New play looks at the extraordinary life of Lily Kwok

Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok
Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok

From a childhood working in a silk factory, to the murder of her father, to the escape to the UK that separated her from her children, the new play by In-Sook Chappell charts the extraordinary life of Lily Kwok (Key Theatre, May 1 and 2).

Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok is based on Helen Tse’s family memoir Sweet Mandarin.

The play moves from heartwarming highs to catastrophic lows as it recounts the story of the women behind this famous Manchester restaurant. Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok asks questions about what you give up to fit in, and what you leave behind to move forward. The restaurant’s famous Mabel’s Chicken Pot will be cooked live onstage.

Helen has grown up in the UK, but always felt a piece of her story was missing.

When she visits her grandmother’s birthplace in Hong Kong for the first time, she’s determined to find out who she really is and where she belongs. Amidst the skyscrapers and bustling streets, she meets her grandmother, Lily Kwok, and steps into her past, discovering shocking family secrets that will change her life forever.

Helen Tse and her twin sister Lisa have run the Sweet Mandarin restaurant since 2004. It was voted Best Local Chinese restaurant on Gordon Ramsay’s the F Word, and Helen and Lisa were awarded an MBE for Services to Food and Drink in 2014. They have three cookbooks and a range of sauces that are sold internationally. Helen is also a practising lawyer with a law degree from Cambridge University.

Writer In-Sook Chappell was born in South Korea and raised in England. Her first play This Isn’t Romance won the Verity Bargate Award and was produced at the Soho Theatre, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and most recently presented in Korean at the National Theatre of Korea. Her other plays include Tales of the Harrow Road (Soho Theatre), Absence (Young Vic), and P’yongyang (Finborough Theatre).



Comedy Club

The Cresset, April 27

This month the line-up includes Eddy Brimson, who masterfully combines a mixture of belly laughs and pseudo-shock as he playfully probes into British culture.

Joining him is Pierre Hollins, who will take to the stage along with his trusty guitar to cover topics such as love, hate, sex, politics and bank holiday traffic . Also appearing is Ed Night, who was nominated for this year’s

prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Award . Completing the line-up is winner of the 2017 Comics Best MC Award, Laura Lexx.

Key Comedy Nights

KeyTheatre, April 27

As seen on The Mash Report, Geoff Norcott’s storming mix of observations, impressions and satire have made him a hugely popular act on the UK comedy circuit.

A writer for Channel 4’s Alternative Election, The Sarah Millican Television Show and 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Geoff has also supported Katherine Ryan and Kevin Bridges on tour.

Also on the bill is ​Josh Pugh (English Comedian of The Year​), host Lou Conran and BBC Comedy Award Finalist Morgan Rees.

Blood Brothers

The Broadway, until April 28

Few musicals have received quite such acclaim as the multi-award winning Bill Kenwright production which surpassed 10,000 performances in London’s West End. It has been affectionately christened the ‘Standing Ovation Musical’.Lyn Paul returns to the iconic role she has played many times in the West End, in fact she was the show’s final Mrs Johnstone when it closed at The Phoenix Theatre in 2012.

The superb score includes “Bright New Day”, “Marilyn Monroe” and the emotionally charged hit “Tell Me It’s Not True”.

Lee Nelson - Serious Joker

The Cresset, May 2

Due to huge demand, and over priced lawyers, Lee has extending his smash-hit tour for a second (and final) time, adding an extra 30 dates to his huge 150-show run - including this visit to Peterborough.

You’ve seen him sneaking into places he shouldn’t be, now come and see him where he most definitely should be: live on stage with his sensational Serious Joker Tour.

Steve Parrish

Stamford Corn Exchange, April 28

Enjoy the life and times of Steve Parrish (Stavros) which provide a completely different, colourful, humorous and, at times daring portrayal of this man’s career. Steve raced at the highest level of motorcycle racing, as team-mate to Barry Sheene, dabbled with sports car racing before moving to truck racing. He was the BBC commentator for Moto GP and is now a pundit for Eurosports World Superbike and British Superbike coverage as well as commentating for ITV4 coverage of the Isle of Man TT.