Sheffield return for TV actor Reece

The Absence of War at Headlong Theatre, Rose Theatre and Sheffield Theatres.''By David Hare.''Directed by Jeremy Herrin.
The Absence of War at Headlong Theatre, Rose Theatre and Sheffield Theatres.''By David Hare.''Directed by Jeremy Herrin.
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TV actor Reece Dinsdale is taking on another lead role in Sheffield, 26 years after he went through a nuclear holocaust in the city.

Reece is playing Labour Party leader George Jones in David Hare’s play The Absence of War, set during the 1992 election that Neil Kinnock famously lost.

The play, which is being revived by Sheffield Theatres, theatre company Headlong and Rose Theatre Kingston for a tour in the run-up to this May’s election, isn’t based on the real-life politicians.

Instead, it looks at just how far a Labour leader has to go to ditch his principles in order to appear ‘electable’.

Sheffield MP Jones and his team are seen grappling with this problem, which ironically means he loses most of his populist appeal as he tries to ‘stick to the script’.

Reece said: “It’s set in 1992 and it’s a look at Labour Party politics at the time, specifically the election campaign.

“It’s not Kinnock but everything else is as it was at the time, looking at a Labour leader who didn’t quite get over the line.

“Labour are facing the same issues today but only time will tell whether they are electable or not.

“It’s a beautifully written play and parallels can be drawn with today.

“It’s a fantastic play that is both impassioned and funny.”

Reece appeared in another political drama, This House, set in the Commons, at the National Theatre in London.

The audience could choose to sit on stage on the backbenches and famously a group of Tory MPs from Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet were booked in for one performance, which turned out to be on the day Thatcher died.

He said: “It made a weird evening.”

Last time Reece was in Sheffield he starred in Threads, the hard-hitting 1984 TV drama set in the city that looks at what happens after a nuclear holocaust.

He said: “I was one of the young couple at the centre and they got the burghers of Sheffield involved to make the film.

“I don’t have much of a memory of where they shot it but it was brilliant and it was a fantastic thing to work on.

“I remember it being bloody cold! I’ve never been so cold in my life.”

Reece appeared last year at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, playing Yorkshire writer Alan Bennett in Untold Stories.

He said: “I thought then, why have I never played at the Crucible? No longer! Here we are. I’ve got a great part in a great play in a wonderful theatre.”

Reece is a familiar face from many TV roles including a two-year stint in Coronation Street as Tina McIntyre’s dad, Joe. He left the show in 2010.

He said: “I am always recognised for three things. One is Coronation Street. You can do 35 years of brilliant solid work and people always remember that.

“I also used to do a father and son comedy series, Home to Roost. John Thaw, who played my father, played my part in this play, when it was first written, at the National.

“There was also a film, ID, about football hooligans and I was a copper who went undercover.

“Boys who weren’t born when we made it in 1995 will shout lines from it down the street.

“Whatever work I’ve done, those are the three things that come back to haunt you.”

The Absence of War is at the Crucible from February 6 to 21. Box office: at the Crucible, online at www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call 0114 249 6000.