SPRING and Port Wine may be familiar title, even if you haven’t seen the play or watched the 1970 James Mason film. But what do you know beyond the title?

It’s a play that celebrates the 1950s in an industrial northern town. Family life is firmly rooted in factories, smoking chimneys and chapels. The backdrop and the era are almost characters in themselves.

The story revolves around the Crompton household and a pungent herring. Rafe Crompton is not a harsh man, but he lives by high ideals, the stereotypical patriarch ruling over his wife and four children. He is unbending in the face of others’ wishes, which leads his family to hide things from him: stifled emotions simmer until one day at the dinner table, daughter Hilda refuses to eat a herring, which becomes an unlikely catalyst for their world imploding.

Rafe insists that he will be obeyed; thus, the offending fish will be served at every meal until Hilda gives in and eats it. This petty argument becomes a major point of principle for Rafe – the metaphorical last straw, which releases decades of pent-up resentment and emotion. Can Rafe see, through his fog of pomposity, how dangerous his attitudes are, and can the family’s life together become more progressive and tolerant while rebellion is in the air?

Although resolutely of its age, this brilliantly-written play has stood the test of time. The characters, humour and story remain entertaining and still resonate with modern audiences. Spring and Port Wine runs at Ilkley Playhouse from Thursday, March 7 to Saturday, March 16.

Returning to the Wildman Studio, also in March, we are delighted to welcome back Hilary James and Simon Mayer with their unique combination of music and humour. Sunday, March 10 will see them entertain music lovers with their first-class musicianship featuring virtuoso mandolin-playing, hot swing fiddle, and Hilary’s angelic voice.

Their act has been described by The Guardian as ‘a witty and captivating mix of folk, blues, swing and classical showstoppers, spiced with a unique brand of off-beat humour.’ They’ve got a fervently loyal following; if you’ve never seen them before and are looking for a musical experience with a twist, then book soon to avoid disappointment.

Finally, if you need theatrical excitement right now then join us for Chaos, our Greenroom National Theatre Connections production. Running from February 28 to March 2, there are just three chances to see an interesting and innovative piece of theatre by young writer Laura Lomas.

Chaos comprises a series of dislocated but interconnected scenes about young people and their experience of the world. Please come along and support out young actors in a performance that includes dance routines, thought-provoking monologues, bouncing balls, flowers, trains, tornados and butterflies!

Tickets for all productions and events can be bought online at www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk or by calling 01943 609539 during opening hours.

by Claire Emmott