What happens when you put a Chinese impersonator, an Irish cleaner and a dominatrix in a room together for a night? No, there isn’t a punch line – this is actually the premise of Charlotte Jones’ play, Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis. Originally premièring at The Octagon Theatre in 1999, the play has been re-vamped and now showing at the Octagon theatre, Bolton in collaboration with Hull Truck theatre. Olivier nominee Charlotte, an established writer for tv, radio, film and theatre, received rave reviews and several awards for Martha, Josie and the Chines Elvis the first time round. Directed by award winning Mark Babych, the play brings together the unlikeliest characters for a 40th birthday party. Josie is joined by her most devout client, Lionel, her daughter Brenda-Marie, her Irish cleaner Martha and last but not least, a Chinese Elvis impersonator called, imaginatively, Timothy Wong. Although, I confess, these probably would not be my first choice of guests, I must remember that this is not my birthday and this is certainly not your average play – and for these guests, this gathering could be life changing. Bringing to the stage Linda Rooke (Coronation Street, Heartbeat, The Arbor) as Josie and Isabel Ford (Emmerdale, Worried About the Boy) as Martha, expect to have your boundaries pushed and your cockles warmed.

Until Sat 2 Apr, Octagon Theatre, Howell Croft South, Bolton, BL1 1SB. Tel: 01204 520661, times and prices vary, https://octagonbolton.co.uk/145/Martha-Josie-and-the-Chinese-Elvis/748

Thu 10 Mar - Sat 2 Apr
Emma Prendergast
Published on:
Thu 31 Mar 2016