Review: SparkPlug, HOME Manchester
5.0Overall Score

SparkPlug could be simply described as the story of a young man who is desperately seeking some validation in his family life. However, to describe this play as just a ‘story’ would be an absolute disservice to all those involved in bringing this masterpiece to fruition. This play is 80 minutes of pain, happiness and anger, all seen through the eyes of David – a man who is struggling with his true identity and the withering relationship he has with his family.

David is brought to life by David Judge, an actor that should be on everyone’s radar. Judge portrays this man and everyone in his life in such a compelling manner, that he captivates the entirety of HOME’s smaller theatre on opening night from the beginning to the end of this one-man work of art.

Judge keeps audience members on the edges of their seats as he seamlessly transitions between characters. In one moment he is David, and the next he’s Angela, David’s younger sister who is struggling to find a balance between being a mother and being a lost soul. Judge isn’t just an actor at face value either, every character has its own personality and way of manoeuvring around the stage. Every time he appears as someone new we are hooked, and pulled to a different place through the idea of a new character.

The storyline is expertly written by Judge, whose vision is spot on. He manages to capture what life is truly like when growing up in and around Manchester. Every place David goes to and every line Judge delivers is so thoughtfully considered, and it shows. Each word that is spoken has me on tenterhooks waiting for the next. Each movement Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder directs is beautifully performed by Judge, as he makes the skeleton of a car seem so ridiculously real, and as he makes David dance around to the absolute scorcher of an accompanying soundtrack (that features quintessential 80’s hits from icons like Rod Stewart) without a care in the world.

This play is Judge’s artistic movement paired with his incredible talent, and the two fit together like chips and gravy. The outcome? Pure bliss.

Since seeing this show, I have raved about it to anyone who will listen, and if you’re lucky enough to witness this piece of genius it won’t be hard to see why. SparkPlug is a beautiful, remarkable piece of theatre, and Judge is one of the best actors I’ve had the pleasure of seeing grace the stage. This play is outstanding from start to finish. You need to see it.

SparkPlug is playing until 23 February. For more information and tickets, visit the HOME Manchester website.