What they are saying
REVIEW, GODFREY’S LAST LOVE (BRING ME SUNSHINE), FEBRUARY 2016
True Yorkshireman, retired cricket umpire and
avowed socialist Godfrey Shackleton may have fallen on his feet with a
lucky lottery win - but will that luck linger on into his love life? And
what happens when his heart starts to flutter for twinkly widow, Betty,
who just happens to be from Lancashire and a Conservative? Will it turn
into war of the roses or a beautiful bunch of them?
Halifax-based award-winning theatre company, Talking Stock’s, latest
offering is a charming look at how love conquers all and blows politics,
past relationships and county rivalries out of the water. A sequel to
Alan Stockdill’s 2014 play Godfrey’s Last Stand which played in various
theatres over the past 20 months, Godfrey’s Last Love (Bring me
Sunshine) stands alone.
The backstory of this affable cricket umpire who wins the lottery is
explained but not pushed in our face. We know just enough to move on.
Well it made perfect sense to me, never having seen the first play
(although I’m now desperate to see it please!).
Keith Royston is a astounding force of nature with his storytelling
prowess as the indefatigable Godfrey, a talented actor who is the
lynchpin of a first-class cast. On a lads’ trip to Morecambe with best
mate Freddy (played with measured, endearing humour by director and
playwright, Stockdill) and grandson, Justin, who loves spending time
with his Grandad when home from University. Talking Stock newcomer Todd
Wilson hit just the right note playing ‘old soul’ Justin who fitted in
with the cross generational banter like a cosy kid glove.
Sharon Kelly delivered Godfrey’’s daughter Donna with a refreshingly
open, natural verve and sparky humour. Meanwhile, there was a touching
and very real performance from soon-to-be octogenarian Marion Reynolds
as Betty, who is determined to bag Godfrey’s heart from the outset. Her
monologues about losing her husband and young son were beautifully
measured and made things even more excruciating when the new-found
happiness with Godfrey slipped away almost as soon as it arrived.
This is a refreshing, touching, witty and emotional piece of theatre
about finding love in the third age: The appeal, the guilt, the fears,
the hopes the dreams. Can you share old places with somebody new? And if
you believe that there is something else, something after, and you have
lost your first love and found another companion, who will you be with
Philosophy, pathos, laughter, life lessons, tantrums and tears all came
together and the audience heaved a sigh of relief when after a sickening
and sudden split, the hopeful couple finally laid their fears to rest
for the last miles of their journey. Brilliant, touching, light, shade,
ups, downs and ups again. This play had it all. Bravo Talking Stock.
FREYA SIMPSON (Lancashire Evening Post)
“Your best performance so far. Loved it. Once again brought us to tears,
made us laugh, made us think…” AB
“Stockdill continues to write real life with unrivalled attention to
detail. Can't wait for the next one…” CM
“A fantastic production, superbly performed with a great storyline. You
all just go from strength to strength. A heartwarming evening all
REVIEW, THE LAST MEMORY, ACTOR’S WORKSHOP, JUNE
The busy Actors' Workshop was the perfect setting for
Talking Stock's latest theatrical offering; its cabaret style seating
providing a comfy and intimate location allowing the audience to sit
back, relax and absorb.
The Last Memory is a play by local award-winning playwright, Alan
Stockdill, and follows the story of a daughter and her elderly father.
The narrative tackles the cruel realities of the progressive dementia
disease through the eyes of a daughter who is coming to terms with her
father losing his memory piece by piece.
Simple and effective staging and direction complements the true and
heartfelt dialogue that is collected from real life relationships.
Moments are touching but funny, Stockdill’s dialogue has an Alan Bennett
feel; northern kitchen sink drama injected with the cold realities of
This challenging story has some wonderfully theatrical moments that are
not only moving but also confidently performed by a strong duo. The
relationship between actors Keith Royston and Catherine Pasek seems a
true one, the dialogue is formed from the truth and so are the
performances. Link by link this is a solid one act play that addresses
the realities with a bitter sweet perspective.
Talking Stock have an extensive tour planned throughout the country and
more details can be found at their website www.talkingstock.co.uk. All
profits are going to the Alzheimer’s Society & local dementia benefits.
Catch this gem of play, it’s well worth the ticket price.
REVIEW, THE LAST MEMORY, THE SWAN,
DOBCROSS, JULY 2016
Rarely can a piece of art reduce an
audience to both laughter and tears The Last Memory by Alan Stockdill is
one of those rare gems. Tracing the attempt by a father (Ernest, played
by Keith Royston) and daughter (Lynne, played by Catherine Pasek) to
preserve his memories, the play touches on a number of themes: faith,
love and the pressures of watching your parent slowly change before your
This is a very moving and beautiful piece of theatre. The raw emotion
that the two bring to the small stage at The Swan infuses itself into
those watching, as we take the journey into Ernest’s dementia and his
attempt to preserve that “last memory” on video so his daughter can
remember the real him and not the man he has become.
After he received his diagnosis, the audience hear how he had to deal
with watching his own mother as she became a prisoner in her own mind
and forgot who he was. He tells Lynne that she is to look for the joy in
his eyes and if she can’t see it, she is to watch the video.
The play takes its inspiration from the experiences of its author,
Stockdill, and his leading lady, Pasek. Both the actors portraying these
parts bring them to life with such passion and belief that it is
impossible not to become emotionally invested in in how they cope.
A very sparse set allowed the players to really connect with the
audience in this most intimate of venues. There were people (including
myself) who were in tears during this production. Conversely, there are
some stand out parts that really make you stop and laugh with them as
When Ernest begins to record his memory, he takes the audience on a
journey of love, life and his worry that he won’t remember his daughter.
As his condition worsens, Lynne struggles to see the joy in her father’s
eyes, yet she realises that their roles are not reversed, but that
Ernest is still her dad, and she is still his daughter.
After the show, there was a Q & A with the artists and director. Hearing
other people share their experiences of this illness, it was impossible
not to be moved by just how this disease affects so many people in very
different ways, and just how important it is that works like this are
shown to as broad an audience as possible.