John Godber’s comedy drama April in Paris will be the first show to open at Hull New Theatre after more than a year of closure when the boulevards, boulangeries and bistros of the French capital hit the stage in just over a week’s time.
Starring former king of the jungle Joe Pasquale and musical theatre leading lady Sarah Earnshaw, the show is the first in The Prologue Series: A Covid Safe Season, which will see world-class entertainment return to the theatre from 20-22 May, 2021.
Joe Pasquale said: “Hull is a really exciting because John Godber has really strong links with the city and the play is partly set there, so this will be a special part of the tour. John and his wife are understudying us. They’re not coming on the road, but if anything happens to me or Sarah, they’ll get the call.
“I have been a huge fan of John Godber’s work for the past 30 years since I first saw Bouncers, so to be given a chance to perform this specially adapted version of one of John’s finest creations is a dream come true. To be able to perform this show with Sarah Earnshaw is a true delight. John has written a masterclass of comedy and pathos, with such a sense of realism, reflecting the way life is in a long relationship.
“This is probably the longest rehearsed ‘two hander’ play in history; I’ve already grown four cauliflowers and a crop of onions since we started! We have been working on it since last September, in the hope of theatres reopening in the autumn of last year, but, sadly, we kept getting pushed back and finding doors shutting on us just as we were ready to perform it.
“So we continued to rehearse and hone it, ready for the green light and I’m very excited to say that we will be the first touring theatre show out of the gate. What a remarkable achievement from all the team to make this happen. I can’t wait for audiences to come out again, remember what live entertainment means to all of us and how much we need it; performers and audiences alike.
“I promise we won’t forget our lines.”
The story follows Bet and Al, who lead a quiet, humdrum life in their small Yorkshire home until Bet wins a ‘Romantic Breaks’ competition in a magazine. The prize is a holiday in Paris starting with a luxury ferry trip from Hull.
It is their first experience abroad, a journey of a lifetime and a journey into their relationship, in which they sort out French cuisine, wrestle with their phrasebook, and fend off would-be muggers on the Metro in this hilarious depiction of the English abroad.
John Godber said: “April in Paris is one of my favourite plays and I’m very excited about this new version with Joe and Sarah, directed by my long-time friend Richard Lewis. I hope that Al and Bet’s trip to the French capital helps to raise the spirits and even a laugh or two, as they rekindle their romance amidst the baguettes, Beaujolais and the steak tartare. The play’s message, that we need to be kind to each other, seems to me to be more relevant now than it ever was before.”
The production will take place just days after theatres are allowed to reopen and as part of The Prologue Series: A Covid Safe Season it will be produced in-line with the latest Government advice to ensure the venue is Covid-safe for our valued patrons, visiting touring companies, performers and staff.