The Paradise Heights series of tales are set somewhere in the psyche of Salford and beyond – possibly on the dark side of Shameless. It's a fictional estate where the characters are larger and harder than life but sprinkled with the magic of theatrical tragedy and a bit of comedy.
In each of writer Joe O'Byrne's Paradise Heights' tales, particular characters off the estate come to the fore, as their story in all its gory glory unfolds on stage and screen. So far, live productions The Bench, I'm Frank Morgan and Rank have been on tour, while I'm Frank Morgan, The Watcher and Lookin' for Lucky have also been produced as short and feature length movies. Joe says that the latest tales in the series, Strawberry Jack and its sequel Torch, are the most ambitious projects yet.
Strawberry Jack centres on one-eyed Strawberry Jack Grundy of The Ace of Spades Nightclub, once the war horse of Paradise Heights, now a shadow of his former self. The play's publicity blurb pumps up the tension to perfection…
…`But the rescue of a girl on the mean streets of Paradise Heights thrusts Jack into a situation he has never faced before, untapped feelings stir, and a frozen heart begins to melt. One Eyed Jacks aren't always lucky; someone wants Jack dead by Christmas. They say Christmas is a time for Angels…a time for miracles. Well Jack may have found his Angel. Now all he needs is a miracle…'
How can anyone miss this???
"I think anyone who sees this will think about Strawberry Jack as each Christmas comes around, there is something of a fairy tale about the piece" says Joe O'Byrne
"We're really pushing the series now with each new project and this is by far the most ambitious and really sets the stage for Torch, the next play in the series" he adds "In Strawberry Jack we finally get to see Frank Morgan's Club The Ace of Spades - well at least the outside of it – Torch will take you inside, it's going to be a touch Dante's Inferno..."
Strawberry Jack also features O'Byrne's first stab (pun intended) at writing lyrics, The Gemini Man, a top torch song with vocals recorded by Stella Grundy (click here to hear it). On stage will be a cast featuring Alice Brockway, Ian Curley, Matthew Ganley, Jo Kirkham, Joe O'Byrne and David Edward Robertson.
The Tales from Paradise Heights never disappoint – and Strawberry Jack looks set to be a Christmas cracker…
A Tale From Paradise Heights
Written and directed by Joe O'Byrne
Produced by Ian Curley and Joe O'Byrne
Robert Powell Theatre, Salford University
Allerton Building, Frederick Road Campus
Salford M6 6PU
7th- 10th December 7:30pm
10th December 3pm matinee
Booking line: 07538 275606
For loads more details and updates see Tales From Paradise Heights Blog – click here
See previous Salford Star stories on Joe O'Byrne and Paradise Heights click here - and follow the links in the articles for more …