Home / Comedy / Fetish Knights – The Lowry, Salford

Fetish Knights – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Rob Ellis

Director: Alister Hallum

Reviewer: Clare Boswell



Rob Ellis’s ‘Fetish Knight’s’ has come on quite a journey. Having wowed audiences at Manchester Pride’s Fringe in 2011 and receiving a string of rave reviews in the Lowry Studio revival in 2012, Ellis has once again resurrected his bawdy, crowd – pleasing production.

‘The setting for ‘Fetish Knights’ is the Associates Bar – a male-only venue which to the unwitting Canal Street regulars frequenting more mainstream venues such as Cruz and Via Fossa, is reputed (and slightly a feared) as the ‘dangerous’ club of the Village, inhabited by the most masculine, seedy and leather clad of men. However in reality the world of the Associates Bar is far cosier, with typical conversations revolving around Quiche, Corrie and the declining standard of M&S food.

It is undeniable that Rob Ellis has written a hugely entertaining play. The comedy is sharp and fast paced, with some ingenious gags. However where the writing is slightly less successful is in its attempt at counteracting the laughs with emotional drama, mainly based around the unravelling life of the play’s protagonist Sean-John Parkinson. The sub-plot relationship between Jake and Karl also never seems quite believable and the numerous twists nearing the end of the script are more akin to a ‘Dallas’ re-run than the hard hitting revelations that Ellis appears to be striving for.

Having said this, the 9-strong cast breathe a warmth and likeability into the characters which gets the audience on side from the outset. Bernard Latham, although slightly lacking the razor-sharp comic timing of his predecessor Dean Sullivan, gives one of the most empathetic performances of the evening, as Oncologist Kenneth-Cadbury-Love. Dan Cooper and Neil Ashton both give convincing performances as Karl Jackson and Jake Malone and work hard to flesh out the underdeveloped love-story plot line. However it is Sue Devaney as house-wife turned over-night reality star Janice Spendlove who truly steals the show, with her impeccable stage presence and a performance which would have made Wood and Walters proud.

Alister Hallum’s direction is generally slick and well-paced, and the split-staging works well in conveying the internal and external aspects of the bar effectively. The multi-media elements are executed well and serve as a nice breather from the drama of the ‘Associates Bar’. The physical theatre sequences seem a little contrived and perhaps tighter choreography is needed to make these moments more visually appealing.

Overall, ‘Fetish Knight’s’ is undoubtedly a great night’s entertainment. It’s jam-packed with quotable one-liners and ridiculous characters, and this is certainly where Ellis’s script excels.

Runs until Sat 2nd Feb.


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    Both Sue Devaney and Bernard Latham gave fantastic performances and were far superior to anyone else on the stage. Claire King, Nikki Sanderson and Neil Ashton were very good, both Claire and Nikki only had very small parts, which was a shame and Neil made you really feel for his character. The rest of the performances from the other actors were average, at best. There were too many plot lines and twists and turns in this production which made it plain silly. There was some dancing involved which I cringed at, it was supposed to be fun but most of the cast made no effort and it looked very awkward and wooden. This show has lots of potential, get rid of some of the silly twists and replace some of the cast with more able actors and it could be excellent. I would recommend to go and see for Sue Devaney’s performance alone.

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    We all thoroughly enjoyed the show – this was now the third year we have watched Fetish Knights and this was most certainly the best yet, Fantastic performance by all of the cast involved.
    We had heard lots of positive feedback all week regarding the show and couldnt wait for our visit.
    Sure we are all entitled to our own views but the above thoughts and opinions are a little harsh on the performance.
    Suggest watching a movie at the Vue cinema instead next time and leave your specific critique on a multi – million pound, star studded film like Les Misérables ;)
    The show was superb and we cant wait for another big serving of it …great stuff

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    I saw the show twice last week, and I must say I thought it was fantastic. Rob Ellis’ writing is quite superb. It was fast-paced, punchy, often “lol”-hilarious, and for me, all those twists and turns in the script really seemed to keep the audience on its toes. I’m surprised that anyone can sit on the fence and be ambivalent about this show – surely it’s either “love it” or “hate it” material. If you’re offended by too much swearing, regular sexual references and occasional gay scene “in joke” campery, it’s probably not for you. Let’s face it, it’s a two-hour staged soap opera with a bucket-load of belly laughs thrown in for good measure. If you’re looking for a high-brow intellectual night out, then pop to your local branch of MENSA for a game of bingo instead. That said, the play was not just about the laughter: the very poignant moment involving Sean & Ken, the charming love story which was chock-full of sexual tension, and that heartbreaking video sequence at the end all added to make the humour (especially some of the “just on the edge of taste” one-liners) all the more laudable.
    Everyone has singled out Sue Devaney’s performance, which was scene-stealingly funny. I also want to congratulate Neil Ashton and Dan Hooper for their heart-warming portrayal of two “normal” gay lads on the verge of love, and to Ellis himself, whom I suspect, based the vain, child-like character of Sean on several real-life Manchester Village-goers…
    I sincerely hope this is not the end for this intriguing production – it really deserves to be seen outside the Manchester environs.

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    Richiard Arrowsmith

    Had a great night.
    Absolutely loved Fetish Knights to bits.
    Amazing show.
    Amazing cast..
    Loved it.

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    Okay so here is the truth about Fetish Knights……

    It was absolutely fantastic!!!The cast were all amazing and a joy to watch!! Rob Ellis is a genius and his writing is second to none.
    The new cast members Dan Hooper who played Karl the barman and Bernie Latham who played Kenneth Cadbury-Love are a credit to themselves and were simply a joy to watch!Very clever casting!!
    Neil Ashton,Claire King,Carly Hariss-Sutcliffe,Mark Sheals,Rob Ellis and last but not least Sue Devaney were also incredible. Each actor brought something special to the show and i honestly didnt want it to end! Ive watched Fetish Knights from the very begining and i can honestly say the 3rd time around has easily been the best and i will definately be booking tickets again!!

    However its quite obvious to me that the negative comments above are very personal and are simply not true. The play was truly fantastic.I agree everyone is entitle to their own opinion but this is a pure personal attack on individuals and i think whoever you are you should be ashamed of yourselves.I was at the show opening night and the final night and everybody in the audience which was sold out by the way were laughing with tears through the 1 liners and jokes and were crying tears throughout the beautiful love story

    Well ive said my piece and i really hope to see the amazing Fetish Knights on stage somewhere very soon.

    Peter Richardson

  6. The Public Reviews

    Several comments have been removed, as it transpires that they are all from the same person.

  7. Avatar

    I absolutely loved this. I caught it on the off-chance and think it definitely has the legs to travel. Please bring it to London – my friends would LOVE IT!!!

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    Jennifer Brown

    I loved it. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, simply because it had more depth and sensitivity to the characters, so I was genuinely moved by it. And yes, it was funny too – Sue Devaney is brilliant – and the script was tight and witty. It was a great night’s entertainment. – Jennifer Brown