The King’s Head 45th birthday celebrations kick off with Richard Cameron’s funny and hard-hitting portrait of a Yorkshire mining village on the slide, infused with a sweet sound track of 60’s soul classics. Legendary new play director Mike Bradwell will direct, as he did Cameron’s huge Bush hit play The Glee Club, returning to The King’s Head with his first production there since 1978.
The Flannelettes takes place in a women’s refuge in a small mining community devastated by the decline of the industry. ‘Special’ Delie is spending her summer holidays with her Aunty Brenda who runs the refuge, and keen to reform The Flannelettes, their Motown tribute act they have formed with George the pawnbroker who moonlights in drag. Delie is in her early twenties, with a mental age of ten and the voice of a soul diva. Brenda wants escape from the brutal realities of daily life helping the long term victims of the devastated community around her. Roma wants to build her dream home and forget her life on the streets of Rotherham. New arrival Jean would love to go to her stepdaughter’s wedding. Community Copper Jim just wants Brenda.
Mike Bradwell makes a long overdue return to London theatre, once more reunited with Richard Cameron after the huge success of The Glee Club and Gong Donkeys. His tough and tender new play takes an uncompromising look at love and violence in a shattered community, with The Flannelettes providing a bittersweet soundtrack of sixties soul. The great cast includes Olivier-winning Suzan Sylvester as Brenda, James Hornsby (The Glee Club, West End) and newcomers Holly Campbell as Roma and Emma Hook as Delie.
Richard Cameron answered the following questions about the production.
What was the inspiration behind writing The Flannelettes?
Two things – The initial inspiration came from a case in Doncaster a few years ago of two young tearaway brothers who were fostered across town and caused mayhem, finally battering a young boy and leaving him for dead. Secondly I was interested in the way communities are disintegrating and it seemed to me that a women’s refuge would be the place where I could explore the damage, the repercussions, and the support network. The character of Delie, someone with ‘special needs’ represented the kind of innocence I wanted to set alongside this.
Why the choice of soul classics?
I love the idea of women singing about ‘their man’ as a counterpoint to what we are dealing with, and those Tamla classics are perfect for this. It wasn’t a great stretch to come up with a karaoke Tamla group from the refuge.
What is the heart of the play?
The consequences of the breakdown in community and who is there to try and patch it together.
The Kings Head Theatre presents THE FLANNELETTES by Richard Cameron
Directed by Mike Bradwell
Designed by Musical Direction by Wendy Gaddeon
Cast includes: Holly Campbell, Emma Hook, James Hornsby and Suzan Sylvester.
Kings Head Theatre,
115 Upper street, N1 1QN
Weds 13th May – Sat 6th June, 7pm. Matinee Sat 6th June, 3pm. Tickets: £15 – £25. Previews: £10
Box office: 020 7226 8561. www.kingsheadtheatre.com
Tuesday 12th May 2015