Ilkley Playhouse

COME and see our current play Humble Boy which opens tonight and we will transport you from the grey January sky of Yorkshire to a traditional middle class Cotswold garden, beautifully manicured, blooming in the summer sun. It all sounds so civilised, yet the dynamics of the Humble Family are anything but! The crux of the play is Felix Humble’s battered and difficult relationship with his mother Flora, a former bunny girl, vain and often quite cruel. Following the death of his father, Felix Humble returns from his studies in Cambridge to his childhood home where he grapples with suicidal despair and unable to find a general theory of anything. Tensions rage as we discover that Flora’s lover, a colossal bore of a man, has in fact been her lover for quite some time. Of course to add to the chaos, this oppressive man is the father of Felix’s ex-girlfriend. Buzzing around them are Flora’s loyal friend Mercy and the ghostly gardener. Taking inspiration from Hamlet, Felix and Flora try to establish their new relationship to hilarious and thought provoking consequences.

We observe how everything dramatic, wild and disturbing in Shakespeare’s Hamlet is made domestic, tamed and comic in Charlotte Jones’ Humble Boy. This play was a huge success when it was first staged at the National Theatre in 2001. Jones’ critically acclaimed writing has been likened to the talented playwrights Ayckbourn and Stoppard for the ease at which she blends humour, complex ideas, intricate characterisation and emotional intimacy. Jones somehow manages to deal with death and a dysfunctional family with a warm heart. Whilst the play involves big themes, it is not burdened by too much intellectualisation. It is an easy evening of entertainment ranging from laugh out loud moments (especially the brilliant scene where an al fresco meal of gazpacho spirals into chaos!) to touching pathos. So don’t miss it, make a bee-line for this play which opens on Thursday, January 16 and runs until 25th January.

On January 26, David Harper will be coming to Ilkley Playhouse with his Unexpected Tales! David is well known in television, appearing in Bargain Hunt, Antiques Roadtrip, Flog It and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. The show will feature funny, behind the scenes anecdotes from TV, live auctions, exciting antique finds and stories from celebrity TV appearances. Tickets are selling fast for this event so don’t be disappointed and get yours soon!

Looking ahead to next month, our Stagefright Comedy Club on February 15 features Meryl O’Rourke and Noel James. Meryl is the most recent presenter on Front Row (Radio 4), as well as writing, performing and directing her own comedy series ‘The Hysterical Method of Conception’ for Women’s Hour. Noel James made the final three in Britain’s Got Talent and has featured on The Stand Up Show and Packing Them In. Noel has been described by The Independent as “standing out like a droll giant in a comedy land of trite dwarfs”.

For tickets and more information visit

Caroline Mutton