‘Our Kid’ has been at The Kings Arms this weekend, the dark tale focused on the unconventional upbringing of Salford brothers, Jimmy and Tommy.

Written by Taran Knight, the production focuses on the relationship between two brothers, Jimmy and Tommy, and how their dysfunctional family leads to a life of crime and domestic abuse, with serious repercussions for them both.

The narrative is told exclusively by one of the brothers, Jimmy, who is played by ‘Our Kid’ writer Taran Knight. Both brothers are embroiled in violence from an early age as they experience abuse from their mother and her boyfriend, eventually attempting to end the violence themselves.

The story then follows the Jimmy and Tommy’s involvement in gang warfare with a rival group ‘The Moss Side Boys’ fronted by their arch nemesis Big Bazza.

Jimmy is a hot-headed character and he is often seen engaging in violent acts, such as beating up members of other gangs with baseball bats and even throwing punches at his own brother Tommy.

It is not long before the brothers become involved with selling drugs as they are desperate to make money to support their family, and surprisingly their mother who is abusive throughout.

The audience sees Jimmy’s attempts to pull away from this lifestyle and create a future with his girlfriend Mary. However Jimmy’s plans are ruined by Tommy which ultimately leads to the downfall of the brothers relationship, ending in a catastrophic event that leaves their family devastated.

The darker, more violent moments are contrasted with elements of humour throughout the play. Both brothers are Manchester United fans and Jimmy often runs around the stage imitating famous football stars who he idolises and recreating goals from his own football matches. It is moments like these that pull the audience into sympathising with Jimmy’s character – he is just a normal young man that has been shaped by his environment.

The staging of ‘Our Kid’ is kept very simple, with only a table, a bench and a box being used. The play switches locations frequently, but staging is kept the same. Kinght’s strong narrative voice transports the audience between the locations with ease and proves that elaborate staging is not always necessary. Likewise, the only two props used are tins of Stella and a bunch of white lillies, keeping the audience completely focused on lead, and only, actor Knight.

A soundtrack consisting solely of music from Manchester creates a sense of place for the play, this grounds the performance and gives it a Manchester edge that is well received by the audience. Music from The Courteeners and The Smiths among others, create the perfect sound for this raw, gritty and emotional play.

Writer Taran Knight uses his own experiences with gang life and violence from his childhood to portray this dark tale but hopes that through telling these ‘everyday’ stories, theatre will become accessible for all members of society.

‘Our Kid’ tickets are available now alongside future tour dates.

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