Le Grand Return is a poignant, gentle comedy about an old soldier who yearns to join his former comrades at a Normandy re-union but is stuck in a nursing home with a heart condition.
The new play, based on the heartwarming real-life tale of the veteran Bernard Jordan who absconded from residential care to return to the D Day beaches, is the latest offering from award-winning West Yorkshire playwright Alan Stockdill, one of the founders of Talking Stock Productions.
The play premieres at The Viaduct Theatre, Dean Clough, in Halifax on Thursday, February 5, and then embarks on a tour of the north.
Talking Stock was formed in 2013 by Alan and writer, actress and producer Catherine Pasek.
Their first play No Hell was so well received that Alan went on to write four more one-act plays – two of which, Godfrey’s Last Stand and Give a Little Love, both performed last year, went on to win a raft of festival awards.
Alan uses his talents to raise money for charity and over the past couple of years Talking Stock has amassed thousands of pounds for the NSPCC, Overgate Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Le Grand Return will be performed in aid of The Royal British Legion. It is, says Alan, a play that promises “a great night of laughter, poignancy and maybe a few tears.”
It is perhaps particularly poignant, given that Bernard Jordan died just a few weeks ago, on December 30, 2014, at the age of 90, and his wife Irene died just seven days later.
The World War Two veteran made the headlines when he made a final pilgrimage to Normandy six months ago after slipping away from his care home.
The leading role of Tommy will be played by Huddersfield actor Keith Royston, who appeared in Godfrey’s Last Stand – Alan’s play about a lottery-winning cricket umpire – and has become a regular in Talking Stock productions.
Such is the growing popularity of Alan’s plays that tickets for the premiere night sold out almost immediately.
But there are still seats for a performance at Bradford Cathedral on Monday, February 9, at 8pm. Tickets are £5 from 01274 777720.