Two Men. Two World Wars. Two lives knitted together as tight as a thrice darned sock.
Bound together by birth, business and bloody bad luck, Albert and Harold Steptoe wake up every morning to the same old, same old, sickening sight of each other. Joined at the hip and heart, they bother, bicker and banter their way through life – toying with each others frailties like mean kittens. Do they even notice the world turning as they cling on? There are ladies if they would only look around them, and space travel… and Cliff Richard!
Adapted from the legendary scripts of Galton and Simpson, this new co-production with West Yorkshire Playhouse charts the tender, cruel and surprising dance of father and son. Bound by duty, fear and poverty, they are watched over by their female Guardian Angel. She tries to save them, tries to turn their heads to the heavens, but those stubborn old work horses just won’t budge. Their blinkers stay firmly on. “She’s behind you!” we cry from the aisles.
This is for anyone who has had a parent, anyone who has had a child, anyone who has wanted to tear the walls down and run across the fields naked. Darkly comic, and deeply moving, this is a 20th century icon, re imagined for the new millennium.
albertandharold.co.uk, the official home of the Steptoe and Son Appreciation Society, have written about Emma's new adaptation of the original script
"KNEEHIGH Theatre Company’s stage adaptation of Steptoe and Son builds on the pioneering realism of the original television series to create a playful but powerful portrait of this most famous of father-son relationships"
A loving look back at one of the great television programmes of its time bought very much into the minds of a 21st century audience. Marvellous. ****
As part of Kneehigh's Connections Programme, some students from Pool School came to see Steptoe and Son at the Asylum. Here is a selection of reviews from the students
"Albert (Mike Shepherd) says ‘just because a prune is wrinkled it don’t mean to say it ain’t tasty’. Certainly, with age the richness and the intricacy of the men’s lives has become nectar for Kneehigh. The sickening sweetness which we often see in adaptations of the past, verging towards bitterness with Harold’s entrapment and the painfully explicit generation gap, is complimented by the mixture of theatre practices. You are distanced and then at once engulfed in its rawness."
“[Kneehigh have taken] an almighty wedge of nostalgic comedy history, give it a bit of a wipe down with a wet cloth, and come up with something that looks fresh on the eye and tingles your tummy with delight… The original writing of the authors is something to always be thankful of, but within new directions, as with the likes of Emma Rice, stories of old can be brought back to life with superb results.”
Hannah Piercy is blown away by this uniquely poignant revival of a television classic ***** "All three actors deliver their roles perfectly, capturing the sense of play with comic moments... but also the prevailing tragedy. From the very beginning the audience is transfixed, following the lives of father and son with an interest that encourages us to examine our own relationships."
"This is a well crafted and surprisingly physical play in which the main protagonists tell a compelling story of bitter family jealousies and missed opportunities"
Director & Adaptor Emma Rice
Set & Costume Designer Neil Murray
Lighting Designer Malcolm Rippeth
Score & Sound Designer Simon Baker
Projection Designer Mic Pool
Choreographer Etta Murfitt
Casting Director Sam Jones
Assistant Director Simon Harvey
Producer Paul Crewes
Stage Manager for Spring Tour Ali Gray