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Compelling theatre with a loving heart and a loud voice!

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Compelling theatre with a loving heart and a loud voice!

What they are saying

Joyful, fun and heartfelt. ‘Godfrey’s Last Stand’ and ‘Give a Little Love’, two great plays written by the John Godber of Calderdale Alan Stockdill. A sell-out crowd filled the Viaduct Theatre for this latest offering by local theatre company Talking Stock Productions. 
The evening started with ‘Godfrey’s Last Stand’ a naturalistic and uncomplicated play that celebrates the notion that one is never too old to dream. The central character, Godfrey, wins £3.2 million on the lottery and deliberates with his principles. Eventually he decides to fulfil a childhood dream by financing and umpiring an international cricket match at his local village cricket ground that causes upset between him and his daughter. But like any good working class comedy everything comes good in the end. A strong cast of three perform with precision to ensure that not a laugh is left unexplored and a tender moment not shared.
On to the second half and ‘Give a little love’, a play that explores the lives of four old school-friends thirty years after leaving. Cleverly set amongst a Bay City Rollers tribute concert this one-act play explores teenage preconceptions and broken dreams and again is expertly performed by the cast. Raw, emotional and honest; this play takes the audience back to an ideal that it’s not always ‘a teenage dream to be 17’.
Talking Stock Productions successfully provided an evening in the theatre for the regular folk. Accessible play-writing produced and performed with real heart and energy. The plays are on tour and are being staged locally again at The Citadel within the Brighouse Arts Festival on Wednesday 17 September. 
(ADAM SMITH, Halifax Courier)




“Do I love cricket? What freeborn Yorkshire man doesn’t!”


This line spoken by Godfrey really sums up what this tale of following a dream is about. Made of the same stuff that inspired Peter Tinniswood’s ‘Tales from a long room’ and Roy Harper’s ‘When an old cricketer leaves the crease’ and of course ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, we see at play the notions of passion, pride, fair play and a sense of belonging to a tradition of something essentially English. Yes, English, but Yorkshire English.
A gentle tale, as befits this heritage, is at heart the story of Godfrey Shackleton, 50 years an umpire in local league cricket, grabbing a last chance to live his dream and some of the pitfalls along the way. Yes it is a little predictable in places, but that doesn’t stop it being a warm, nostalgic look at life through a lens.
The cast - Keith Royston as Godfrey Shackleton, Sharon Kelly as Godfrey’s long-suffering daughter Donna (named after a cricketer of course) and Alan Stockdill as Freddie are clearly at ease in their roles and are to be applauded for their work.
Unashamedly tear-jerking at times, humourous most of the time and with an unexpected ending which only a Yorkshireman might dream up, I say get along and see this before it goes.
(IAN PARKER HEATH, Buxton Festival Fringe)

Audience response

“Impressive productions. I always really enjoy watching Talking Stock.” YK
“Alan has an uncanny ability to make you feel like you aren’t watching a play. I was itching to join in, especially the dancing in ‘Give a Little Love’, it looked like so much fun.” JM
“An absolute triumph. Words can’t express how impressed we were with the scripts and the acting. Loved every minute.” CM
“Enjoyed every minute of both these plays. Some perfect moments.” SD


Familiar, funny and touching. Le Grand Return - Talking Stock’s latest theatrical offering played to a packed theatre on its opening night in Halifax. A strong cast of four (Keith Royston, Roy Byrom, Stuart Davison and Giselle Herbert) gel together perfectly and present a very strong yet gentle narrative for the audience to consider.

The well-rehearsed and timed gags run slickly from scene to scene with Godber-esque simplicity and northern charm. Stockdill writes true northern characters to recognise and care about, each with their own developed traits and quirks that resonate with our childhoods and memories. The collection of characters complement each other splendidly, creating absolute mischief at times and genuine sadness that is both poignant and reflective.

The two-act comedy opens in a nursing home around the 50th anniversary of D Day and follows a group of veterans who plan one last mission to go back Normandy to visit a special residence and pay tribute to a fallen solider George Penney. Who knows will they make it or will there plan be stifled and will the enemy prevail? With these band of ageing brothers anything can happen and frankly does happen.

Le Grand Return has a further tour across northern England scheduled running until the end of February, catch this little bullet while you can. Tickets and further information can be sourced from the company’s website – talkingstock.co.uk.

ADAM SMITH (Halifax Courier)

Audience response

“Absolutely stunned by last night’s performance - talk about an emotional roller coaster! Was superb from beginning to end. It wouldn’t have been out of place on the West End stage.” JCM

“Beautifully expressed, several people near to us were in tears, it was difficult not to join them. I hope many take the opportunity to see LE GRAND RETURN on its tour – I urge them to do so. This is truly what theatre is all about.” DC

“A huge congratulations to all it was brilliant! Far better than anything I have seen on stage of late.” PA

“A stunning performance of a stunning play. Thank you.” CM



Compelling theatre with a loving heart and a loud voice!

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