I went to the opening night of Les Puddings Noir (sic) at Manchester’s Library Theatre. I have seen so many good productions there. For such a small theatre it is so innovative and interesting, but this was an amateur dramatic company (MAD). However, whilst expectations were low, I had a funny feeling that it might be a laugh.
Many have tried and failed to make fun of Lancashire haute-cuisine, and the black pudding from Bury used to be the butt of Bill Oddie, uhm, I mean the butt of jokes by Bill Oddie. Butt nowadays you can find this modern day delicacy in restaurants the world over – Ecky Thump!
Because it was the first night of an amateur production, of course the audience was full of family and friends. A credits VT rolled to announce the play with rapturous applause for every actor (many were kids). As complete neutrals, we thought it would be fun to whoop and holler at random names. I wonder if it spooked them – there were a couple of ropey performances. But on the whole, the production was a stupendous hit. At the curtain the crowd went wild and rightly so. My sides ached, and my eyes watered, and my black pudding swelled. I predict that this will be a worldwide hit one day soon, and movie rights are likely to be worth more than the Full Monty.
Funnily enough, a local (Bury) butcher had taken the opportunity to give away free black puddings – step forward Chadwick’s Original. Tonight I sampled the black pudding (sliced, gently fried in olive oil with an egg) and it was as good as the show named after it. The best black pudding I have ever eaten and all the tastier for being slightly, albeit accidentally, burnt.
So choosing a wine to go with it was a problem. I have been on a world tour of Pinot Noirs recently, to the boredom of many, and I have been thinking of moving on. I have a secret desire to try a few Rieslings but I know so little about the grape.
I like the idea that the 1997 Rheingau Kabinett I found in the fridge was only 9%. Very light and drinkable. I also found it fruity and with a sweetness that complements black pudding in the way that a well delivered line sweetens a sour script.
Les Puddings Noir was mostly well delivered. The two teenage mums (played by Alana Thornton and the awesome Danielle Wrigley) were only marginally eclipsed by James Creer’s hilarious French maid. The writing was the real star, though.