Monday, 23 September 2013

Kes at Derby Theatre

Set in the 1960s, Kes is the story of 15 yr old Billy who longs to escape his depressing world of bullying at home and school, where there's nothing to look forward to beyond a life spent down the pit. His only brief glimpse of freedom comes when out training and flying his kestrel, Kes.

Now, plays that are adapted from books aren't quite my kind of thing   - I always feel they're in some way a cheat, cramming the whole experience into a couple of hours, a lazy way of absorbing a story without making the effort to read it. So, normally, I wouldn't have gone along to see Kes but I did - as one of my daughters was in the Young Company playing Billy's schoolmates - and it was brilliant!
 Actually it was so great that I don't know where to start!

Sam Jackson in the lead role was amazing - I seem to be the one person in the world who hasn't seen him in Skins, so I had nothing to compare this performance against but he really captured the teenage attitude and mixed-up turbulence of Billy's emotions. 
There was great support from the rest of the cast particularly Jimmy Fairhurst playing his drunken bullying brother, Thomas Pickles lightening the mood with his tadpole-wellies and one of my local favourites, John Elkington. I've seen him in all sorts of things from panto to Chekhov - this time he played Billy's only  sympathetic teacher, a role that seemed to fit him like a glove. And  I mustn't forget to mention the Young Company's wonderful performance even though I may be biased.

At the time of writing, there's about another fortnight left of the run, so catch it if you can!


  1. If I lived in Derby I am sure I would be going to every production - I h ave heard good things about the theatre.Some theatres in smaller towns put on amazing stuff, and are such a great resource if you are culturally inclined.. We used to see ever production at the Vic theatre in Stoke on Trent when we lived there and I still remember some of them, they were fantastic.. Kes was a wonderful book. not an immediate choice for a stage play, I would have thought, but it obviously WAS a good choice!

    1. Don't tell anyone - I haven't read the book! and it's so long since I saw the film that I couldn't tell how similar it was to that but it DID make a marvellous bit of theare!