Review: I, Daniel Blake is moving and powerful on Northampton stage
Based on the critically acclaimed film by Ken Loach, this thought-provoking piece of drama hits the Royal stage.
It tells the story of Daniel who befriends a young girl and her daughter in a job centre. They help and support each other when the system they both have to enter fails them.
The driving force behind the show is David Nellist in the title role. He starts off cheery and optimistic, always believing in a better tomorrow but is gradually worn down by the events that happen both to him and the desperation that his new friend Katie is forced into. Nellist gives a very moving performance, making him likeable but without knocking any of the rougher edges off.
It also says a lot for Bryony Corrigan’s versatility as an actress. Fans of comedy will undoubtedly recognise her as one of the ensemble of The Goes Wrong Show. She gives Katie truly believable strength and courage in the adverse circumstances as well as lots of vulnerability.
The show is an incredibly moving one, and you might struggle to suppress a tear towards the end of the show. It says a lot for both the actors that they make the characters so likeable that you care for their struggles.
Nothing perhaps drives the message of this show more than, at the end of an exhausting two hours, David Nellist asking the audience to donate food and hygiene products to various collection points around the theatre.
This is a sad and bleak story and one that at times is a difficult to watch. But it is a story that should absolutely be told and one that doesn’t shy away from the troubling issues that it raised.
I, Daniel Blake, adapted by Dave Johns from the film directed by Ken Loach and written by Paul Laverty, runs at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton until Saturday November 4. It is recommended for ages 14 and above. Tickets for the show can be obtained by visiting royalandderngate.co.uk or by calling 01604 624811.