If you asked me to tell you the plot to King Lear, I’d do a pretty shoddy job. We weren’t taught it at school or uni, and outside of those bounds I know next to nowt about Shakespeare. I can, however, tell you a thing or two about Yorkshire. As fantastic as the North East has been to me, I cannot bring myself to love it quite as dearly as my gorgeous motherland full of tea and trees and steel. Being away from there is something I find tough, which meant that spending two hours sat in that room with proud, broad Yorkshire slang and mannerisms played out before me was an absolute treat.
I absolutely despise the term ‘regional theatre’. Everywhere is a region, who got to decide there was the one theatrical epicentre of the country, and everything outside of that we merely “regional”? The term is relentlessly misapplied to any works of theatrical art that don’t pop straight out of London’s arse. Jack Lear was, however, a proper piece of regional theatre. It took an internationally renowned story and made it speak to a specific corner of the country: Hull.
I loved how bawdy, loud and musical the production was. It felt like I was eavesdropping on a conversation on the 98 schoolbus. It felt like I was in a ‘spoons’ back home. It felt like I was passing a family having a rather-too-personal argument in the Sheffield town centre. It felt just like home. Regional theatre isn’t any work from said region, it’s a work that speaks proudly of a place and its people, and that’s just what this production did.