The Chester blog

Against the Grain’s “Mr Dumpling” coming soon

Scroll down to content

Theatre Company Against The Grain was due to have staged its latest production, “Mr Dumpling”, by playwright and company co-founder Mark Newman last year but with lockdown restrictions in place, the show had to be shelved. With restrictions now lifted, the company have a brand-new venue and dates for the production which will now be staged at The Live Rooms, Chester in the Autumn. It will be the first time that the popular live music venue has played host to a theatrical production. 

Mr Dumpling cast and crew attend a read through

Speaking about starting work on producing the play which will run at The Live rooms from Monday 29th November – Wednesday 1st December at 7.30pm, Mark whose previous plays include “Useless Beauty” and “The Prescribed Distance” said “We’re delighted to finally be able start work on my (now not so) new play, “Mr Dumpling”, and even happier to be bringing it to The Live Rooms in Chester, a venue more usually associated with live music.  The management of the venue have already been very supportive and encouraging we are very much looking forward to performing there.  The last 18 months have been very frustrating as we originally had plans to perform the play in July 2020.  However, the enforced lay-off has allowed me to fine tune the play and it’s now as polished and funny as it can be.  It will be something of shock to the system to back in the rehearsal room and having to memorise lines again but a welcome change from doing nothing!  We can’t wait to share “Mr Dumpling” with an audience, we’re sure they must be missing seeing live theatre every bit as much as we’ve missed producing it. ”


Speaking about the play which being produced by the same team behind the acclaimed Forum Studio Theatre production of “Glorious!” and the sell-out production of Jan Bengree’s “Small Tales” at Chester Little Theatre, company co-founder Paul Crofts said “Mr Dumpling” tells the story of middle-aged man Graham who moves back in with his dysfunctional parents after splitting up with his partner. Little does he expect to find his mother operating a telephone sex line, and both of them at each other’s throats.  So, three weeks later, when he finds himself ‘assisting the Police with their inquiries’ into their disappearance, just how much should he tell them?  Should he mention what his Dad asked him to help with?  Exactly what is buried under his mother’s prize-winning rhododendron? And who the hell is Mr Dumpling? This latest play by Mark is outrageous and hilarious in equal measure and combines memorable dialogue and grotesque characters to promise a hugely enjoyable night out, but perhaps not one you’d want to bring the kids to!”

Stuart Evans

Playing Graham is Chester based Actor and fellow company co-founder Stuart Evans whose recent TV credits include “Judge Rinder’s Crime Stories” and the award-winning Channel 4 Aids drama “It’s a Sin”. Originally from the Wirral, LIPA graduate Stuart has also recently filmed scenes for ITV drama series “The Bay” and “Dodger” a new BBC period drama based on the iconic character from the Charles Dickens novel “Oliver Twist”. Explaining how good it felt to be back in the rehearsal room, Stuart said “Finally we are back! It has been a long time coming but we are now ready to share “Mr Dumpling” with an audience. The impact of Covid has changed many lives and when you are a creative, you are really left twiddling your thumbs. The Against The Grain Cast and Crew are itching to bring this brilliant comedy to the stage. Just having our first read through gave us goosebumps and reignited our love and passion to create theatre. My Character, Graham is a simple guy who only wants life to be easy yet he’s hit with so many revelations in the play. He has no choice but to take everything that is thrown at him. Each character has been pitched perfectly by Mark and, as outrageous the scenes and lines are, it is utterly believable. I am so excited to hear the audience’s reaction and of course, their laughter. We are back and going anywhere!”

Full details of “Mr Dumpling” can be found at www.theliverooms.com where tickets can be booked online.

%d bloggers like this: