Working-class comedy finds strife at Buxton Fringe

Published: 7 July 2018
Reporter: Steve Orme

A working-class comedy portraying the effects of austerity on ordinary people, Strife in a Northern Town, is to get four outings at Buxton Fringe.

The play tells the story of the inhabitants of a random northern town whose lives begin to unravel due to decisions of their local council.

The play made its debut at the Women in Comedy Festival in Manchester in 2017 and was nominated for the Funny Women Best Show Award. It was created by Manchester-based writer and actor Jennifer Banks.

“I wrote the script when I returned to my home town in the north after living in London for 15 years,” she said. “It wasn’t the same city that I’d left and people just seemed demoralised. I felt the council really hadn’t done enough to help regenerate the city and it upset me. So this was really my pop at them but in a funny way.

“In the age of austerity, national and local government cuts and an increasing reliance on food banks, the play is even more relevant today than when I wrote it.”

She added, “the story is a celebration of ordinary people’s resilience when faced with the consequences of the decisions made by those in power. It’s a universal theme and that’s why the setting for the show is a random town because I think it’s an understandable predicament wherever you’re from. You’d recognise the characters from any town in the north or indeed any working-class area of any town in the UK.”

Strife in a Northern Town features Banks and Tracy Gabbitas. It is directed by Manchester-based Rhonwen McCormack.

It can be seen Underground at The Clubhouse on Water Street, Buxton on Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11 and Thursday 19 July at 2.30PM and on Sunday 22 July at 1PM.