Jester’s tale’s a right Royle treat for Steve

Steve Royle as Dan Leno
Steve Royle as Dan Leno
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The world premiere of a play starring Blackpool panto’s favourite funnyman Steve Royle is taking to the stage at Lytham Festival.

Steve will lead the cast in the premiere of Dan Leno: A Royal Jester from Wednesday to Sunday, July 18 to 22.

Dan Leno was a music hall comedian who developed his skills in the North West before becoming a champion clog dancer, acrobat and comedian.

Steve said: “It’s something not many people have written about in the past. Lots have tried to do little bits to bring his stuff back to life.

“The problem is [Dan] never recorded any of it and there’s only a few audio recordings of it.

“He’s a very visual entertainer – a bit like myself with my juggling and things.

“People find it hard to find the humour in it because it’s just a script they’re reading.”

The play is set in the asylum where Leno lived at the time of his death from a brain tumour, aged just 43.

Steve explained: “He was in a mental institution when he died so it’s all set in there. It’s quite deep and reflecting back on his life.

“He starts to perform some of his sketches while in the institution which is how we fit the comedy in.

“The actual audience is also meant to be in my head. So the idea is they are not a real audience so I get free reign to go out and chat to the audience and play around with the script in a way Dan used to do.”

The play runs at the Wesley Hall Theatre, with shows at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Book online at www.lythamfestival.com.