Hislop and Newman’s comedy A Bunch Of Amateurs to play York Theatre Royal

A Bunch Of Amateurs writers Ian Hislop, left, and Nick Newman

PRIVATE Eye editor and Have I Got News For You team captain Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s comedy A Bunch Of Amateurs will play York Theatre Royal from June 2 to 6.

What happens in this play? Keen to boost his flagging career, fading Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steele arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford, only to find that he is not in the birthplace of Shakespeare, but in a sleepy Suffolk village.

Instead of starring alongside Sir Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench, the cast members are a bunch of amateurs trying to save their theatre from ruthless developers.

Jefferson’s monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity are tested to the limit by the enthusiastic am-dram thespians who share his spotlight. As acting worlds collide and Jefferson’s career implodes, he discovers some truths about himself and his inner Lear.

After tours of Hislop and Newman’s The Wipers Times and Trial By Laughter, Trademark Touring, Karl Sydow and Anthology Theatre, in association with The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, will be taking A Bunch Of Amateurs on the road from April 23 to July 4.

Hislop and Newman say: “Following successful national tours of The Wipers Times and Trial By Laughter, we are thrilled to be touring the very first play we wrote, A Bunch Of Amateurs:  a love letter to the world of amateur theatre and a celebration of the overweening absurdity of Hollywood stardom.”

A Bunch Of Amateurs will be directed by Robin Herford, whose production of Alan Ayckbourn’s comedy Ten Times Table for impresario Bill Kenwright’s Classic Comedy Theatre Company is running at the Grand Opera House, York, this week.

Herford is best known for directing The Woman In Black, the Stephen Mallatratt stage adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel that he commissioned in 1987 when artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre. The  Woman In Black has been running in the West End for 30 years, always directed by Herford, along with the regular tours.

Tickets for A Bunch Of Amateurs are on sale on 01904 623568, at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk or in person from the Theatre Royal box office.