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

The Political History of Smack and Crack

“Rollickingly entertaining”

Yes, yes, yes. The Paines Plough Roundabout’s programme this year is exceptional, but there’s nothing better there – maybe nothing better at the whole festival – than Ed Edwards’ The Political History of Smack and Crack, a riotously entertaining and deeply moving drama-cum-documentary exploring the history of heroin use in Manchester.

Partly using his own experiences with drugs in the early 1990s, Edwards has crafted a two-hander of sensitivity and scope that’s thoroughly rooted in place and time: Manchester in the 1980s, with Thatcher in power and the number of working-class junkies rapidly rising as a result of her government’s policy.

Two Mancunians – Mandy and Neil – narrate their own intertwining stories of love and addiction on the streets of Manchester, jumping back and forth in time and splicing in lessons about the history of heroin throughout.

It’s stylishly done, burning with a broad, Northern humour and a galvanising anti-Tory bite. It’s energetic, too. Effervescent almost. Think Trainspotting, relocated 200 miles south and injected with a bitter dose of politics.

To cap it all, Cressida Brown’s production has two stonking performances from Neil Bell and Eve Steele. Bell is particularly good, with his Rhys Ifans shambliness and Noel Gallagher whine. Wonderful stuff.

Related to this Review

Paines Plough and Fiery Angel unveil participants for inaugural emerging writers schemePaines Plough and Fiery Angel unveil participants for inaugural emerging writers scheme

Production Details
Production nameThe Political History of Smack and Crack
VenueRoundabout @ Summerhall
StartsAugust 3, 2018
EndsAugust 26, 2018
Running time1hr
AuthorEd Edwards
DirectorCressida Brown
ChoreographerKate Sagovsky
Lighting designerRichard Williamson
Sound designerJon Mcleod
CastEve Steele, Neil Bell
ProducerAlastair Michael, Annabel Williamson, W14 Productions
VerdictRollickingly entertaining, deeply moving drama-cum-documentary about heroin use in Manchester
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

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