live and de

We’ll Live and Die in these Towns

Belgrade Theatre B2


I loved this hugely enjoyable show. It seemed to fill a gap between gig and drama that I had never noticed. Written by Geoff Thompson, it is based on the music of Coventry band The Enemy and inspired by a long-forgotten Indian folk tale that explores fear and the paralysis it causes when it takes hold.

Enemy front man and poet, Tom Clarke, portrayed by Argy here (Tom Milner) blessed this production as its musical director. His songs punctuate the story of overcoming stage-fright before a huge performance supporting The Rolling Stones in Coventry.

A live band on stage plus Tom Milner vary the performances between gorgeously simple accoustic versions to full-scale rock and pop of the well-loved classics such as the title song, Pressure, You’re Not Alone, Happy Birthday Jane and more.

The Manager (Steven Serlin) tries unsuccessfully to instil some backbone in Argy as he panics his way through the final rehearsal but finally Argy sets off to reconnect with the people he fears he is losing as he loses touch with his own past.

His first call is brother Bill (Quinn Patrick), inspiration as poet but now dying of cancer and protected by Hips (Julie Mullins) his wife. Next, he meets – Coventry people may remember him – the ghost of Mart Solomon as a busker (Mark Turnbull) with no clue that he is gigging with a star, ‘You might make it with a bit more practice!’ 

Next, he meets his old friends Megan (Meg Forgan), Danny (Adam Sopp) and Sammy (Andy Burse) who are also his on-stage band. I loved Sammy’s reaction to meeting his now-famous friend – open-mouth amazement. Argy stumbles into the Phoenix Church Centre and the vicar (Quinn Patrick) supplies more healing wisdom. Finally, he visits ‘the girl he left behind’ Jane and her mother. This emotional meeting nails it for Argy and we finish where we started; on stage at the Arena performing the songs to 20,000 people.

I loved the use of photographic backdrops of Coventry, felt a real surge of pride in my city, wasn’t sure about the stage concrete blocks as they seemed an additional hazard for the actors but overall loved every minute.  Directed by Hamish Glen it runs to 20-10-18/p>

Jane Howard


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