This show’s for Colin

Colin McIntyre
Colin McIntyre

Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre is staging a poignant tribute to an impresario who had a 50-year connection with the town’s thespian community.

Colin McIntyre’s play, Sleeping With A Stranger, has been brought back into the spotlight this week in honour of the writer who was stage manager and associate producer of the town’s Civic Company half a century ago.

The play was due to be performed in June, with Colin directing it, but was postponed as a mark of respect when he died at the end of April.

Adrian Lloyd-James, who took on the director’s role, said after last night’s opening performance: “I had known Colin for 30 years - he was my surrogate dad and I loved him to bits.”

The play’s two actors, Susie Hawthorne and her husband George Telfer, commented in the programme: “Colin asked us both to do this play shortly before he died and it is an honour for us to do it now as a tribute to him.”

George paid an emotional tribute to Colin from the stage, speaking of their 20-year friendship and the feeling that Colin was still in the theatre, watching the play and making notes on the performance. Later he said: “I’ve been in his dressing room downstairs and you get the feeling that you are not alone.”

Theatre manager Liz Woodall penned a personal tribute to Colin for the programme, stating: “It’s still difficult to believe that he’s gone, that he won’t one day appear as if he’d never been away and then leave without a ‘goodbye’.

Since Colin’s death, the theatre has been offered his scripts and other material, including letters from Sir Laurence Olivier, for its archive collection.

Colin’s enormous contribution to theatre in Chesterfield will continue to be celebrated in the six-week rep season which opens at the end of January 2012.

Meanwhile, theatre supporters still have a chance to see Sleeping With A Stranger, which continues tonight (Friday September 9) and tomorrow.

Billed as a wicked comedy and staged by Tabs Productions, the two-hander is beautifully performed by Susie and George who play a saucy widow and an uptight divorced man whose mutual loneliness draws them together.

The gentle, yet powerful, presentation lacks nothing, manoeuvring magnificently between laugh-out-loud humour and heart-tugging pathos.

There’s a sense that its creator is watching over it with pride...and jotting down his views on the performance.

GAY BOLTON