Two actresses are flying solo for East Riding Theatre’s double bill

Published: Tuesday 27th June 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Two young women will perform exhilarating solo performances to audiences in Beverley this weekend.

From Thursday 29 June until Saturday 1 July, acclaimed Spoonface Steinberg and brand new Perfidious Lion will be presented at East Riding Theatre.

This double bill is part of the Summer Festival of Engagement, Inspiration and Celebration. Running until the end of August, the event presents work from new writers, poets and directors, as well as a couple of summer schools for young people.

We spoke to the directors, Adrian Rawlins and Oliver Dawe, to find out more about each play.

Adrian has been working hard for over six months to present Spoonface Steinberg at the venue. It was originally written as a radio play by Lee Hall, who is also famed for creating Billy Elliot.

“It must have been the 90s when I first heard the piece,” Adrian recalls. “It made a huge impact on me. I found it so inspiring.”

The story follows a young autistic girl who is fighting cancer: “You really get to see life through the eyes of this incredible child. She definitely teaches us a thing or two about perspective,” he enthuses.

“Weaved throughout the narrative is that she has a love of opera. Everyone else her age is enjoying pop bands, like Take That. She is mad for opera and completely devours it up.”

Local 18-year-old Evie Guttridge has taken on the challenge of this huge one-woman show. Adrian first worked with Evie during the recent production of The Night Season at East Riding Theatre.

“She really impressed me. Spoonface has been in the back of my mind for a while. I’ve been waiting for the right person to come along. I saw Evie and thought ‘She’s the girl for the job’,” Adrian explains. “Performing such a play on your own in incredibly daunting, but she’s completely up for it and very excited.”

Adrian is also very much looking forward to the other portion of this double bill, Perfidious Lion. He actually taught Bettine Mackenzie, who wrote the play and will now perform it at the theatre.

“I think it will be funny, clever and brilliantly performed,” he smiles.

Perfidious Lion follows another young woman, Lucinda. She is a classic example of the landed gentry, who has recently fallen on hard times due to her wealthy husband’s death. The lady is hosting a very important party with multiple guests, but the catch is that the audience can only see Lucinda.

“As a play, Perfidious Lion is unique,” its director, Oliver Dawe, points out. “It is an eight-hander with one actor. When Bettine approached me with the idea, I thought it was impossible. But such is her skill, talent and power of imagination that she is able to conjure other characters into existence right before your very eyes.”

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Both of the plays are striking, as everything within them is generated from one person on the stage: “It is the ultimate test for any actor, let alone the director,” Oliver adds.

Adrian is keen to get as many people as possible to enjoy the Summer Festival:

“In a world where everyone is glued to their screens and mobile phones, it is important to celebrate the live arts. I want to encourage youngsters to get involved with theatre,” he maintains.

The double bill will take place at East Riding Theatre from Thursday 29 June to Saturday 1 July. Tickets start from £12 and can be booked on the East Riding Theatre website.

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Published: Tuesday 27th June 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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