Theatre: Hobson's Choice

At the end of Tuesday night's performance of Hobson's Choice at the Broadway Theatre in Catford, the woman behind us leaned over and said to Johnnyfox and myself, "You two are terrible..." I was thinking, hmm wasn't that exactly what the ladies at the Gatehouse said when we saw the high furniture removal production of High Society?

Well naturally anything with the slightest double entendre is going to make us titter, so lines like "I like a man who's good with their fingers" is naturally going to lead to trouble. Of course this woman's mind also was in low places; she was the lone person laughing following the line that mentioned something vaguely about finishing up your work before you come (to bed).

Schoolboy antics aside, this is a great production of the Harold Brighouse play, briskly paced and acted well. Oh and it is directed by Thom Southerland who always manages to make a show look great in a tight space.

Written in 1914 and set in 1880, it is easy to forget that this play was from another time when I suspect the audience would have had a lot more sympathy for the lead character Hobson, the bootmaker. As a widow, he has to contend with trying to find husbands for two of his three daughters. His oldest daughter, Maggie, he considers too plain and old to marry. But she still has her uses by looking after the day-to-day running of the business. An opportunity arises for Maggie to change her circumstances and there unfolds the play.

While it is quite funny (even intentionally), it also has some interesting observations about life in Salford, the role of women, class, values and aspirations that would become quite commonplace in modern Britain. It is probably testament to how good this play is that Johnnyfox and I felt like discussing these sensible matters after the play at Catford Station waiting for the 22:32 train back to Victoria. We might have discussed it at the bar afterwards if it were open. The only thing open nearby was the Catford Chippy so it seemed wise to head back into London.

Catford is only a ten minute trip from London Bridge, so it was definitely worth the trip. Drink up at interval...

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