Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.


“Moving autobiographical monologue”

Dave has passed on a love of Rod Stewart to son David, but they don’t share a genetic link or even the same skin colour. Does this matter? Taking inspiration from his dad’s story, writer and performer David Judge explores family connections and personal identity in his new play Sparkplug.

Judge’s monologue is a patchwork of interlinked anecdotes covering defining moments in his father’s life. Chronology is carefully manipulated so that the complexity of Dave’s circumstances and personality can be fully appreciated. Mother Joanne remains a shadowy figure whose motivations are less easy to discern.

Movement through the 1980s and 1990s is signalled by the changing soundtrack and by switching number plates on the car frame that takes centre stage in Home’s auditorium. Under Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder’s direction, Judge uses movement in, out and on top of the frame to give visual shape to the monologue, preventing the action from becoming too static.

Judge’s background as a spoken word artist is evident in the poetic cadences of some passages while other moments utilise his talents for accents and mimicry as he channels his “old-school, proud” Irish grandmother and portrays his bullies’ cruel taunts. Though pace sometimes dips, momentum picks up towards the end as the authentic strength of feeling behind the play’s construction comes to the fore.

Judge lovingly interweaves his home city of Manchester into the personal narrative with bittersweet comic effect. Let’s hope other cities will be as receptive to Judge’s story when Sparkplug embarks on its national tour.

Related to this Review

Mother Courage and Her ChildrenMother Courage and Her Children

Production Details
Production nameSparkplug
StartsFebruary 13, 2019
EndsApril 13, 2019
Running time1hr 10mins
AuthorDavid Judge
DirectorHannah Tyrrell-Pinder
Set designerKatie Scott
Lighting designerRichard Owen
Sound designerChris James
CastDavid Judge
Production managerLiam M Whittaker
Stage managerAdam Steed
ProducerBox of Tricks
VerdictMoving autobiographical monologue from writer-performer David Judge exploring a special father and son bond
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In