New Dawn Fades... Leeds will tear us apart....

I ventured from Manchester last night to see a play in Leeds. Was a right faff getting there, organising work and kids, but we made it on the train with seconds to spare.  I was never more glad to see two plastic glasses and bottle of fizz come out of Priya's handbag (we have to have a little drink on the journey!). Time was so tight we had to make ourselves beautiful on the train.  Well it was easy for me as I realised I'd left my dress hung up on the back of the bedroom door.... useful that! 

Anyhow we dumped our bags, and raced off to theatre... to the wrong theatre, which was a smidge embarrassing!  The City Varieties Music Hall was the actual place, a gorgeous looking place.  I was told about thirty times that Charlie Chaplin played there once.  Joking aside; the venue looks the part; old-fashioned upholstery adds to the theatre experience, dahling. 

So New Dawn Fades, is a play/story about Joy Division.  It covers more than that though, it's about the scene at the time, Tony Wilson, Manchester, Factory. Running through there's another dimension; it centres round the troubled being of Ian Curtis.  As it goes I know and love Joy Division, I knew Ian was ill with depression, epilepsy, insomnia.  I didn't realise how debilitating this was for him, this portrayal is nailed by Michael Whittaker's performance, in years to come, I'll look back at this lad and remember I saw him early on and he was a genius then. 'Shadowplay' was almost uncomfortable to watch; the awkward mannerisms of Ian Curtis were perfectly done but not overdone.  

I don't want to make it sound bleak; but fact of matter is, it is.  It doesn't end well (sorry hoping not being a big, fat #spoiler).  Tony Wilson bolting in with funny quips, mostly taking the piss out of himself, levels out the melancholy.  Ian Lee Joseph is genius in this role, with every flick of his scarf, Tony himself could have been on that stage. 

Ian Curtis
The final scenes, I've never been so moved in theatre.  Beautifully done.  Suicide needs to be discussed.  It's seen by some as a selfish act, perhaps I've thought that myself.  Ian's suicide wasn't the act of selfishness, god no, it brings to light the desperation of one young man who was on the brink of massive things. 

On a lighter note, the after drinks and bars were great.  Well I mean, I drunk loads of red wine.  I chatted with the writer and producers and agreed with them on this.  If Tony and Ian were with us, they'd be happy with the play. 

Go and see this, the last date is Friday 22nd May at the Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester.   

xx Emma-Lou 

PS Show is also playing in Bury, on Wednesday 20th May! More info will follow...xx


  1. Thank you so much for coming, and for this fantastic write-up! Brian x


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