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Hall's observations will be a lesson worth taking


Preview by Paul Nelson

MR Elliott, by Jonathan Hall, directed by Nigel Townsend, will be the next show at the Chelsea Theatre. It is the latest work by the author whose previous play, The Coffee Lovers Guide to America, was a success at the Chelsea Theatre last autumn.

For this, his latest play, he has drawn on his experiences and observations as a teacher in inner city Bradford to tell a story that is both challenging and funny.

Mr Elliott has been teaching in the same classroom in the same school on the same Bradford estate for over twenty years.

An estate of low paid jobs and five star dreams; where the only chance to escape seems to be through drink or drugs or schemes for a 'Hello' style wedding. The type of estate that attracts millions of pounds in one fancily titled scheme after another, but to little or no real effect on its residents' lives.

Working in one world but living in another, Mr Elliott has an apparently happily married life in an out-of-town suburb.

However, a chance encounter with an ex-pupil forces Mr Elliott to confront the realities of his life. This chain of events sparked by Ash, a young Asian chancer, not only change Mr Elliott forever but present a glimmer of hope and understanding that may also effect a change in his wider world.

Within the framework of this illicit gay love affair, Jonathan Hall tells the story of some of the wrongs within this and other such communities and asks can we, will we, ever change them?

Jonathan Hall's previous theatre credits include Enthusiastic Men, Statements of Attainment, Behind The Aquarium at the Last Pizza Show (Bradford and Edinburgh, Fringe First 1996), Sweet as You Are (Fringe First 1999) and Learning to Love the Grey (Ytouring, Edinburgh and tour). He has received the D.H Lawrence short story award for A Single Ticket and The Small Time Players and the Joshua Tetley drama award for Enthusiastic Men.

Nigel Townsend has previously directed Jonathan's plays The Coffee Lover's Guide to America, Sweet As You Are and Learning to Love the Grey. He is also Artistic Director of Y Touring Theatre Company.

The Chelsea Theatre is committed to presenting new plays by new writers alongside premieres by established playwrights. It receives funding from The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the Eva and Hans K Rausing Trust and The John Lyons Trust.

Mr Elliott by Jonathan Hall, Directed by Nigel Townsend. Cast to be announced. Chelsea Theatre, World's End Place, SW10. June 9 to July 5 evenings at 8pm (7pm June 11) Monday to Saturday. Tickets 0870 980 8454

Photo shows Elyes Gabel

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