BACK FROM THE BIG APPLE FOR A BITE OF HULL FRUIT
When: Tuesday, August 14, 7.30pm
Where: Fruit, Humber Street, Hull
Tickets: £5 To book: 07531 219770
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He's the man from here, doing rather well over there. But as Richard Bean prepares to return to his roots Ian Midgley asks why Fruit is more appealing than the Big Apple
F or a man used to taking plaudits in the Big Apple, you'd imagine that turning out for a show at Fruit would be a bit of a comedown.
After all, the bright lights of Broadway surely trump the shabby chic of Hull Marina and its newest arts venue every time?
Not so for Richard Bean.
The acclaimed Hull playwright and creative force behind the box office smash One Man Two Guvnors – currently winning its portly star James Corden an armful of awards Stateside while also packing them in London's West End – is returning to his home town this week, for one night only.
And he's delighted to be back on home turf.
Bean will be forsaking the Hudson for the Humber for a script-in-hand production of one of his most caustic plays, Smack Family Robinson, which has been revamped and retooled for the night.
The 2003 play, about a caring, sharing, family of drug dealers living the high life in suburban bliss, was originally set in Newcastle, but Bean has rewritten the piece for his home town; transplanting his dysfunctional clan from Geordie land to the leafy environs of Kirk Ella.
The show will be premiered at the thriving Fruit venue, in Humber Street, on Tuesday, featuring a cast of Hull theatre stalwarts, such as Adrian Hood and Rob Hudson, alongside up-and-coming Hull thespians, including acting siblings Laura and Robert Aramayo.
Robert made the headlines last year when he won a place at New York's prestigious Juilliard drama school.
"It's a play I wanted to rewrite and improve," says Bean.
"It worked very well in Newcastle, but I felt that I got some of the rhythms wrong and wanted to revisit it.
"I felt the parody of a loving family of drug dealers had a more mileage than I'd extracted the first time I did it.
"It's also a couple of good parts for Laura and Rob Aramayo, who are two of Hull's rising star actors.
"There's a brother-and-sister pairing in the play and the two of them are perfect for it.
"Laura has just finished drama school and it's a chance for her to go before an audience. Rob is at Juilliard in New York and unfortunately won't be able to perform in front of the public, except during his holidays."
Bean admits it's unusual for a writer to tailor a play to each town it visits – but believes it helps add a ring of authenticity for local audiences.
Hull will be the first place to get this extra personalised service, adds the 55-year-old, although London will be getting another version of the show next year, to be directed by Richard Wilson, aka One Foot In The Grave's Victor Meldrew.
"It is an unusual thing for a playwright to do – relocate a play to where it's playing," admits Bean.
"But because every major town and city has a long-established drug dealing family that has almost become respectable, it is a technique that may be a lot of work for me but it does make the play more relevant."
The show will be directed by Bean's longtime friend and collaborator Gareth Tudor Price, who has directed five of Bean's plays, including his breakthrough comedy Toast, set in a Hull bread factory, and his most recent Pub Quiz Is Life.
"It's great to have Richard back in Hull," says Tudor-Price.
"Despite all the success he's had recently with One Man Two Guvnors, and before that with many other shows, he's still the same bloke he always was. Down to earth and still incredibly proud to be from Hull.
"It's great that we can get someone of Richard's status back here to his home town to premiere a play written especially for Hull.
"At the moment this is just planned as a one-off, but you never know. If it goes well, maybe we could look at doing a longer run. Watch this space."