The Mystery of HUSH HUSH at The Lowry

HUSH HUSH at The Lowry Artwork

We don our best Sherlock gear in an attempt to find out more about HUSH HUSH at The Lowry

Here at Frankly My Dear UK, we love a good mystery so when we heard about The Lowry’s HUSH HUSH performance, we instantly set out to find out more. 

Billed as a “secret performance”, HUSH HUSH forms part of The Lowry’s Pay What You Decide (PWYD) season. Instead of paying for a ticket in advance, audiences are asked to pay what they think the show is worth at the end of the performance. The innovative concept removes the risk for those who want to try something new but are worried they’ll end up paying for a theatre show they may not enjoy.

The Lowry’s PWYD autumn season kicked off last week with WTF WEDNESDAY and Jo Bannon’s ALBA – you can read our review here. But unlike WTF WEDNESDAY in which audiences are told about the performance in advance, on HUSH HUSH nights, the audience know nothing about the show they’re about to watch. To put it simply – it’s a complete shot in the dark.

Yet while we love a secret, we also love a challenge so when The Lowry refused to tell us any more details about HUSH HUSH, we decided to don our best Sherlock Holmes gear and run a little investigation of our own to uncover “The Mystery of HUSH HUSH”.

The Scene

Every good mystery begins with the scene of the crime so the first step of our investigation was to check out the set of HUSH HUSH at The Aldridge Studio. The Aldridge Studio is the smallest of The Lowry’s three theatres and offers tiered seating for up to 150. After sneaking our way up the stairs to the third floor, we tried the Studio door to find it was securely locked. Damn, The Lowry staff are good!

Then we remembered that the Aldridge Studio has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Manchester Ship Canal so we thought we’d try and sneak a peek through the windows (boat trip anyone?) but the blackout curtains were up so once again, there was nothing to be seen. Damn, The Lowry staff are really good!

As a final resort, we thought we’d try to find a sneaky back way in but were caught red handed by The Lowry staff and were swiftly told to “move on” as there is “nothing to see here”. Yep, these guys are pros!

The Suspects

With no information to go on from the scene, the next step in our investigation was grill the suspects. Our first phone call was to Daniel Jarvis, Marketing Manager at The Lowry. “I know nothing” he tells us. “Only a handful of people know actually know what the show is and I’m not one of them”. Hmmm, we’re not sure if we believe you Dan.

So we thought we’d try our luck with Matthew Eames, The Lowry’s Theatres Programmer and Producer. Matt is the brains behind the PWYD concept so surely he’ll be open to sharing a bit of information with us? Nope, his lips are firmly sealed. He does, however, confirm Dan’s story: “Our ingenious marketing team has, much to its chagrin, managed to succeed in selling a show by actively going out of their way not to sell it. We have told no one about it, they don’t even know that the show will be a surprise.”

So what exactly can we expect from HUSH HUSH? ”We want to surprise audiences with something fun” says Matt, “a treat for those who like a bit of mystery”. Thanks for nothing Matt!

The Clues

So, the scene is locked down and the suspects are keeping schtum. The only thing left is to search for our own clues, which basically means scouring the Internet.

Fortunately for us, The Lowry have run HUSH HUSH before so we started by taking a look at what the other mystery performances have been in the hope it’ll give us a clue to the style. Back in June, Laugh and Let Die reviewed a HUSH HUSH performance of POLICE COPS IN SPACE, a mad cap romp with a sci-fi theme. While we know the show isn’t going to be the same, it does give us a bit of an idea of what to expect.

We also managed to dig out some press articles about The Lowry’s PWYD season, including a piece by Matt Eames for The Stage in which he describes the performance as “fun, engaging”, “born of a genuine desire to attract people to try something new” and “attractive to those who like a good night out”.

Put all this together and we’re left with this:

OK, so we’re no Sherlock Holmes and our investigation served us nothing other than to wet our appetite for this week’s HUSH HUSH performance. Looks like this is one mystery that will remain unsolved… well, at least until Friday.

HUSH HUSH is on at The Lowry on Friday 6 October and Friday 17 October 2017.