Review: Yorkshire Kernel at Theatre 41

This is a story of a journey across England to locate the trees planted after the war, by protagonist James’ grandad, in memory of his WW2 comrades. James’ mission is to bring back an acorn. His grandad is dying and he wants James to plant an acorn in Yorkshire, at a site where his ashes will be scattered.

By Angie Millard

Simple? You’d think so but when James tries to find these trees, time has taken its toll.

This one man show is a fast-paced account of the search for these oak trees in which Danny Mellor plays all the characters he meets, with the aid of many hats and multiple voices. The speed at which he changes roles and voices is extremely funny and a complicated tale unfolds. Mellor’s energy and inventiveness takes one’s breath away.

We begin by meeting his grandad, who is the epitome of a plain speaking Yorkshireman, and he gives his grandson a puppet to take along on the journey as his voice and companion. I found myself being drawn into his world and the vision of the said puppet sitting beside him, enjoying the ride was utterly enchanting. The Brummie in charge of a tree felling vehicle was my favourite other character but go along and find out for yourself. 

The production is on tour later in the year and is commissioned by Bad Apple Theatre for their ‘No Hall Too Small’ scheme and has a recommended age of 10+. 

It may well change a little in the meantime yet, I hope the sheer dogged determination of James to fulfil his grandad’s last wishes holds fast and his ashes don’t blow over into his hated Lancashire.

Yorkshire Kernel was performed at Theatre 41, Monkgate on Friday 27 May 2022.