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A Cold Coming

A Cold Coming was premiered at the Library Theatre, South Shields, on April 3rd - 5th 2007, by Tyneside company KG Productions. This was followed by a short regional tour in autumn 2007.

The cast take a curtain call

The cast (as lined up above for their curtain call): left-to-right Chaz Brenchley (Quin), Sean Kenney (Michael), Viktoria Kay (Debs), Wayne Miller (Zoot), Iain Cunningham (James) and Jill Dellow (Amanda). Not visible: Bill E Meeks (Stuart) and Anne Graydon (Gillian). The Director was Peter Lathan, Production Assistant Noel Conroy and Technical manager Jeff Crowe.

The review of the first run from the Sunderland Echo, as echoed in the Shields Gazette:

Accepting the death of a loved one can be physically and emotionally draining and even more so when it's long and painful.

That's what A Cold Coming deals with - a group of friends rallying around Quin, a man dying of Aids, and the effect it has on their lives.

It's the debut play by north-east writer Chaz Brenchley, who coincidentally accepts the Best Supporting Actor nod for the role of the motionless decaying figure lying centre stage.

Sean Kenney, as Quin's returning boyfriend Michael, gives a certain realism to the role, trying to accept his long-lost partner's condition and how time is quickly running out.

There's the right level of emotion, humour, bickering and story throughout the play, which at 75 minutes has only one act, and doesn't need anything else.

The eight-strong cast all excel in their roles and Brenchley, drawing on his own experiences of looking after a loved one losing their life to the condition, approaches the often taboo subject with passion and clarity.

It's a charming piece of theatre which becomes more intimate in the confines of the dilapidated surroundings of the library theatre.

A Cold Coming never intended to use a big budget, which is why it triumphs.

Read a further review from Sunderland Echo in Chaz'z LiveJournal.

Emily Taylor, writing in the British Theatre Guide, called A Cold Coming "a raw and emotional piece of theatre, which deserves to be seen by many more audiences".

Director Peter Lathan gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the production as a work in progress in his blog (and a second report on rehearsals here). Or read Absent Friends, a hyperfiction in which Chaz Brenchley takes a very different approach to this recurrent theme in his work.

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Photo © Roger Cornwell 2007.