PATRICK Stewart came back to his roots with a unique and intimate performance last night for the benefit of Mirfield's Gilder Hall Youth Club.
The audience was entertained by a prologue, including music by the Dewsbury Music Centre Swing Band, a song by Melonie Jaye and a musical play performed by the New Gilder Hall Drama Group, which cleverly introduced the main event.
Patrick entered the stage to a jazzy rendition of the theme to Star Trek: The Next Generation and set out his plan to have a conversation with the audience.
Entertaining anecdotes from his early childhood and his youth in Dewsbury came between an intense performance as Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, an understated, more personal, delivery of the Agincourt speech from Henry V and an enthusiastic and memorable segment from A Christmas Carol, in which he played the entire Cratchett family as well as Scrooge.
There was also a solemn reading of JB Priestley's final Postscript monologue, one of a series of short monologues originally broadcast by the BBC in 1940.
Patrick said he was looking at a plan to re-record them in conjunction with Priestley's son, Tom, next summer and his interpretation of the text - written at a time when Britain was at war with Germany - was a timely reminder of the days we are living in now.
The performance was complete when he followed a familiar rendition of his opening monologue to Star Trek: The Next Generation with a reminder of his Shakespearean roots - Puck's valediction from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
* See an extended version of this review tomorrow on the Examiner's website at www.ichuddersfield.co.uk