Fields of Gold at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
By Nick Quantrill
For some time now thisisUll.com has been bringing news
and reviews of events that are happening in Hull.
It is quite noticeable that what is going unreported is what's happening in the near-by towns
surrounding the city of Hull.
A search of the Internet finds several places and events, all within easy reach from Hull,
which may interest an audience starved of this information.
In response to this lack of coverage from the mainstream media of Hull,
thisisUll.com sets outs to bring a taster of these places and events.
The Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough is a case in point.
Ask most people in Hull about the theatre and you'll most likely receive a blank look in return.
The Stephen Joseph Theatre, located in the centre of Scarborough, is a beautiful
Art Deco styled theatre on the outside but has a contemporary designed interior
that makes for a pleasurable and relaxing viewing experience.
The latest play to receive a world premier at the theatre is Alex Jones' Fields Of Gold.
Fields of Gold is essentially a very funny play.
Whilst the humour paces the production and is used as a mechanism to entertain,
the play also has a serious point to make about the farming industry and family life.
Set in the midst of the foot and mouth disease of 2001, Alex Jones explores how the family-based
farms that once provided a livelihood for many have now shrunk to a residual in the farming community.
This play portrays the struggle these families have to endure, merely to make a living.
Ben Handley (Colin MacLachlan) is the current proprietor of Handley Farm, a farm that has been
in his family for generations.
It is the certainties of years of family tradition that plays-off against the uncertainties brought
about by the impending disaster about to hit the farm. As foot and mouth disease sweeps through the livestock,
Ben has to face up to the fact that farming and his family are changing irrevocably.
Ben is forced to come to terms with the fact that it is his daughter, Jule (Claire Lams),
and not his son, Jem (Andrew Turner), who is interested in the future running of the farm.
The financial problems and the unpalatable idea of organic farming are only minor distractions
though for Ben though as he also has to cope with Jem's preoccupation with aliens and cornfields,
a deteriorating relationship with his wife Mags (Susan Twist), Jule's blossoming
relationship with an unsuitable boyfriend, Dave (Andrew Brooke) and his
live-in mother, Lily (Judy Wilson) who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease.
It's certainly not all doom and gloom though. Much of the humour in the play is derived
from how Ben interacts with his family.
The black comedy will have you laughing along before the excellent script writing reveals the
serious point lurking beneath the laughs. Andrew Turner is excellent as Jem and steals the
majority of the best comedy lines whilst the cameos from Ben's mother, Lily, are often hilarious.
As the play moves forwards you are skilfully pulled in two directions by the script writing.
Whilst Ben is essentially a decent man who is doing the best he can for his family in very
difficult circumstances, the darker, much more unpleasant side of his character is never
far from the surface, making it difficult to feel too much sympathy for him.
Quite how far Ben will go to protect the farm and the price he is prepared to pay
for this, both financially and emotionally, remains in the balance until the very end of the play.
Fields of Gold is a humorous, yet moving slice of family life on a contemporary
farm that is trying to make its way in an increasingly uncertain world.
The issues the play touches on are not only relevant to the countryside and farming.
The dilemmas and issues that Ben and his family have to face are relevant to everybody.
For more information and ticket availability for this excellent production got to:
Reviews, Books - The Body by Hanif Kureishi Reviewed By Steve Rudd
I imagine that to participate in the world with curiosity and pleasure, to see the point of what is going on, you have to be young and uninformed. Do I want to participate?
This is an incredibly compelling novel from Kent-born Hanif (who proves himself to be ever-the-philosopher)
Reviews, Films - Five Children and It Reviewed by Ruth Wilson
The other day I went to the UGC cinema in Hull to see 5 Children and It.
It was a very good film, based on a book by E. Nesbit. It's about 5 children
(surprise, surprise! I can't remember their names, though!) who get sent to live
with their loopy uncle in the country during the
Kids, Reviews, Books - Freak-Outs and Very Secret Secrets by Karen McCombie Reviewed by Ruth Whitehouse
I have recently read a brilliant book called Friends, Freak-Outs and Very Secret Secrets by Karen McCombie,
a teenage book, part of the Ally's World Series. If you want me to be precise, it's number 4.
Now, onto the actual review. It is about a teenage girl called Ally who has a best
Reviews, Books - The Hard Shoulder by Chris Petit By Steve Rudd
Focusing on how a fresh-out-of-prison man copes and slowly re-adjusts to life on the outside,
The Hard Shoulder is an exceptional novel - and primarily enthralling for being both a
thriller and poignant drama.
O'Grady is the man who has been released from prison
Reviews, Books - Running With The Moon by Jonny Bealby By Steve Rudd
I was the pebble in the catapult, pulled back to breaking point, about to be sent hurtling
towards whatever destiny had in store. Total freedom. At that moment I wouldn't have
changed places with anyone. That's how Jonny Bealby felt upon arriving in
Africa with his friend
Reviews, Books - David Bowie: Theatre of Music by Robert Matthew-Walker By Steve Rudd
Although this book was published way back in 1985, it still provides a fascinating insight
into David's personal life and his music up to such a point in time, giving a summary of
the circumstances around his birth and childhood before naturally progressing onto how
he first became interested
Reviews, Books - A Cold Day In Paradise by Steve Hamilton, By Steve Rudd
Steve Hamilton's incredibly exciting writing vibrantly blasts out of much
the same gun-toting gauntlet as Joe R Lansdale's writing, despite the fact
that both these American action-thriller novelists couldn't really live
farther apart from the other.
Lansdale lives and sets
Reviews, Books - The Goodbye People by Gavin Lambert, By Steve Rudd
Loneliness doesn't consist of not having friends. Loneliness has nothing to do with that! It's being unable to express your deepest feelings and most private thoughts.
This novel is one of my favourite pieces of fiction, with the author Lambert's fresh writing style zestfully
Reviews, Books - Cold In July by Joe R. Lansdale, By Steve Rudd
This Texan author is surely one of the hottest 'action-thriller' writers of his generation.
An expert in martial arts himself, his stories are always graced with superb plots and graphically
violent action set-pieces that he describes so well I would have thought movie producers in Hollywood