The Yorkshire Realist by Peter Gill is set in a farm laborers cottage in the early 1960s where farm labourer George lives with his ailing mother. George’s horizons are widened when he becomes a member of the community cast of the York Mystery Plays and meets assistant director John from London.
John is given a warm Yorkshire welcome by George’s family, his mother, sister Barbara, her husband Arthur and son Jack along with family friend Doreen.
The play cleverly examines the rural idyll observed and exclaimed on by city boy John: “The green, for one thing. The hedges and the fields” and the farm itself “…so old. The stone. The brick. The walls are so old. I couldn’t take it in.” Then contrasts it with the family’s rural reality: hard outdoors work, an outside lavatory, a tin bath in the kitchen, the bitter winter cold and the old range that needs frequent cleaning.
The play explores the tensions that George and John’s contrasting lives and the shared difficulty in expressing their feelings put on their relationship. #
This exploration is imbedded into the cleverly scripted Yorkshire realism of George’s family, the endless cups of tea, the worry about young Jack’s future - will he be the generation to escape? Additional tension comes through friend Doreen’s unrequited claim on George’s affections as she comes to regret encouraging George to take part in the Mystery Plays.
The York Realist will be performed at Harrogate Theatre Studio from Thursday June 6 to Saturday June 8, daily at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2pm.
Tickets available from the theatre box office on 01423 502116