This tale of baking gone bad is very much a slow burn story, with the richness not to be found in the action but in the mannerisms, the wry dialogue, and the uncertain twists.
Set in a 1970s bread factory in Hull, the events – such as they are – concern the seven-man late Sunday shift.
We see them staccato and only on their breaks, and entirely in the drab, oppressive surroundings of the canteen; the constant hum of machinery in the background and the constant hum of everyday drudge in their conversations.
Matthew Kelly takes on the part of Nellie, the simpleton stalwart of the plant, portrayed with vulnerability and control. Simon Greenall – best known in these parts as Alan Partridge’s sidekick Michael – is mostly unrecognisable as fellow worker Cecil, obsessed with sex because he isn’t getting any. Elsewhere Steve Nicholson is the wise but troubled chargehand Blakey, and John Wark stands apart as the eccentric and wide-eyed casual worker Lance, dropped in to the team at the last minute.
The play is not an easy watch, with the first half slow to catch despite some gems in the writing. We do get texture beyond the surface of the 70s stereotype character list, but it is hard won.
The second half rises somewhat, but this is not a play that leaves you easy: for all its comic touches there is a bleakness here, with lives unleavened.
It is a confusing piece, simultaneously nostalgic but disparaging in its depiction of industrial and social situations long gone. I suspect enjoyment of it depends on which way up your toast happens to fall.