Bolton Little Theatre stages Crimes of the Heart

Three best friends play three sisters in Bolton Little Theatre’s latest production of ‘Crimes of the Heart‘ on stage next week.

Beth Henley’s award-winning drama follows the story of the three Magrath sisters – ‘Lenny’, ‘Meg’ and ‘Babe’ – who reunite at their grandad’s home as he lies gravely ill.

Abbie Jones, Rebecca Carney and Eleanor Maxwell, who have known each other since childhood, play the three sisters.

“It’s almost cheating at acting to have your close friends playing your sisters,”says Abbie who plays ‘Lenny’, short for Leanora, the eldest of the three sisters.

The Bolton News: Three best friends play three sisters in Bolton Little Theatre’s latest production of ‘Crimes of the Heart‘ on stage next week

“I’ve loved performing alongside Eleanor and Abbie,” adds Rebecca who takes on the role of middle sister ‘Meg’.

“It’s been a joy from start to finish,” added Eleanor as ‘Babe’.

Raised in a dysfunctional family in which ugly predicaments seem to be a common theme, each sister has endured her share of hardship and past resentments bubble to the surface as the sisters are forced to deal with assorted relatives and past relationships.

But one of them has done something terrible.

“I wouldn’t want people to get the wrong idea though,” says Alfie Howard who plays, ‘Barnette Lloyd’, Babe’s lawyer, “It’s not at all a miserable story by any means – it’s both funny and moving at the same time.”

The cast is completed by Kim Armston playing ‘Chick’, the sisters’ cousin, and newcomer Chris Dunn as ‘Meg’s ex-boyfriend ‘Doc Porter’ who can’t quite let her go.

Society stalwart Peter Scofield directs and despite his considerable experience admits to being a little daunted by the task.

He said:“Directing a play with such a pedigree as this one has here at Bolton Little Theatre is always a challenge, but thankfully I’ve been hugely fortunate to have a wonderfully talented and committed cast and crew to work with.”

It’s a wonder the play got to the stage at all – either for BLT or Beth Henley.

Unbeknownst to her, Beth’s friend entered it in a ‘Great American Play Contest’ in 1978 and it ended up as joint winner, resulting in a first production with numerous awards to its credit, including an Oscar for the film adaptation.

BLT’s production has been a long time in coming.

“The plan was to present this wonderful play in May 2020,” explains Peter. “With that in mind we even had one, solitary rehearsal, when the original cast read through the play together, and discovered how good it sounded when we gave voice to the words of the script. Alas, the world of the theatre was shut down – along with so much else – by the Covid pandemic. I’m enormously pleased that, in the end – and in line with that well-known theatrical adage The show must go on, our audiences can now sit back and enjoy what they missed two and a half years ago.”

‘Crimes of the Heart’ runs from Saturday, October 22nd – Saturday, October 29th at Bolton Little Theatre, Hanover Street, Bolton BL1 4TG.

For tickets visit or ring 01204 524469.

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