MARSDEN'S Mikron Theatre Company spend each summer touring the inland waterways aboard their narrowboat Tyseley, albeit the old girl had to spend a month off duty this time for emergency repairs. The actors nevertheless ploughed on, indeed putting their best foot forward to keep their two shows on the road/water.

Unlike Mikron's preferred summertime mode of transport, Best Foot Forward is set on terra firma, detailing as it does the past, present and maybe the future of YHA, the Youth Hostels Association, whose acronym has been known to stand for Your Husband Assured too, such is a good walk's beneficial qualities to courting couples.

Performed so vibrantly by this year's multi-talented crop of Mikron actor-musicians, company regular James McLean, Rose McPhilemy, Claire-Marie Seddon and Craig Anderson, Maeve Larkin's sprightly play weaves the YHA's history, German origins et al, into its story of the Pearling Manor hostel being under threat of conversion to a golf club if an acquisitive shady banker (McLean) has his way.

The place is falling apart; some might deem it ramshackle, the manager (Seddon) prefers to call it "shabby chic". The banker's minion (Craig Anderton) is sent to force closure, but the ghost of Connie (McPhilemy), the first ever warden, will try to guide a path to a secure future.

Larkin's tale is humorous yet cautionary too, so too are the songs composed by Kieran Buckeridge, which range from a George Formby pastiche (Wainwright Appreciation Society) to a haunting paean to the Foot and Mouth apocalypse of 2001 (The Pyre).

Good news: Mikron will return to York next summer and autumn with two as yet untitled premieres, both debut solo commissions: Vashti Maclachlan's suffragette play, to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, and York playwright Ged Cooper's condition check on 70 years of the National Health Service. Like Lord Reith's founding principles for the BBC, Mikron will continue to inform, educate and entertain.

For Mikron Theatre Company's tour details for Best Foot Forward and In At The Deep End, visit