Review: Wit, Royal Exchange, Manchester

I don’t usually post reviews or articles on the blog but there was something about this beautiful, heart-wrenching play that I felt the need to share.

I was lucky enough to go and see the fabulous Julie Hesmondhalgh perform in Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer winning play, Wit, at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre.

I have seen Hesmondhalgh perform at the Exchange before during her stint in Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster which made me bawl like a baby. Ex-housemate and I had to take ourselves out for a huge glass of wine after that emotional roller coaster. While Wit did have me teary eyed, I managed to keep my compsure a little more and wasn’t driven to the pub!

“Julie Hesmondhalgh always makes me cry. Whether it’s during those last few scenes inCoronation Street when she portrayed Hayley Cropper’s final moments or as Sylvia Lancaster in the heart-wrenching Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster, there’s something about Hesmondhalgh’s performances guaranteed to make me blub like a small child. So when I was offered the chance to review the Lancashire-born actress in a production of Wit at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, I jumped at the chance, a stash of tissues at the ready.

“The attention was flattering. For the first five minutes. Now I know how poems feel.”

Margaret Edson, Wit 

A play about cancer might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Let’s face it, the subject matter is far from light-hearted and there were times when I felt bogged down with grief for the intelligent, lonely woman I saw before me. But don’t let that stop you from seeing this exceptional play, exceptionally performed.

There are stellar performances from cast members, most notably Esh Alladi as Jason, the ambitious and curt medic who once attended Vivian’s poetry class and “loves cancer” because of the research possibilities it affords him. There’s also Jenny Platt as kind-hearted nurse Susie who serves as the human touch, reminding the staunch professor that it is normal to be afraid.

But the stand-out performance belongs to Hesmondhalgh who was utterly superb throughout and once again had me panda-eyed, reaching for the tissues.”

I LOVED this play and urge everyone to grab a ticket immediately. Read my full review here. 

Plus, its about time I pointed you lovely lot in the direction of Northern Soul Magazine where this full review is printed.

If you are a lover of all things northern and want some great tips about things to get up to in our lovely city, then pop on over and give the website a read.

If you love the North, then this is the website for you. Written in the North of England by Northern writers, Northern Soul is a celebration of culture and enterprise, from theatre, music, authors and art to heritage, small businesses, food and leading figures, as well as everything in-between.

Northern Soul Magazine 

Thanks for reading this post and welcome back to my new #itsnotgrimupnorth series! Expect photos, tips and tales!

I’d really love to know what you think about the city and my posts, and if you’ve got any tips for plays, gigs, and hidden treasures around Manchester. 

Remember you can get in touch Twitter @EmmaYatesBadley, Facebook, or drop me an email ( Just look right for details.


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