Bolton Little Theatre, Hanover Street
Until Saturday

HE may come second from last in the sack race but unlikely hero Henry Pratt is determined to give it a go. 

Bolton Little Theatre’s enjoyable production, based on David Nobbs’ 1983 novel, sees Kev Walsh do a terrific job as the main character who faces ups and downs including bereavement and bullying.

The play begins in Sheffield, in 1935, with the birth of Henry before taking us through to the age of 18.

Kev plays Henry at different ages throughout his life, portraying an endearing character who deals with many upheavals.

Sara Collinson is delightfully funny as his love interest Lorna Arrow, as well as a host of other characters, including Mabel Billington with a particularly amusing scene as Henry tries to woo her.

The light-hearted play sees the rest of the cast playing multiple parts and there are many strong performances including Chrissie Flanigan as flighty Auntie Doris, Donna Cubbage as sniffy Cousin Hilda, Michael Tatman as Henry’s no-nonsense father Ezra and Ruth Morley as kindly teacher Miss Candy.

Keith Brian appears on stage as eight characters, including a comical turn as backwards youngster Billy and a stint as a parrot.

They all do a good job of differentiating between the parts, a cast of eight playing a total of 35 characters, no doubt helped by the variety of costumes.

In between scenes in Second From Last in the Sack Race, video footage from the era shows events in the wider world, a fantastic and interesting element which looked impressive.

My only issue was with the sound which was difficult to hear in a few of the videos, possibly due to the age of the footage, primarily a couple of the sketches where people were talking and so some of the comedy value was lost.

If a working class comedy with plenty of nostalgia is your cup of tea, then race down to Bolton Little Theatre before Saturday to catch the play, directed by Jonathan Broadley.