Funny and poignant, The Duke is a new one-man show by Shôn Dale-Jones, Artistic Director of Hoipolloi, combining original storytelling with an inventive spirit.
“In 1974 my father invested £750 (£8,100 in today’s money) in a Royal Worcester porcelain figure of The Duke of Wellington on horseback - made to celebrate his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. He kept the figure we affectionately called The Duke, wrapped in sponge, in a big box, under his bed. After he died in 2001, my mother decided to take the figure out and display it on the table in the bay window. Since 2005 I've been working on a film script, which is in the very final stages of development. In the autumn of 2015 I sit at my desk waiting for an email that will tell me what I need to do to the script to get it onto the screen. I turn the radio on. I listen to a report about the refugee crisis. My mother calls. She tells me she’s broken The Duke. My mother, my film script and the refugee crisis all need my attention.”
The Duke weaves together the tragi-comic fate of a family heirloom - a porcelain figure of The Duke of Wellington, the quandary of a scriptwriter stretching his integrity and an unfolding disaster as thousands of children flee their homes. Blending fantasy and reality, this playful show gently challenges our priorities in a world full of crisis.
The Duke was presented with The Scotsman’s Fringe First Award following its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 and was commissioned in to a radio play by the BBC, featuring recently as the ‘Play of the Week’ for BBC Radio 4.
We are thrilled that Shôn is coming to present this special piece at The Lyric for you. The Lyric's programmer Delphine saw it at Edinburgh Fringe last summer and rated it as her favourite piece; she has been working to bring this to you since then and is delighted it's finally happening!
This is a co-presentation with Activate Performing Arts, supported through funding from The Garrick Charitable Trust. Tickets are £12 (£5 for ages 12-18), available from BearKat Bistro and Bridport Tourist Information Centre: 01308 424901 / online, as well as on the door from 7:30pm.
"He makes the real world seem wondrous and, in that, The Duke is its own antidote: art that alleviates, but also art that does its bit. Rather than presuming to lecture and guilt-trip us, it gently sets us thinking, then provides buckets for donations to Save the Children... You won't find a show with a bigger, better heart" What’s On Stage | 4 Star Review