Rita, Sue, Bob, and Another Great Turnout

Earthy film grips audiences at Stalybridge Town Cinema’s third screening

It was a case of ‘once, twice, three times a full house’ for Stalybridge Town Cinema’s showing of Rita, Sue and Bob Too on the 22 September. Though the film had had attracted negative reviews for its raunchiness or coarse language, it was generally well received by the people of Stalybridge that Tuesday night.

Attracting the most attention was an exhilarating fight scene before the interval (and after that, you really needed another pint or an ice cream). Also the scene where Bob’s wife (played by Lesley Sharp) stamped on his jacket, after finding out about his philandering (which we in the audience knew otherwise). Going down well was Hosepipe Harry (Paul Hedges), a silent character whose running joke involved a garden implement. (I shall leave that to your imagination).

With all travails of life covered as well as its (oft-mentioned raunchiness), the film has many highs and lows. It pulls no punches in showing two sides of Bradford and surrounding area. One part where Rita and Sue lives, embattled by deprivation, plus the ‘joys’ of living in Thatcher’s Britain (with a side serving of pickles at Hall Ings). That of the boarded up flats and overcrowded classrooms compared with Bob’s neck of the woods. The Barratt-esque homes of the nouvelle riche with new cars and fitted kitchens – 1986’s answer to Gideon’s Hardworking People®.

For some people, the scenes of domestic violence, Rita and Sue “having a jump” with Bob may be too over facing. Apart from its mix of raunchiness and some humorous parts, it is a pretty good document of 1980s Northern England under Thatcher. I was seven when Rita, Sue and Bob Too was made (eight on its initial release), and I had had forgotten how grim some parts of England were in that decade. (And it could be like this again in 2020, only with smartphones and fracking drills).

Befitting a less bleaker vision of Yorkshire, next month’s film, Little Voice, is set in Scarborough and Filey. Based on Jim Cartwright’s play entitled The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, it is centred around L.V. (played by Jane Horrocks), her domineering mother (Brenda Blethyn) and talent scout Ray Say (Michael Caine). Her mimicry of Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Gracie Fields is seen as a bankable asset by her mother and Ray Say, much to her alacrity.

As you would expect, seats are available for £4.00 a ticket. The newly introduced booth seats and table seats, £25.00 (up to eight people) and £15.00 (up to five people) respectively. All tickets available from participating local shops or on the night. Thankfully, The Mighty Stalybridge Celtic have no evening fixture planned on the 20 October.

A Christmas Cracker

With Stalybridge Town Cinema’s continued popularity, one of its future showings could outgrow Judge’s Bar. Planned for the 05 December (also St. Nicholas’ Day, observed in most parts of mainland Europe) is a special Saturday night showing of Mamma Mia!.

Starring Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried and Meryl Streep, 2008’s box office smash could be screened in Stalybridge Civic Hall. Details of ticket prices have yet to be confirmed, though doors may be open at 7pm for a 7.30 pm start.

Furthermore, Stalybridge Town Cinema’s presentation will be the version with lyrics on the bottom of the screen.  1970s garb and a few Christmas decorations is desirable though not essential. Given the cold long nights, one of their new £25.00 fleeces with ‘Neighbourhood Cinema’ could be a good purchase.

No matter what time of the season, you can be sure of a warm reception at Stalybridge Town Cinema. The last three showings have been met with appreciative audiences. Little Voice is likely to continue the trend for some time next month.

Little Voice (cert. 15), on Tuesday 20 October, will be the next film at Stalybridge Town Cinema. Doors are open from 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

S.V., 23 September 2015.

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