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The Crack Magazine

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Inside Knowledge

Ric Renton (pictured) has drawn on the time he spent in prison for his performance piece ‘One Off’, which is one of the most astonishing things you’re likely to see all year.

Three young men – Knox, Brown and Shepherd – are locked up in a prison that has the highest suicide rate in the country. Energised by their friendship, but haunted by the repeated pronouncements of another life lost, they note the arrival of a nightwatchman, Jock, who offers Shepherd an unexpected way through the darkness. ‘One Off’ was written by Ric Renton, who was born in Denton Burn. He went on to have a troubled upbringing, which eventually saw him spending his young adulthood in prison. But while in HMP Durham he learned to read and write. And that ability to articulate his thoughts, through writing, has resulted in this piece, which is rich with emotion – and insight – and shot through with the blackest of humours. Renton himself plays Shepherd in this production, which is a real tour-de-force and one of the highlights of the autumn theatrical season. GM

One Off, 10-26 November, Live Theatre, Newcastle, 7.30pm (2pm mats 12, 17, 19, 24, 26 November; also 4pm 20 November), £10-£24 (concs from £6). www.live.org.uk

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