Reason to be cheerful, Ian Dury show returns to Ipswich

Graeae are getting ready to hit you with their rhythm stick again.

Reasons to be Cheerful is a high-energy coming-of-age tale celebrating the infectious music of Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

Written by Paul Sirett and directed by the trail-blazing theatre company’s Jenny Sealey, this slightly different version of the show which premiered in Ipswich in 2010 takes us back to 1979.

Labour have lost to the Tories, strikes rock the nation and Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3) climbs the charts.

Vinnie (Stephen Lloyd) has given up college to work so his mother can care for his dying dad. He and mate Colin (Stephen Collins) want to take his father to a Dury gig, but it’s sold out. When tickets finally fall into his hands, events take a suprising turn.

With laughs and tears aplenty, Dury’s music and lyrics are brought to life by a cast of 13 actors and musicians; almost all of them reprising their 2010 roles in numbers also including Plaistow Patricia and Sweet Gene Vincent.

As a disabled activist and musician, Dury was a patron and staunch supporter of Graeae who put deaf and disabled artists centre stage.

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The main story and the songs have not changed since the show’s last visit, some of the script has been tweaked and Jenny says it’s more a play with songs than a pure musical.

“Having said this, Dury’s songs dominate the whole production, so I prefer to describe it as part play, part gig.”

Reasons To Be Cheerful is at the New Wolsey, Ipswich, to February 18.