A play about muscle squeezer ‘Purple Aki’ is coming to Salford

The Manchester-born bodybuilder is notorious throughout the North West...

Georgina Pellant Georgina Pellant - 11th August 2023

A play about the infamous muscle squeezer Akinwale Arobieke, aka Purple Aki, is coming to Salford next month.

Notorious across the North West for his bizarre requests, the story of Purple Aki is something of an urban legend.

For North West teens growing up in the 80s and 90s, stories of a man asking to feel their muscles were common and Aki wasn’t considered much more than the butt of a joke – but over the years things took a darker turn.

Often seen carrying his signature plastic bag in hand, in 2006 he was officially banned from asking strangers to perform squats for him or from touching, feeling, and measuring muscles after harassing a number of young people.

Facebook groups were even set up in Manchester dedicated to him, with one called Purple Aki Watch 0161 promising to ‘keep Manchester squat free’, and in 2016 the BBC even made a documentary about him entitled The Man Who Squeezes Muscles – Searching For Purple Aki.


Although Purple Aki was never convicted of a sex offence, he was banned from loitering near schools, gyms, or sports clubs and from entering the towns of St Helens, Warrington, or Widnes without police permission.

In the years that followed, Purple Aki would unsuccessfully attempt to overturn his muscle-squeezing ban, apologise in court to victims for forcing them to perform ‘inverted piggybacks’, and refer to himself as “infamous, notorious, everything from a bogeyman to whatever.”


Now, his story will be brought to life with a show taking place at The White Hotel in Salford this September.

A description for the play reads: “She’s got the time, the curiosity, the resources—and a thirst for true crime. Meet Aki Browne—online sleuth like no other…

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“A one-act play, featuring the hunt for a real-life bogeyman / racist caricature, this is an absurd journey into the obsessive world of a digital detective.”

The Treatment author Michael Nash has called the play a “supercharged drama of love, pursuit and that idea which our culture has done its best to empty of meaning, namely, ‘identity’”, adding: “Collings restores meaning, fiercely, wisely, and above all, with heart.”

Comparing the work to an “ultra-concentrated Moby Dick”, he continues: “The rendering of voices is magnificent and right: this is how the real world sounds! Unlike most writers in this land, Austin Collings is not in breach of the Weeds Act (1959).”

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Due to take place on Thursday 21 September at The White Hotel in Salford, tickets are priced from just £10.

Featured image – BBC