It’s not often I tear up. Emotion is a hard thing to act well. But when you feel part of the story, like you know the characters, know their families, their back stories, their pain and their hardship, it’s hard to turn off. It’s hard to disengage when the casting is so fantastic and the acting is just so, so realistic.

‘We Anchor in Hope’ immerses you in the action. You literally are a fly on the wall. The local’s pub is closing down – change comes to all of us whether we want it or not. And this gives us an opportunity to reflect, to reminisce, to wonder and maybe wish we’d done things differently.

Friendships born over the bar, spilling out over pints and years, weave and wander creating relationships, obligations, ties akin to family – and yet not quite. The pub is a sanctuary, but it also descends into a deep, dark place of hostility and rage. Jealousy and lies stitched over the reality of what we think we know about someone.

On the surface, Anna Jordan has written an enormously funny, bittersweet play – but beneath that shiny, alcoholic veneer, it’s a gibbering, gobbling wreck of raw human emotion that makes you wince and want to cry. Trust me, once you’ve watched this, you will never ever enter a pub and look at people the same way again.

Layers. This production has so many layers – from the haunting and humorous monologues to the high octane scenes, it’s a remarkable testament to Chris Sonnex’s directorial skills to make it so fluid and so natural.

This is a production of our times, about our times. It’s so sad, but happy, deep yet superficial, loving and loathing. In all, this is the true insight of life in a local’s pub – and we should feel ashamed they’re closing down.

Reviewer: Samantha Collett

Reviewed: 3rd October 2019

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★