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28 October 2014

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Theatre and Arts

Laughing Gas poster

Darke's final play to tour Cornwall

Local playwright Nick Darke's comedy which charts the rise of one of Cornwall's most famous sons, Sir Humphry Davy is back on the road this autumn.

Cornish actor Carl Grose completed the comedy script that was left unfinished when local playwright Nick Darke died earlier this year.

Laughing Gas was originally commissioned for the National Theatre and had its world premiere at the Drum Theatre in Plymouth last September. Now it is back again for autumn 2006.

The story

Set in the lecture theatre of the Royal Institute, the play follows Humphry Davy as he prepares for his most testing challenge to date – the delivery of a make-or-break lecture that could change science forever and launch him into the history books.

Mixing up plenty of fun in Laughing Gas

But as Humphry desperately struggles to solve the elusive formula of the Voltaic Pile, dark things are afoot on the streets outside the Institute, revolution spreads through the city.

The Royalist mob lynch those who bad-mouth their King and Humphry just can’t seem to get rid of his troublesome companions, Gregory Watt and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, both of whom want to try out his new invention of laughing gas. The audience is arriving soon, the clock is ticking, and time is running out.

"This breakneck new comedy is set against the backdrop of one of Britain’s most exciting periods, an era of literary invention, revolution and scientific innovation," says Simon Harvey, the play’s director.

"But the play has its focus firmly on the present day, examining issues of ambition, inspiration and the nature of celebrity."


Laughing Gas is being staged by o-region

The play was commissioned for the National Theatre and entered another stage of development when local theatre company o-region began to collaborate on a new version. Nick Darke worked with the group along with students from Brannel School.

Nick worked closely with o-region on developing, writing and structuring the play throughout the first half of 2005, but sadly passed away in July before the final script was fully completed.

Nick Dark was a key collaborator with The Kneehigh Theatre, he was born in Cornwall in 1948. His mother was an actress and his father a chicken farmer and fisherman.

Laughing Gas - Autumn Tour 2006


3rd The Torch, Milford Haven (01646 695267)
5th The Arc, Trowbridge (01225 766241 / 756376)
6th-7th The Rondo Theatre, Bath (01225 463362)
10th Veryan Parish Hall (01872 501462)
11th Quartzfest, Taunton (01823 340829)
12th Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe (01271 324242)
13th Treviglas College, Newquay (01637 872076)
14th Princess Pavilion, Falmouth (01326 211222)
17th St Eval Parish Hall (01841 521616)
19th Kidz R Us Theatre, St Ives (01736 797007)
20th Regal Theatre, Minehead (01643 706430)
21st Bude Parkhouse (01872 222622)
30th Humphry Davy School (01736 363559)
31st Humphry Davy School (matinee) (01736 363559)


1st Salisbury Arts Centre (01722 321744)
2nd Lighthouse, Poole (08700 668701)
3rd The Flavel, Dartmouth (01803 839530)
4th Plough Arts Centre (01805 624624)
7th Sticker Village Hall (01726 73812)
8th-11th Tobacco Factory, Bristol (0117 902 0344)

last updated: 02/10/06
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