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The Crack Magazine

The Offing artwork.jpg

Quality Drama In The Offing

When I first read Benjamin Myers’s fine 2019 novel ‘The Offing’ I thought: this would make a brilliant play. And – what do you know! – it’s now just that and coming to Live Theatre for an extended run this November.

Benjamin Myers is not afraid to get his hands dirty. In novels such as ‘Pig Iron’ and ‘Turning Blue’ he waded through huge swathes of literary murk. So when I picked up his 2019 novel, entitled ‘The Offing’, I thought I was in for something akin to a 1970s video nasty. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Like his previous works – also rooted in the north – the atmosphere of story is enhanced by the natural world, but this time the feeling is one of uplift rather than oppression. The story is set in the aftermath of the Second World War and sees 16-year-old Robert Appleyard journeying, on foot, from his home in Durham to try and find work in Scarborough. He never get there, however, as on his travels he encounters the bohemian and eccentric Dulcie Piper, who lives alone. She befriends him and opens up his eyes to the joys of art and literature, good food and wine. In return, he helps her lay to rest a ghost from the past.The director of this stage version, Paul Robinson, comments: “I first came across ‘The Offing’ when I heard Benjamin Myers talking to Jo Whiley on the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. By the end of the interview, I’d contacted Benjamin’s agent: I knew it would be perfect for the stage – wise and lyrically beautifully.”The play has been adapted by Janice Okoh (writer of Egusi Soup, Three Birds and The Gift) and will star James Gladdon, Cate Hammer and Ingvild Lakou. RM

The Offing, 3-27 November, Live Theatre, Newcastle, 7.30pm (mats. 6, 11, 13, 20, 25, 27 November 2pm and 14 & 21 November 4pm. There is also an audio described and captioned performance on 18 November and a BSL on 17 November). From £14.