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KM 2 (1)

'Kiss Me' by Richard Bean at East Riding Theatre

I love the device which sees the action already happening when you walk into the theatre; there, on the stage is an actor (in this case an actress) on-set, in costume, raising the level of excitement as you long to find out more about the scene you are witnessing and putting it into context.

An hour and a half later - which equates to 2-3 months in the drama - you have learnt more! But this two-hander keeps you wondering....

We meet Stephanie at the beginning in her bedroom, nervously waiting to meet Dennis. Stephanie is 32 and widowed; her husband was killed on the first day he went to fight in WW1. She has a job - she drives a lorry; she lives in a house owned by Mrs Mitchell, who has gone to the pictures, and she wants a baby. Dennis has been sent by a broker, Dr.Trollope to get her pregnant. Dennis has rules to stick to, such as not using his real name, not doing too much talking and no kissing on the lips.

Hull-born Richard Bean is famous for One Man,Two Guvnors; The Heretic; The Hypocrite and the book Made in Dagenham. He's known for comedy and farce and this play has elements of both - it is quietly amusing and certainly farcical when you learn the number of babies Dennis has already fathered! But who knows whether there really were such people as Dr Trollope and Dennis who helped  WW1 war widows achieve their dream of being mothers, despite the social stigma of being an unmarried mother in those days. 

Stephanie is played by Bettine Mackenzie as a witty, modern young lady - we saw her paying Judith in The Night Season earlier this year. Edward Cole, who was recently in Sign of the Times at Hull Truck plays Dennis, a man whose motivation never seems to ring true. The Director is Matt Aston, making a welcome return to ERT.

Kiss Me has only ever been performed in Hampstead and at the Trafalgar Studios in London. ERT certainly punches above its weight in the productions we are treated to and we are especially blessed to have Richard Bean as an ambassador. 

Kiss Me plays until October 28th. Tickets are available from ERT on 01482 874050 or www.eastridingtheatre.co.uk

Linda Johnson

 

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