Residents of Dewsbury’s Moorside estate have reacted with shock and anger to news that a controversial new musical based on the disappearance of Shannon Matthews is set to debut in Yorkshire next month.
Kunt and the Gang have announced that they will perform ‘Shannon Matthews the Musical’ at the Lending Room in Woodhouse, Leeds on July 23 at 6.30pm and 9.30pm. The musical will be performed in its entirety at the Edinburgh Fringe and follows the story of Shannon’s disgraced mother, Karen, who has been imprisoned for kidnapping her in a bizarre and cruel plot to claim a reward.
The fictional show is based on media research but will refer to events “wholly fictional or drawn from the writer’s imagination”, according to the show’s description. His Leeds dates have already sold out.
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People living on the Moorside estate, where Shannon was living with her family at the time of her disappearance almost 15 years ago, today (Friday) described the musical as ‘in bad taste’ with a few questions: ‘ Why would you joke about something like this?”
The show’s opening number, titled “Can’t Work, Won’t Work”, sees the characters brag about not having a job. He understands the lyrics: “I can’t work, I won’t work. To tell the truth, I’m thrilled. I can’t work, I won’t work. To live my unemployed life.”
Sheri Khan, who lives on Moorside Road, said the lyrics don’t paint an accurate picture of the estate. “It’s not right,” he said. “This area is not what it was ten years ago. Everyone has changed, people are working. I have my own business. They shouldn’t say people here aren’t working. is outdated and we have to stop with all this. ****.”
Sheri said that creating a musical about Shannon’s disappearance was not for her. “They shouldn’t. We don’t know what that poor girl went through. They shouldn’t make music about her; they should have thought of her.
“If she listens to this music somehow, what is she going to think? She might have flashbacks.”
The company owner added that people should “forget” what happened to the estate almost 15 years ago. “People have moved on,” he said. “People who lived here moved out. People should forget about all that. Why do people still talk about it? I don’t understand !
Craig Day described the lyrics to “Can’t Work, Won’t Work” as “disgusting”. He said Yorkshire Live: “It’s very stereotypical. I probably have more money than them!” Asked about the musical as a whole, Craig added: “It wasn’t Shannon’s fault. Why would you joke about something like that? I’ve lived here all my life and this area was bad, but that’s not the case now.”
But he admitted he could understand why some people go to see the show. “Some people might find it funny,” he said.
Graham Farley, 56, was living on the estate at the time of Shannon’s disappearance. He said: “I don’t think it’s tasteful at all. I don’t think what happened should be disguised as a musical. I think it sheds light on a very serious situation.”
Graham said Shannon’s disappearance often “occurs” when he speaks to people who live outside Dewsbury. “I’m sure a lot of people on the estate will tell you that if you go overseas, or if you go out of the area and say you’re from Dewsbury, people connect the place to Shannon Matthews. And these are people who have never been here.”
After seeing the lyrics to the musical’s opening number, Graham said, “There couldn’t be anything further from the truth. People try and I know a lot of people in the business who are hard-core hangers-on. .”
Shannon Matthews disappeared for more than three weeks before being found by West Yorkshire police at the foot of a sofa bed just a mile from her home. Her disappearance sparked one of West Yorkshire’s biggest police manhunts and saw property group Dewsbury Moor come together to search for the schoolgirl.