The Fool has the last word in Paul Morel’s solo King Lear at Helmsley Arts Centre

Told by a Fool: Paul Morel in his one-man King Lear

ARMED with only a drum, a guitar, a knife and a chair, Oddbodies’ inventive, irreverent one-man account of Shakespeare’s King Lear is told from The Fool’s point of view at Helmsley Arts Centre on June 18.

Writer and performer Paul Morel brings all the characters from this sad and sorry tale to glorious life, from the bipolar Lear to the bastard Edmund, haughty Goneril to poor deluded Gloucester, oily Oswald to sweet Cordelia and mad Tom, in a fast, funny, poignant and ultimately heart-breaking production.

Directed by John Mowat with Oddbodies’ trademark physical ingenuity and visual flair, this “simple but deeply complex” reworking of Shakespeare’s tragedy is “something of a miniature masterpiece; a brilliantly entertaining and frequently astonishing evening; a tour de force of physical theatre,” says poet Christopher James.

Tickets for the 7.30pm performance are on sale on 01439 771700 or at helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Why Luke Adamson’s Twelfth Night will be at sixes and sevens on a Selby rugby field

Director Luke Adamson and actor Martha Godber in rehearsal at Selby RUFC for JLA Productions’ Twelfth Night

“I’M just getting in touch to announce that we’re doing some Shakespeare on a rugby pitch in Selby in August. Crazy? Perhaps. But it’s going to be fun!”, teases the email from Luke Adamson.

The Selby actor, writer, London pub theatre boss and son of former England squad fly half Ray Adamson will be returning to the scene of his “greatest triumphs” – two times winner of Selby Rugby Club’s Stars in Their Eyes competition, no less – to present Twelfth Night on August 20 and 21.

Adapted and directed by Adamson, his raucous musical version of “Shakespeare’s funniest play” will be staged on Selby RUFC turf by JLA Productions with Adamson as the foppish comic foil Sir Andrew Aguecheek in a cast rich with acting talent from York, Selby, Leeds and Hull, who began rehearsals at the rugby club on Monday this week.

Luke’s good friend from York youth theatre days, John Holt-Roberts, frontman of boisterous York band Hyde Family Jam, will play Sir Toby Belch; Millie Gaston, Maria; Martha Godber, playwrights John and Jane’s daughter, Olivia, and Imogen Ruby Little, Viola.

Emilio Encinoso-Gil and Imogen Ruby Little in a tender scene in rehearsal for Twelfth Night

Double-barrelled Emilio Encinoso-Gil will be on double duty as Feste and Orsino; likewise Aidan Thompson-Coates, for Sebastian and Malvolio.

Twelfth Night is the Shakespeare one where identical twins Sebastian and Viola are separated at sea after their ship sinks. When Viola washes up on the shores of Illyria, she must disguise herself as a man to gain employment with the local Duke, Orsino.

In a nutshell, as Luke puts it: “Orsino is in love with Olivia; Olivia is in love with Viola (who she thinks is a man called Cesario); Malvolio thinks Olivia is in love with him; Viola is in love with Orsino (who also thinks she is a man called Cesario).

“Antonia is in love with Sebastian; Sir Andrew is trying to woo Olivia; Feste is stirring the pot and Sir Toby Belch and Maria are getting drunk and making mischief.”

Millie Gaston, as Maria, and John Holt-Roberts, as Sir Toby Belch, in rehearsal for Twelfth Night

Ah, yes, that one! “Out go pantaloons, cross garters and big fluffy collars,” says Luke. “In come yellow and black rugby socks, cricket jumpers and questionable facial hair for a fast, funny, family-friendly show filled with slapstick comedy, famous songs and more than a few modern references.”

Luke, artistic director of JLA Productions and The Bridge House Theatre, in London SE20, is no stranger to the Selby RUFC pitches. He once played scrum half alongside his formidable fly-half father Ray, who toured Australia and Fiji as part of England’s squad in 1988.

“It was for Selby fifth team,” recalls Luke, who later returned to the ground on a Sunday afternoon in July 2017 as part of the squad for Leeds company Slung Low’s free Selby Arts Festival performance of Lisa Holdsworth’s Rugby Songs: the show with headsets for the crowd, first staged at assorted Yorkshire grounds during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Ray reached the rugby heights, not only as a player for Wakefied but also as a referee, and Luke showed promise too. “I played in the North Yorkshire squad for one season in my age group, but by then I was starting to go to youth theatre in York and I knew that was the route I wanted to go down, but I did still play that season with the Selby fifths with my dad in 2006-2007,” he recalls.

Ray Adamson, Wakefield and Selby fly half, 1988 England squad member and actor Luke’s father, in his playing days

Now he will return to Selby RUFC for all the fun and games of Twelfth Night. “Initially I was contacted by Selby rugby club because they were looking at diversifying their programme after recent events,” says Luke.

“During the lockdowns, the bar couldn’t open for hospitality, and there was no rugby being played, but they still had to support the clubhouse, the ground staff, so they were looking at fundraising.

“They asked me if I’d be interested in doing a show and I said, ‘Absolutely! Yes!’. My mind went straight back to when I’d done Permanently Bard pub theatre in collaboration with Fullers.”

Over three years, Permanently Bard took Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night to pubs in London and the south. “I just thought it was a very informal, very relaxed and anarchic way to perform, giving the opportunity to play with people, when normally they would never go to their local theatre, but hopefully they would go to their local pub, and if something was on, they’d happily pay for it,” recalls Luke. “They loved it!”

Aidan Thompson-Coates having a Malvolio moment during rehearsals for Twelfth Night

Rather than performing in the Selby clubhouse, Luke and his company will be taking to the grass, entering the pitch from exactly where the first XV does. “The outdoor show will suit all ages,” he says. “There’ll be stuff for older ages, and stuff that children will like as Twelfth Night is the perfect starter play with a lovely plot and fun characters.

“We’re trimming it down to 90 minutes plus interval, and we’ll be performing with our native accents, but the key thing is to do it with clarity, cutting out the things that may have been clever wordplay in Shakespeare’s time but don’t work now.

“There’s room for adlibbing with the audience too, certainly for Feste; we’ll be adding original music by Stefan Galt to complement Shakespeare’s songs, and the scale of the show will be epic but simultaneously intimate!”

As for giving a nod to the rugby setting, “We might even have some tackle shields as part of the set,” promises Luke.

JLA Productions in Twelfth Night, Selby Rugby Union Football Club, August 20, kick-off, 7.30pm; August 21, 2.30pm, 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale at jlaproductions.co.uk with discounts available for family bookings.

Perfect pitch! Luke Adamson, left, and fellow Slung Low cast members Sally Ann Staunton, Nadia Imam and Tyron Maynard for Rugby Songs, performed at Selby RUFC in July 2017

Copyright of The Press, York

Scrum down for Luke Adamson’s fun and games with Twelfth Night at Selby RUFC

A variation on Malvolio’s cross-gartered stocking theme: Yellow and black rugby socks for Luke Adamson’s version of Twelfth Night on the Selby RUFC pitch

“I’M just getting in touch to announce that we’re doing some Shakespeare on a rugby pitch in Selby in August. Crazy? Perhaps. But it’s going to be fun!”, promises the email from Luke Adamson.

The Selby actor, London pub theatre boss and son of former England squad fly half Ray Adamson will be returning to the scene of his “greatest triumphs” – two times winner of Selby Rugby Club’s Stars in Their Eyes competition, no less – to present Twelfth Night on August 20 and 21.

Adapted and directed by Adamson, his raucous, musical version of “Shakespeare’s funniest play” will be staged on Selby RUFC turf by JLA Productions with Adamson as the foppish comic foil Sir Andrew Aguecheek in a cast rich with Yorkshire acting talent.

Twelfth Night is the Shakespeare one where identical twins Sebastian and Viola are separated at sea after their ship sinks. When Viola washes up on the shores of Illyria, she must disguise herself as a man in order to gain employment with the local Duke, Orsino.

“Filled with slapstick comedy, famous songs and more than a few modern references, our Twelfth Night promises to be a fast, funny, family-friendly show for all ages,” says Luke Adamson, Selby actor-director and former Selby RUFC fifth team scrum half

In a nutshell, “Orsino is in love with Olivia; Olivia is in love with Viola (who she thinks is a man called Cesario); Malvolio thinks Olivia is in love with him; Viola is in love with Orsino (who also thinks she is a man called Cesario),” runs the plot.

“Antonia is in love with Sebastian; Sir Andrew is trying to woo Olivia; Feste is stirring the pot and Sir Toby Belch and Maria are getting drunk and making mischief.”

Ah, yes, that one! “Out go pantaloons, cross garters and big fluffy collars,” says Luke. “In come rugby socks, cricket jumpers and questionable facial hair. Filled with slapstick comedy, famous songs and more than a few modern references, it promises to be a fast, funny, family-friendly show for all ages.”

Luke, artistic director of JLA Productions and The Bridge House Theatre, in London SE20, is no stranger to the Selby RUFC pitches. He once played scrum half alongside his fly-half father Ray, who toured Australia and Fiji as part of England’s squad in 1988.

Perfect pitch! Luke Adamson and fellow Slung Low cast members Sally Ann Staunton, Nadia Imam and Tyron Maynard for Rugby Songs, performed at Selby RUFC in July 2017

“It was for Selby  fifth team” recalls Luke, who later returned to the ground on a Sunday afternoon in July 2017 as part of the squad for Leeds company Slung Low’s free Selby Arts Festival performance of Lisa Holdsworth’s Rugby Songs: the show with headsets for the crowd, first staged at assorted Yorkshire grounds during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Luke knew Slung Low director Alan Lane from doing Blood + Chocolate with him in York in 2013 and festival director David Edmunds from when his Dep Arts organisation helped him to  tour One Last Waltz, a play about Alzheimer’s.

“The prospect of doing a show with rugby songs at rugby club grounds was something I wanted to get involved with, so I contacted Alan,” he says.

“I’d played Rugby Union since junior days, as a scrum half, starting at seven years old, and my dad went on tour with England in 1988, when he was playing for fly half and full back for Wakefield, and he was also in the squad for the Five Nations, so it was interesting when the script came through, with stories such as when England fans first sang Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, at Twickenham that year.”

Ray Adamson, Wakefield and Selby fly half, 1988 England squad member and actor Luke’s father, in his playing days

Chris Oti, England’s black winger, had scored a second-half hattrick of tries that March afternoon in a 35-3 victory, prompting the Twickenham throng to burst into their tribute song. “‘I was there’, my dad said. ‘What, you were in the crowd?’ I asked him. ‘No, I was on the England bench’!”

Ray reached the rugby heights, first as a player then as a referee, and Luke showed promise too. “I played in the North Yorkshire squad for one season in my age group, but by then I was starting to go to youth theatre in York and I knew that was the route I wanted to go down, but I did play a season with the Selby fifths with my dad in 2006-2007,” he recalls.

The July 2017 sold-out performance took place on Selby RUFC’s first-team pitch with the crowd on the touchlines, hearing every note and story behind each national song, from New Zealand’s Haka to South Africa’s Shosholoza, through hi-tech headphone technology, the trademark of Slung Low’s outdoor productions.

Luke, who appeared in the 2015 production too, performed with Nadia Imam, Tyron Maynard and Sally Ann Staunton, each kitted in myriad national rugby shirts.

The post for JLA Productions’ Twelfth Night at Selby RUFC

“Doing it in the middle of summer, it was so hot as we each had to have six jerseys on at one point – and we had to make sure we’d all got them on in the right order,” he says Luke.

The Kiwis’ Haka is traditionally the most fearsome sight and sound in world rugby, but Luke fondly remembers that not being the case on that Sunday afternoon. “I’m not sure it’s quite as intimidating when you have just four actors,” he concedes. “But the message was very profound and philosophical about life and death.”

Now he will return to Selby RUFC, for all the fun and games of Twelfth Night, later this summer.

JLA Productions in Twelfth Night, Selby Rugby Union Football Club, August 20, 7.30pm; August 21, 2.30pm, 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale at jlaproductions.co.uk with discounts available for family bookings.

More Things To Do in and around York before and after Johnson’s “Terminus Est”. List No. 37, courtesy of The Press, York


A fight for survival as sex, power, money and race collide on a hot night: Sophie Robinson as Julie in New Earth Theatre and Storyhouse’s Miss Julie at York Theatre Royal

FREEDOM Day is delayed but Boris Johnson has reached for the Latin dictionary again with his promise of “Terminus Est”.  Meanwhile, back in the real world, life goes on in Charles Hutchinson’s socially distanced diary.

Play of the week ahead: Miss Julie, The Love Season at York Theatre Royal, June 22 to 26

ON the Chinese New Year in 1940s’ Hong Kong, the celebrations are in full swing when Julie, the daughter of the island’s British governor, crashes the servants’ party downstairs.

What starts as a game descends into a fight for survival as sex, power, money and race collide on a hot night in the Pearl River Delta in British-Hong Kong playwright Amy Ng’s adaptation of Strindberg’s psychological drama in New Earth Theatre and Storyhouse’s new touring production. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Reopening today: Leeds Grand Theatre auditorium will be welcoming an audience for the first time in 15 months

Reopening of the day: Leeds Grand Theatre

WHEN Leeds Grand Theatre first opened its doors on Monday, November 18 1878, a playbill declared it would “Positively Open”. Now, after 15 months under wraps, it is “Positively Reopening” today (17/62021) for a socially distanced run of Northern Ballet’s Swan Lake until June 26.

In Northern Ballet‘s emotive retelling, Anthony’s life is haunted by guilt after the tragic loss of his brother. When he finds himself torn between two loves, he looks to the water for answers.

There he finds solace with the mysterious swan-like Odette as the story is beautifully reimagined by David Nixon, who will be leaving the Leeds company after 20 years as artistic director in December. Box office: 0113 243 0808 or at boxoffice@leedsheritagetheatres

Abba Mania: Saying thank you for the superSwedes’ music at York Racecourse on June 26

Staying on track: Sounds In The Grounds, Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse, June 25 to 27

JAMBOREE Entertainment presents three Covid safety-compliant Sounds In The Grounds concerts next weekend with socially distanced picnic patches at York Racecourse.

First up, next Friday, will be Beyond The Barricade, a musical theatre celebration starring former Les Miserables principals; followed by Abba Mania next Saturday and the country hits of A Country Night In Nashville next Sunday.

Opening each show will be York’s party, festival and wedding favourites, The New York Brass Band. Tickets are on sale at soundsinthegrounds.seetickets.com or at the gate for last-minute decision makers.

The poster for the return of the York River Art Market

Welcome back: York River Art Market, Dame Judi Dench Walk, York, from June 26

AFTER the pandemic ruled out all last year’s live events, York River Art Market returns to its riverside railing perch at Dame Judi Dench Walk, by Lendal Bridge, for ten shows this summer in the wake of the winter’s online #YRAMAtHome, organised by Charlotte Dawson.

Free to browse and for sale will be work by socially distanced, indie emerging and established artists on June 26, July 3, 24, 25 and 31 and August 1, 7, 14, 21 and 28, from 10.30am to 5.30pm, when YRAM will be raising funds for York Rescue Boat.

On show will be landscape and abstract paintings; ink drawings, cards and prints; jewellery and glass mosaics; woodwork and metalwork; textiles and clothing and artisan candles and beauty products.

Alexander Wright: Contemplating his debut solo performance of poems, stories and new writing on July 10. Picture: Megan Drury

He’s nervous, but why? Alexander Wright: Remarkable Acts Of Narcissism, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington, near York, July 10, 7.30pm

LET Alex tell the story: “In a potentially remarkable act of narcissism, I am doing a solo gig of my own work in a theatre I built (with Phil Grainger and dad Paul Wright) in my back garden. 

“It’s the first time I have ever done a solo gig. I write lots of stuff, direct lots of stuff, tour Orpheus, Eurydice & The Gods to hundreds of places. But I’ve never really stood in front of people and performed my own stuff, on my own, for an extended period. So, now, I am…and I’m nervous about it.”

Expect beautiful stories, beautiful poems and a few beautiful special guests; tickets via atthemill.org.

Ringmaster and Dame Dolly Donut in TaleGate Theatre’s Goldilocks And The Three Bears at Pocklington Arts Centre

Summer “pantomime”? Yes, in TaleGate Theatre’s Goldlilocks And The Three Bears, Pocklington Arts Centre, August 12, 2.30pm

ALL the fun of live family theatre returns to Pocklington Arts Centre this summer with Doncaster company TaleGate Theatre’s big top pantomime extravaganza.

In Goldilocks And The Three Bears, pop songs, magic and puppets combine in a magical adventure where you are invited to help Goldilocks and her mum, Dame Dolly Donut, save their circus and rescue the three bears from the evil ringmaster. For tickets, go to: pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys: Headliners to be found at The Magpies Festival in Sutton-on-the-Forest in August

Festival alert: The Magpies Festival, Sutton Park, Sutton-on-the-Forest, near York, August 14, music on bar stage from 1.30pm; main stage, from 2.30pm

SAM Kelly & The Lost Boys will headline The Magpies Festival in the grounds of Sutton Park.

Confirmed for the folk-flavoured line-up too are: Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra; Blair Dunlop; fast-rising Katherine Priddy; The Magpies; York musician Dan Webster; East Yorkshire singer-songwriter Katie Spencer; the duo Roswell and The People Versus. Day tickets and camping tickets are available at themagpiesfestival.co.uk/tickets.   

A variation on Malvolio’s cross-gartered stocking theme: Yellow and black rugby socks for Luke Adamson’s version of Twelfth Night on the Selby RUFC pitch

Fun and games combined: JLA Productions in Twelfth Night, Selby Rugby Union Football Club, August 20, 7.30pm; August 21, 2.30pm, 7.30pm

“I’M just getting in touch to announce we’re doing some Shakespeare on a rugby pitch in Selby in August. Crazy? Perhaps. But it’s going to be fun!” promises Luke Adamson, Selby-born actor, London theatre boss and son of former England squad fly half Ray.

Adapted and directed by Adamson, a raucous, musical version of “Shakespeare’s funniest play”, Twelfth Night, will be staged with Adamson as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in a cast rich with Yorkshire acting talent.

Out go pantaloons and big fluffy collars, in come rugby socks, cricket jumpers and questionable facial hair. Box office: jlaproductions.co.uk.

Stephen Joseph Theatre to host online script-reading sessions on Wednesdays

Chelsey Gillard: Stephen Joseph Theatre associate director

THE Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, is to run a series of online script-reading sessions from January 20.

“We do these regularly, with a different theme each time,” says press officer Jeannie Swales. “They have a devoted following and usually sell out really quickly.”

Running on Wednesdays from 11.30am to 1.30pm for five weeks, the fun sessions will dive into five classic comedies: Aristophanes’s Lysistrata on January 20; William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, January 27; Moliere’s Tartuffe, February 3; Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals, February 10, and Georges Feydeau’s A Flea In Her Ear, February 17.

The sessions will look at how comedic theatre can pack a political punch, offer blistering satire and deliver a good night out. 

Participants will read sections of the plays aloud and work with Carne Trust associate director Chelsey Gillard to consider their themes, stories, writing styles and historical context in a relaxed discussion.

Digital copies of the plays will be provided. Participants will be given a Zoom link to join the online session each week once they have made a booking at sjt.uk.com.