy Casper, bullied by his brother and certain teachers and neglected by his feckless mother.
Snippets of 1960s songs during the numerous set changes neatly portray a contemporary feel as admiration and affection stir in Billy through his training and care for a young kestrel hawk. Newcomer Lewis Wren excelled in the central role of Billy, giving a multi-faceted and nuanced performance.
The 19-year-old displayed great emotional depth, comic timing and the physical dexterity to portray an energetic 14-year-old and his day-to-day drudgery. He was ably supported by Joanne Cunliffe as Mrs Casper and Ashley McLoughlin as elder brother Jud in a show that all involved should be rightly proud.