With God’s Own Country a major success in cinemas, it’s no surprise that plays with a similar feel would be revived and Peter Gill’s excellent The York Realist is just that. Written in 2001 it is a stunning and very emotional piece.
Set in a farmer’s cottage on the breathtaking Yorkshire moors which is home to George played by a magnificent Ben Batt and his mother played by Lesley Nicol (best know as Mrs Padmore from Downtown Abbey) with a beautifully controlled charm. Enter John, played by a very watchable Jonathan Bailey, Assistant Director on a series of plays that George is cast in. John comes to the cottage to find out why George is not coming to rehearsals. The immediate sexual tension between the two lead actors is phenomenal, gorgeous in fact. Writer Gill has constructed scenes and dialogue that perfectly explore the attraction between the two including the twist of expectations on who we assume is in control of the situation, with George actually being the dominant one. There is a clear pecking order here and via very amusing conversation mainly around the teapot, the play unfolds and the relationship between these two charismatic characters is revealed. You long for the first kiss to take place, but Director Robert Hastie cleverly keeps much under wraps and left to our imagination and the way issues of intimacy are presented is totally absorbing. This is an exceptional play, with a mesmerising performance by Ben Batt at its heart.