Stories are the key to change, they’re the world without its make-up on and they’re the best way for people to establish a connection with each other.
I’ve got high expectations for Odd Job Men – I always do when I come to Cast to see a play. The environment here feels exciting and electric to me, and it always builds me up in anticipation.
As we’re taking our seats I look at the set. Reminiscent of home, domestic work and, well, stories. I hope it’s enough for the two actors to draw from.
Odd Job Men is a collection of stories, beautifully portrayed in the same way you’d tell a funny tale to your friends at the pub. Nick and Matt set themselves a goal – a goal of exploring the people of Donny, by doing odd jobs in exchange for stories.
The theatre is completely packed out, we’re all huddled up close together. The actors get everyone’s attention and introduce themselves.
I couldn’t envisage how this play would be delivered, and even in the introduction I’m feeling a little apprehensive. Nevertheless, they get into character and Odd Job Men begins.
The first story we hear is a nostalgic tale about a tennis ball and a pint of Guinness. The room slowly fills with laughter. My apprehension is immediately put at ease.
The pair recount their experiences through mimes and impressions, each story slightly funnier than the last. We hear about a loft clearance that brought with it an unexpected discovery; a daring trip to the faraway lands of Maltby; a stolen bus; a pineapple plant; and plenty of other simple, humble memories from people who’ve lived in Doncaster for many years.
Throughout Odd Job Men I feel a steady increase in my pride for Doncaster. This play has picked out the many lovable characteristics our residents hold, and showcased them in a lovely way.
Nick and Matt round up the show by encouraging us all to share stories in our day to day lives more often, a lost art that if regained would probably results in us all getting along a bit better.
As we leave I glance at the time and can’t believe almost an hour and a half has passed – it flew by! I have to run to catch my bus, so I don’t manage to ask another theatre goer what they thought, but the warm atmosphere I leave behind is enough to confirm that everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did.
Written by Frances Bibby