Earlier in the year I went along the Studio Salford's development week and amongst many pieces in their infancy was Monopoleyes. Now, just a few of short months later, Monopoleyes makes its return to the Kings Arms (today, Saturday 3rd, is the final day), before moving on to Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats.
Written by accomplished actor Will Travis (This is England, Coronation Street and pretty much everything else), Monopoleyes offers a sinister Orwellian take on a man's life that is manipulated by powerful players of an ominous game.
In this dark comedy a young unemployed 'nobody' becomes embroiled in the game and loses all control of his own destiny. All of his decisions are now dictated by the roll of a dice. The familiar board game pieces have morphed into dark and menacing figures determined to inflict misery on the lead character and his family.
Roller (the banker), Cannon (the military industrial complex), Boot (the strong arm of the law) and Hatter (the media empire) are hell-bent on a malevolent outcome. Against such imposing control by these uber-powerful entities, the lead character, Joe Bloggs, has to navigate his way through extreme tensions. In this game of life, any simple move could have severe implications and lead to obliteration.
Monopoleyes is biting political satire that asks questions of everyday modern life. It is smart, entertaining and humorous. The characters and their concerns are readily identifiable and well performed by a top cast. Local lad and graduate of Guildford School of Acting, Joe Parker returns home to star as Andrew, the son of the central character, and also plays the part of the detestable Simpkins.
"I play two roles in the play, Andrew who has a lot of responsibility thrust upon him and is nearly at breaking point, and Simpkins, a flirtatious agent under the command of the corrupt chief of police."
Joe graduated from Guilford only a couple of years ago and has already experienced the diverse nature of an actor's life, with roles ranging from serious Shakespearean to a tin-tapping fisherman in a commercial for beans.
"My favourite role I have played is Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet" Joe explains "He's such an amazing character who has some pretty special text to play around with. I was lucky enough to play the role for the last two summers over in Verona, in a promenade production beginning underneath Juliet's balcony."
Monopoleyes isn't too far away from Shakespearean intrigue... "It's a wacky, dark comedy showing the parallels between the working class and the elite" he says "...a scathing political allegory, an adventure into the secret world of shadow governments; a journey into who really makes the big decisions, but more importantly, what part do we play in this?"
Today, Saturday 3rd December, Monopoleyes finishes its run at the Kings Arms with a matinee and evening performance before moving on to Hope Mill Theatre.
Saturday 3rd December 2:30pm and 7:30pm
Kings Arms, Bloom Street M6 3AN
£16.50 (concessions £13.20)
For further details see the Facebook page ? click here
Tuesday 6th-Saturday 10th December
Hope Mill Theatre, 113 Pollard Street, Ancoats, Manchester M4 7JB
Tuesday 6th-Saturday 10th December 7:30pm. Matinees Wed and Sat 2:30pm
For tickets ? click here
Tickets are no longer available for this event