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Songs and stories of an eighties teenager

Delve into the wonderful, troubled, exhilarating and oddly innocent decade, the 80s, with the world premiere of 'Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me'.

Songs and stories of an eighties teenager

Article Source: Ben Harrison and David Paul Jones
Last Updated: 5 June 2024 10:37

Taking the classic Smiths’ song Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me as their cue, director, writer and performer Ben Harrison and musician and composer David Paul Jones delve into the wonderful, troubled, exhilarating and oddly innocent decade - the 80s.

Entwining David’s original music and covers of the 80s classics (from The Smiths and Kate Bush to Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Tears For Fears, among others) with Ben’s short stories, all set in the 80s when both men were teenagers, the play is an evening of open-hearted, emotive and at times humorous dive back into the world of mix-tapes, Walkmans, fumbled early encounters, cider on the carpet, sleepovers and long nights and early mornings hanging out at the bus stop with nothing to do but smoke and dream…

This fantastic example of the beauty of gig theatre is a sequel to Ben Harrison’s brilliantly received collaboration with Amy Duncan in 2022, Undertow Overflow, which saw Ben performing on stage for the first time in 27 years.

The show is directed by Scott Johnston, written and performed by Ben Harrison with original music and covers by David Paul Jones, also featuring Justyna Jablonska on cello, Emery Hunter as BSL Signed performer for all performances and Simon Wilkinson on lighting design.

Ben Harrison and David Paul Jones’ collaboration and friendship began with the Grid Iron show Those Eyes, That Mouth in 2003 which won seven awards and was presented to great acclaim in Edinburgh and Beirut.

Ben Harrison is one of the most acclaimed and awarded theatre directors in Scotland, known best for his work as Co-Artistic Director of the multi-award-winning company Grid Iron. He began his career in 1988 when he founded a theatre company in Norwich dedicated to bringing modern classics by Ionesco, Berkoff, Churchill and Sartre to East Anglia. Ben returned to the stage as a performer for Undertow Overflow for the first time in 27 years. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me is a consolidation of this relatively new departure in his practice.

Ben Harrison said: “I’m delighted to be returning to the stage as a performer again in the company of wonderful and trusted collaborators Scott Johnston and David Paul Jones and some exciting new artists. Delving back into my teenage years in the Eighties has been fascinating, very funny and very healing as David and I revisit our formative experiences in those years from the perspective of the present day.”

David Paul Jones is a classically trained composer and pianist and one of the leading composers and musical performers on the Scottish performing arts scene. His work blends contemporary classical sensibilities with digital sound, creating emotive and atmospheric music from acoustic instrumental works, songs and larger-scale vocal works, to soundtracks and sound designs for theatre and dance. He has worked with Scotland’s leading performing arts companies, including the National Theatre of Scotland, Grid Iron, Dundee Rep, Traverse Theatre, Curious Seed and Catherine Wheels.

David Paul Jones said: “Ben Harrison and I have been collaborators for over twenty years, creating many theatre productions together with Grid Iron and beyond. I grew up in Ayrshire in the 1980s and fell in love with the music of Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil, a love affair that triggered my own path to a life dedicated to composing and performing music. One of my passions is re-imagining classic songs, getting under the skin of a song’s poetry and often finding a deeper, sometimes hidden, narrative. 80s music has this potential in abundance.”

The show will tour to the following venues, with tickets on sale soon:

• Tron, Glasgow: 19 – 21 September
• Summerhall, Edinburgh: 23 – 25 September
• James Milne Institute, Findhorn Bay Arts Festival: 28 September

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