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Preview: Hobson’s Choice at Newcastle People’s Theatre

 “Will Mossop, you take your orders from me in this shop.
I’ve told you, my lad – you’ll wed me!”

Hobson’s Choice
by Harold Brighouse
Newcastle People’s Theatre
Tuesday 30th May to Saturday 3rd June 2017

The People’s Theatre is delighted to invite audiences into Hobson’s Boot Shop next week for Harold Brighouse’s much-loved northern comedy Hobson’s Choice.

Photos: Paula Smart
In 1880s Salford, the prosperous bootmaker Henry Hobson (Steve Robertson, pictured, centre) is a widower with three “uppity” daughters on his hands.

Willie (Ian Willis) and Maggie (Alison Carr)
Photos: Paula Smart
The two youngest have beaus they’d like to marry, but Hobson’s too mean to stump up a dowry.

And when his eldest daughter Maggie sets her sights on Hobson’s best employee, hapless cobbler Willy Mossop, there’s nowt but trouble ahead for the blustery, boozy, patriarch.

Brighouse’s classic comedy is an established favourite. First staged in 1915 in New York, and produced the following year in London, it was adapted into a film in 1953 directed by David Lean and starring Charles Laughton as Hobson. The cast also included Prunella Scales in one of her first film roles as bumptious youngest daughter Vickey.

Mrs Hepworth (Barbara Johnson) 
and Willie (Ian Willis)
Photos: Paula Smart
The film won a British Film Academy Award for Best British Film and was hailed “delightful and rewarding” and “a gem” by critics.

At the time it was written, in the wake of the women’s suffrage movement, Hobson’s Choice was considered fairly progressive and these days its presentation of no-nonsense Maggie, who wears the trousers as well as the boots, remains an interesting topic of discussion and debate.

Dr MacFarlane (Michael Short) 
and Jim (Tony Neale)
Photos: Paula Smart
Think Shakespeare meets Coronation Street, as there’s more than a hint of King Lear in Brighouse’s portrayal of Hobson, a wilting domestic tyrant brought low by his daughters!

Hobson’s Choice may be more than a hundred years old, but it’s a comedy classic that has lost none of its relevance in taking a sly dig at enduring and entrenched British ideas of class, aspiration, and snobbery.

Tickets cost £13.50 (Concessions £11) and are available from the box office 0191 265 5020 or website:  

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