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Fisherman’s Friends: bursting with joy & energy

When a group of Cornish fishermen came together to perform the traditional songs they’d sung for generations, they didn’t expect it to lead to a record deal and performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.

But that’s the (based-on-fact) story of Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical, which opened at the New Theatre last night (Tuesday 25 October), adapted from the hit 2019 film, which recently spawned a sequel.

This is a superbly polished production – bursting with energy and joy, yet often poignant too, as we explore the power of friendship, community and music.

Parisa Shahmir and Jason Langely are outstanding as the local girl and young music producer visitor, who add romance to the mix.

And a star cast of familiar faces also includes James Gaddas, (who appeared in his self-penned Dracula production at the New Theatre earlier this year, and is well known from TV’s Coronation Street), Robert Duncan (TV’s Drop the Dead Donkey), Anton Stephans (The X Factor) and Cornwall’s own Susan Penhaligon (Bouquet of Barbed Wire).

Written by Amanda Whittington, based on the screenplay by Nick Moorcroft, Meg Leonard, and Piers Ashworth, the play is joyously directed by James Grieve.

The ingenious set design (including a boat moving around the stage) is by Lucy Osborne, who also designed the costumes.

It’s an uplifting night of theatre – something we could all do with these days.

Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical plays at the New Theatre until Saturday (October 29). It is recommended for ages 7-plus because of some swearing and bawdy humour. Tickets are available from the box office 0343 310 0041 or online here.

Review by Ruth Simons

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