“And when I stopped to look at what I'd done, suddenly I realised it was light - it was morning - time for work ... And I was shaking - literally shaking - cos for the first time in me life I'd really achieved something ..."
I spent an inexplicably long time resisting The Pitmen Painters, even though several people had recommended it to me but I was insistent that I wouldn’t like it, mainly because I thought it seemed too worthy. But after its highly successful runs at the National Theatre, on Broadway and a recent UK tour, it has now taken up shop in the West End at the Duchess Theatre and I finally succumbed to the lure of a ticket. And as the cries of ‘I told you so’ ring in my ears, somewhat predictably I really enjoyed myself with this sparky piece of writing from Billy Elliot scribe Lee Hall.
More accurately, I fell totally in love with it at the interval, the first half having moved me to tears on more than one occasion and being about as well written as I think anything could. The play is based on the true-life story of a group of gruff Northumbrian miners whose interest in painting, initially stoked by a less-than-successful art appreciation class, leads them to start creating their own art which, unexpectedly, over the coming years becomes highly regarded by the establishment.