Review Of The Brilliant New Play ‘The Rise and Fall of a Northern Star’ by Stella Grundy
Stella Grundy used to sing for Intastella. In the past few years she has become a brilliant playwright and actress, first with her touching and powerful play about Nico and now with her new play, ‘Star’, which is about the rise and fall of a Mancunian singer.
A dark and powerful piece it deals in the underside of fame and drugs and the sexist music industry in a gritty and utterly captivating work that is brilliantly scripted and acted by Stella.
Geo Amendolera fell under the play’s spell and sent us a review.
Rising and Falling…
I don’t do reviews, I don’t like the idea of the critic being the arbiter of something that they don’t create. If I don’t like something I will just accept it for what it is and leave it be. What I’m about is experience, sharing my experience.
So I walk into the old Refuge Assurance building which is now a swanky hotel, a change from the King’s Head boozer in Salford where I saw this piece performed for the first time.
This performance is part of the Louder Than Words Festival and has been cut down by over an hour. There is no bedsit set this time. A simple lectern, a few lights and the room is much, much larger. This adaptation doesn’t lose any of it’s power by being less intimate or by having the lights turned up. It’s all in the script, delivery and performance.
This read through of the play moved me, it held me in its grip the whole way through. Tracy told her story and it was real, it was honest and I didn’t have to suspend disbelief as I was witness to it unfolding before my very eyes.
I’m not going to try to describe Tracy’s story, how could I? only Tracy can do that. You may get the opportunity to see a future performance. All I can suggest is that you take the opportunity if you can.
As for Stella, The writer and actor. I was pretty much blown away by her all round performances, I use the plural as she played lots of characters, all of them independent entities. She delivered all these parts seamlessly.
The music was lush, sublime and fresh to my ears. Stella has her own voice and knows how to play it. The direction and fx were spot on, simple but powerfully adding to the feel, making it real.
I’ve had the honour and privilege of seeing some amazing cultural happenings and seminal moments throughout my life. Today was another one of those days.