The York Realist, Sheffield Crucible

As a child my parents took me to pretty much every play that passed through Lincolnshire – well before some of the audience thought it was appropriate for me to be there (since I was only 10) but I imagine taking me along was probably a lot easier than getting a babysitter. I saw comedies, tragedies, classics – the lot, but I always knew which plays were what my mum described as “proper plays”.

A ‘proper play’ is, of course, a decent length with an interval (otherwise it’s not a real night out) but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a story that grabs your attention and characters that throw your emotions all over the place. The kind where you feel a swell of adrenalin when the cast take a bow, like you’ve been part of something fantastic.

I went to see ‘The York Realist’ by Peter Gill at the Crucible on Wednesday night and I can categorically say that it is most definitely a ‘proper play’.

Set simply in a 1960s Yorkshire farm cottage, this story is about relationships and love. The devoted easy love of a man for his mother. Sibling love. Awkward unrequited love. Love of theatre. Love of home. And love of a passionate and exciting kind.

It’s that passion that I was on the edge of my seat waiting for throughout. It got to me. So passionately electric, despite the fact that George (Ben Batt) and John (Jonathan Bailey) barely touched each other. It was the sort of acting, and direction, that deserves huge recognition.

Ben Batt as George and Jonathan Bailey as John in The York Realist. Photo by Johan Persson.-min
Photo provided by Sheffield Theatres

The York Realist is a proper play, with proper dialogue, proper directing and proper acting. It was funny,  warm and heartbreaking. It’s also the first play in a long time that I’m thinking of going to see again. It’s on until 7th April and I’d recommend getting hold of some tickets as soon as you can. Just wonderful.

I received these tickets as complimentary.

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