A CHALLENGING play will be performed in Durham next month (May).

North-East playwright Adrian Marks’ Waiting for Gandalf will be staged at Empty Shop, off Framwelgate Bridge, on Wednesday, May 11 at 6.30pm and the City Theatre, Back Silver Street, on Thursday, May 19 on 7.30pm.

Both performances are free to view, with charity collections afterwards.

The one-man show features Chris Neville-Smith as Kevin Brook, a Lord of the Rings fan who camps overnight waiting for an autograph from Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf in the popular film series.

But the real reasons for Brook’s devotion expose his disturbing past.

The show was nominated for the Best New Writing award at the Buxton Fringe in 2014 and will go to the Brighton Fringe in late May.

Mr Marks said: “It was not only a challenging piece to write, as my first full one act monologue, but will be challenging to the performer, as it has demands that make it an intricate piece for even the most experienced.

“Finally it is challenging for the audience, as they have to be prepared to ride the emotional rollercoaster of the story of the ring bearer.”

Mr Neville-Smith said: “I’ve been shying away from making the leap from Buxton to Brighton before, but this was a perfect play to take.

“Adrian Marks’ character of the misunderstood Kevin is something that resonated with me. As well as his compassionate portrayal of Kevin, the play covers some difficult issues we don’t usually think about and whilst these issues may be uncomfortable for some in the audience, they are issues we need to talk about more.”

For more information, visit chrisnevillesmith.info