Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
Until June 1st 2019
All I See Is You tells the story of Bobby, who works on a Woolies’ record counter and his romantic entanglement with Ralph, an aspiring teacher. One kiss and they’re hooked, but it’s 1967 and their love is illegal.
A captivating watch, All I See Is You takes the audience on a journey of a beautiful but forbidden love. Set in Manchester, it feels grounded in reality and paints a picture of the city that feels true to life. The opportunity to hear more of Manchester’s LGBTQ history was touching and recognising familiar landmarks launched back fifty years in time – Canal Street in particular – made me feel proud of how far we’ve come.
The acting was phenomenal, with both Bobby (Ciarán Griffiths) and Ralph (Christian Edwards) really living their roles both through the physical embodiment of their characters and powerful chemistry. They were both entirely believable and endearing, as though they could have walked straight out of 1960’s Manchester and onto the stage. This was helped in part by the writing – the play was a good balance of humour and hard-hitting reality – and in particular the opening quickly captured my attention and brought me into the world of the play.
The pace became problematic for me during the second half – the constant flicking of perspectives left me feeling divorced from the characters at times, as though there wasn’t enough time to settle with their stories before we switched again. I also felt as though the play didn’t say anything that I hadn’t seen before. These stories are so important to tell, but I’m not sure if I took anything away from it. It was very well written and formulated and tight – but I’m not sure that it will stay with me.
An emotionally captivating and well-written play with terrific performances from the cast.
This show runs until June 1st 2019 at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester. Book Now.
Image © Ray Jefferson, Octagon Theatre 2018 Production
© M. Holland 2019