- IAN HISLOP AND NICK NEWMAN RETURN TO THE WATERMILL WITH A BRAND-NEW COMEDY – SPIKE
- ORIGINAL MUSICALS THE WICKER HUSBAND AND OUR MAN IN HAVANA RETURN POST PANDEMIC
- NEWLY CREATED WATERMILL YOUTH ENSEMBLE PERFORM FIRST PRODUCTION
- BECCA CHADDER AND TALITHA WING JOIN AS PLAYWRIGHTS IN RESIDENCE
- Book online at watermill.org.uk or VIA the Box Office on 01635 46044
- TICKETS ON SALE TO FRIENDS OF THE THEATRE FROM WEDNESDAY 3 NOVEMBER
- GENERAL ON SALE TUESDAY 9 NOVEMBER
Artistic Director Paul Hart, Executive Director Claire Murray and the team at Newbury’s The Watermill Theatre are thrilled to announce details of the spring season, running from January to May 2022, as well as the appointment of two new Playwrights in Residence.
The season opens with the world premiere of SPIKE, a new comedy based on the life of Spike Milligan by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. It is followed by the return of folk-inspired mythic musical THE WICKER HUSBAND, rescheduled following the postponement of its debut run in 2020, due to the pandemic, and a world premiere musical adaptation of Graham Greene’s bestselling novel OUR MAN IN HAVANA. The Watermill’s newly created Youth Ensemble, comprised of young people age 11+, will make their debut in a new production, to be announced. The season takes place inside The Watermill’s auditorium, with both full capacity and socially distanced performances available. Government guidelines will apply throughout the season with adherence to current guidance and restrictions.
The Watermill have appointed Becca Chadder and Talitha Wing as the new Playwrights in Residence. They will be mentored by Watermill Associate Artist, Danielle Pearson, in a programme that forms part of a continued commitment to artists at the early stages in their careers. Further details will be announced soon.
Paul Hart said, “Joyous new work will galvanise our post pandemic recovery as we bring back two new musicals that were cut short by the pandemic, our young actors in the Youth Theatre return to the stage for the first time since 2019 and I’m delighted to be working with Ian Hislop and Nick Newman to bring the life and work of comic genius, Spike Milligan, to The Watermill. I’m proud and grateful that we’re able to continue creating new and innovative work, thanks to the generous support of our brilliant audiences, supporters and funders.
“It’s been a long road since The Wicker Husband, a piece that is so perfect for The Watermill’s stage, opened and was forced to almost immediately close, in March 2020. With its beautiful score, and incredible puppets, I can’t wait to welcome back the whole team for this remarkable show. And our commission of a new musical version of Our Man in Havana, will be performed for the first time, finally making it to our stage, after production was halted by the pandemic.
“I’m also excited to be working with Ian Hislop and Nick Newman again, bringing the world premiere of their brilliant new play about the comic genius that is Spike Milligan and his creation of the iconic Goon Show, to The Watermill stage.
“We’re also launching a brand new Youth Ensemble, opening up access to young people in our community led by our inspiring Outreach Director; Heidi Bird. For the first time our newly rebranded Youth Ensemble will be made entirely of young people who attend any one of our regular weekly groups, including our specialist access groups for young people who are Home Educated, have Autism, have added complications in their lives or are Deaf/deaf or have a hearing impairment. We are delighted to form this brilliant company of actors who will come together and tell a unique and inspiring story.
“Finally, I’m so pleased to welcome Becca Chadder and Talitha Wing as our Playwrights in Residence. They will be mentored by our Associate Artist, Danielle Pearson and I can’t wait to see how their work develops over the coming years.”
SPIKE, a new comedy by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman that delves into the inner workings of one of our most unique and brilliantly irreverent comedy minds, will premiere at The Watermill from Thursday 27 January – Saturday 5 March. SPIKE will be directed by Watermill Artistic Director Paul Hart, with design by Katie Lias. Full creative team and casting will be announced shortly.
“I’m not acting crazy. I’m the genuine article.”
It’s the booming fifties, and Britain is in the clutches of Goon mania as men, women and children across the country scramble to get their ear to a wireless for another instalment of The Goon Show. While Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers get down to the serious business of becoming overnight celebrities, fellow Goon and chief writer Spike finds himself pushing the boundaries of comedy, and testing the patience of the BBC.
Flanked by his fellow Goons and bolstered by the efforts of irrepressible sound assistant Janet, Spike takes a flourishing nosedive off the cliffs of respectability, and mashes up his haunted past to create the comedy of the future.
Will Spike’s dogged obsession with finding the funny elevate The Goons to soaring new heights, or will the whole thing come crashing down with the stroke of a potato peeler?
At last, it looks like the theatres are coming back to life. The local theatres are open with all sorts of Covid regulations for the performing companies. However, I don’t see much evidence of mask wearing amongst the audience. I managed to obtain tickets for Six, the musical about the wives of Henry VIII. It was brilliant, so much energy, clever lyrics, costumes and stage presentation. It was so good to be back in the theatre again. The theatre did ask that everyone took rapid flow tests before they came, but I wonder how many did, although the place was packed.
Our amateur productions are back in full swing. Although, I’m wondering why I offered to undertake being the costume lady for Flare Path, as I now have to take a trip miles away to collect the RAF uniforms. The other problem is asking actors to try things on, is like getting blood out of stone. How long does it take to try a pair of shoes on? So far it has taken six weeks.
Meanwhile, I am busy learning my part as well as juggling costumes, and now find that I seem to be providing the props. Talk about a one-man band. I suggested that the company should try to raise some money for the RAF Association by having collecting tins, and now realise that it will be me rattling them after every performance. I should have kept quiet.
A friend Ashton More wrote a musical that took place at Chelmsford Theatre utilising local actors (professional and amateur) but mainly consisting of schoolchildren. This was a big success. Our cancelled Lindisfarne play, Don’t Dress for Dinner, is now close to performance having been re cast after lockdown. Unfortunately, most of the people in the original production, are now busy with other things
My short film Feet of Clay is completed and we have shown it to some of the local filmmakers and have had positive feedback. There are some very clever, green screen special effects. The plan is to enter it into the film festivals in 2022, so we will have to look out for them.
Already we are advertising the auditions for plays to perform in 2022, so it looks as if it is full steam ahead, fingers crossed.
Image: Quarantine’s ’12 Last Songs’ runs at Leeds Playhouse on 23 October. Photo: JMA Photography
Leeds’ international performance festival, Transform, and renowned theatre company Quarantine are on the hunt for a dozen different local professionals for a one-off new show they are making to open at Leeds Playhouse on 23 October. The diverse list of people they are looking for includes a clock or watchmaker; an ICU Nurse; a Stockbroker; a Philosopher; an Armed Forces Officer; a Factory Worker; a Transplant Surgeon; a Track and Trace Worker; an Uber Driver; a Butcher; a religious leader such as a Granthi, Rabbi, Priest or Imam and an Acupuncturist.
Spanning 12 hours from midday to midnight on 23 October, 12 Last Songs will invite members of the public to demonstrate what they do for work, live on stage to create a fleeting portrait of Leeds. Part performance and part exhibition of people 12 Last Songs will explore the role work plays in our lives, how it shapes our identity and, in the context of the pandemic, how these ideas have been completely turned on their heads.
Each person taking part in the event will be invited to work a paid shift on stage, during which they will be asked to demonstrate their skills and answer questions about their work and lives.
12 Last Songs will launch Transform’s festival for 2021-22 which will re-imagine what an international festival can look like and represent now and in the future. In response to the last 18 months, Transform 21-22 is an invitation to artists and communities to join Transform in manifesting an extended festival for our times, one that is slower, more sustainable and care-led. From Autumn 21-Spring 22, this extended festival will invite audiences from across Leeds and beyond to rediscover and explore the city and connect with powerful artists from across the globe.
People who are interested in taking part in 12 Last Songs should email Jay Millard, Assistant Producer at Transform email@example.com by 6pm, Tuesday 12 October. It should be noted that Transform and Quarantine are NOT looking for professional actors and no previous performance experience is required.
Audiences for 12 Last Songs are free to come and go across the 12-hour duration, and tickets are Pay What You Can, starting at just £2. www.transformfestival.org
12 Last Songs – 23 October 2021
Leeds Playhouse. Playhouse Square, Quarry Hill, Leeds, Yorkshire LS2 7UP
12 Last Songs is co-commissioned by Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Cambridge Junction with the support of the Stobbs New Ideas Fund, and HOME. It is co-produced by Transform and is supported by Arts Council England, The Rank Foundation and Manchester City Council.
Transform 21-22 is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, and supported by Leeds 2023 and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Produced in partnership with Leeds Playhouse.
Telephone: 0113 213 7700
Tickets range from £2-£25 with audiences invited to select from a range of ticket options, making a choice based on their individual financial circumstances. Further information can be found on the Transform website. Please note that a booking fee (£2.50) is charged for each transaction (not for each ticket).
WITH DESIGNS BY BUNNY CHRISTIE & PUPPETRY BY TOBY OLIÉ
RUNNING FROM 22 JANUARY – 28 MAY 2022
PRESENTED BY THE CHILDREN’S THEATRE PARTNERSHIP
IN ASSOCIATION WITH BIRMINGHAM REP
Full casting and the complete tour schedule are announced for the highly anticipated upcoming production of George Orwell’s classic satirical fable, Animal Farm, adapted and directed by the multi award-winning Robert Icke (The Doctor, Hamlet, Mary Stuart, Oresteia, 1984).
The brand-new production will embark on an extensive UK tour, opening at Birmingham Rep from 22 January 2022, with press night on Wednesday 2 February. The play then tours to Cambridge, Newcastle, Bath, Norwich, Salford, Plymouth, Nottingham, Coventry, Blackpool, Liverpool, Canterbury, Richmond and Wolverhampton, completing its run on 28 May 2022 at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre.
The cast of Animal Farm includes Matt Churcher, Darcy Collins, Enrico D. Wey, Ailsa Dalling, Elisa De Grey, Edie Edmundson, Michael Jean-Marain, Rayo Patel, Yana Penrose, Markus Schabbing, Sharon Sze, Ben Thompson and Matt Tait.
The production also combine the forces of some of UK theatre’s most talented creatives, including designs by the four-time Olivier Award-winning Bunny Christie (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Company, Ink, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), and puppetry by Toby Olié (War Horse, Running Wild, The Grinning Man, Goodnight Mister Tom).
The animals of Manor Farm drive out the farmer and run the farm themselves.
A revolution. And then what? Then freedom. Every animal will be free.
Old Major, the prize boar, calls the animals of Manor Farm together.
He has had a strange dream of a better future.
George Orwell’s world-famous, biting political novel was first published in 1945 and tells the story of a revolution and its aftermath. Re-imagined by an award-winning creative team, Animal Farm is a dynamic, daring and contemporary take on a timeless story.
Icke previously worked on another of Orwell’s classics, 1984, which he co-adapted and directed alongside Duncan Macmillan, garnering him his first Olivier Award nomination for Best New Play in 2014, enjoying smash-hit runs in both the West End and on Broadway. Animal Farm also reunites Icke and Christie following their celebrated 2016 collaboration on The Red Barn at the National Theatre.
The production is produced by Children’s Theatre Partnership (CTP) in association with Birmingham Rep. CTP creates bold and imaginative theatre for young people, engaging new audiences and aiming to inspire a life-long love of theatre.
By George Orwell
Adapted & Directed by Robert Icke
Set & Costume Designs by Bunny Christie
Puppetry Designs & Direction by Toby Olié
Produced by Children’s Theatre Partnership in association with Birmingham Rep
Press Night: Wednesday 2 February @ 7pm – Birmingham Rep
Website: animalfarmonstage.co.uk | childrenstheatrepartnership.co.uk
- Birmingham Repertory Theatre birmingham-rep.co.uk
22 January – 05 February 202 0121 236 4455
- Cambridge Arts Theatre cambridgeartstheatre.com
08 February – 12 February 2022 01223 503333
- Newcastle Theatre Royal theatreroyal.co.uk
22 February – 26 February 2022 08448 11 21 21
- Bath Theatre Royal theatreroyal.org.uk
01 March – 05 March 2022 01225 448844
- Norwich Theatre norwichtheatre.org
08 March – 12 March 2022 01603 630 000
- Salford Lowry thelowry.com
22 March – 26 March 2022 0343 208 6000
- Plymouth Theatre Royal theatreroyal.com
29 March – 02 April 2022 01752 267222
- Nottingham Theatre Royal trch.co.uk
05 April – 09 April 2022 0115 989 5555
- Coventry Belgrade Theatre belgrade.co.uk
12 April – 16 April 2022 024 7655 3055
- Blackpool Grand Theatre blackpoolgrand.co.uk
19 April – 23 April 2022 01253 290 190
- Liverpool Playhouse everymanplayhouse.com
26 April – 30 April 2022 0151 709 4776
- Canterbury Marlowe Theatre marlowetheatre.com
03 May – 07 May 2022 01227 787787
- Richmond Theatre atgtickets.com/venue/richmond
10 May – 14 May 0844 871 7615
- Wolverhampton Grand Theatre grandtheatre.co.uk
17 May – 21 May 2022 01902 42 92 12
- Bromley Churchill Theatre churchilltheatre.co.uk
24 May – 28 May 2022 020 3285 6000
- RUFUS HOUND AS ‘TOM GOOD’
- PREEYA KALIDAS AS ‘MARGO LEADBETTER’
- DOMINIC ROWAN AS ‘JERRY LEADBETTER’
- SALLY TATUM AS ‘BARBARA GOOD’
Full casting has been announced for the brand new stage adaptation of beloved British comedy THE GOOD LIFE which tours the UK this Autumn.
The acclaimed cast will include actress and presenter Preeya Kalidas as ‘Margo Leadbetter’, Dominic Rowan as ‘Jerry Leadbetter’, and Sally Tatum as ‘Barbara Good’, joining the previously announced actor and comedian Rufus Hound as ‘Tom Good’. Also featured will be Nigel Betts and Tessa Churchard.
The new comedy by Jeremy Sams, is based on the classic television series by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey which entertained countless millions in the 1970s. Directed by Jeremy Sams, this world premiere production will be the first time that the iconic characters of suburban neighbours the Goods and the Leadbetters will be seen on stage.
THE GOOD LIFE will open at Theatre Royal Bath on 7 October 2021, before dates at Cheltenham Everyman, Salford Lowry, Oxford Playhouse, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Malvern Theatres, Richmond Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre.
Remember the Goods – Tom and Barbara, suburban eco-warriors? And their next-door neighbours Margo and Jerry Leadbetter, desperately trying to maintain the Surbiton status quo? Jeremy Sams’s comedy leads the well-loved characters through uproarious adventures, some old, some new and often (even today) hilariously familiar. This new play celebrates a time when, whatever our differences, we still managed to get on with our neighbours.
Beloved BBC comedy THE GOOD LIFE ran on British television from 1975 to 1978 starring Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington.
Rufus Hound is an award-winning actor, comedian and presenter equally at home with roles on screen including Doctor Who, Cucumber, Hounded and on the stage including One Man Two Guvnors (Theatre Royal Haymarket), What The Butler Saw (Theatre Royal Bath / Leicester Curve), Don Quixote (RSC), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre London), Present Laughter and Neville’s Island (Chichester Festival Theatre) and his award-winning role as Mr Toad in The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium, UK tour and cinema broadcast).
Preeya Kalidas made history as the first British Asian female to play the lead in a musical when she originated the role of Priya in the West End production of Bombay Dreams. Notable screen credits include award-winning feature films Four Lions, Bend it like Beckham and as Amira Shah in BBC’s EastEnders. Preeya played the title role in BAFTA nominated Bollywood Carmen and also starred in Britz, Mistresses, Bodies, Banglatown Banquet and England Expects. Major stage credits include Oxford Street (Royal Court Theatre), Chiaroscuro (Bush Theatre) Olivier Award nominated for Bend it like Beckham the Musical (Phoenix Theatre), Joseph and his amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (The Adelphi), School of Rock (Gillian Lynne Theatre), and most recently Everybody’s talking about Jamie (Apollo Theatre).
Dominic Rowan’s work in theatre includes: A Dream Play, Iphigeneia at Aulis, Mourning Becomes Electra, Three Sisters, Happy Now?, The Talking Cure and Private Lives (National Theatre); The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merchant of Venice and Talk of the City (RSC); A Voyage Round My Father, Berenice and Lobby Hero (Donmar Warehouse); A Doll’s House (Young Vic), Playhouse Creatures (Old Vic); Way to Heaven and Forty Winks (Royal Court Theatre); The Importance of Being Earnest (Oxford Playhouse); Sexual Perversity in Chicago (Crucible Theatre); The Rivals, Charley’s Aunt and Look Back in Anger (Royal Exchange); A Collier’s Friday Night (Hampstead Theatre); Wit’s End (New End Theatre); Under The Blue Sky, (Duke of York’s); The Misanthrope (Comedy Theatre), As You Like It (Globe Theatre).
Sally Tatum is an actress, comedian and writer who was placed on the BAFTA Rocliffe Forum List for emerging comedy writers. Stage credits include Present Laughter, and Red Light Winter (Theatre Royal Bath), A Day in the Life of Joe Egg (Liverpool Everyman), Gaslight (Old Vic) and As You Like It, Twelfth Night and Solstice (RSC). Television credits include Episodes, Boy Meets Girl, and My Mad Fat Diary.
Nigel Betts’ work in theatre includes: Steel (Sheffield Theatres), Albion (Almeida Theatre), Three Days in the Country (National Theatre), Wonderland (Hampstead Theatre), Pastoral (Soho Theatre), One Man Two Guv’nors, War Horse (National Theatre/West End), Aladdin, (Lyric Hammersmith),The 39 Steps, Up’n’Under, Henry IV, As You Like It (West End). TV includes: Toast, King Gary, Ridley Road, Grantchester, Casualty, All Creatures Great and Small, Father Brown, The A Word, Pennyworth, Harlots, Killing Eve, Trollied, EastEnders, Scarborough, Outlander, Little Boy Blue, Bliss, Bounty Hunters, Death in Paradise, Boy Meets Girl, Vera, Class, The Coroner, DCI Banks, New Tricks, You, Me & Them, The Wrong Mans, Doctor Who, Waterloo Road, Doctors, Holby City, Downton Abbey, The Escape Artist, The Starlings, Doc Martin, Moving Wallpaper, The Bill, Trial and Retribution, The Catherine Tate Show, Coronation Street, The Street, Emmerdale, Doctors, Grange Hill, Midsomer Murders, Silent Witness, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Sharpe’s Mission, Courtroom, Grease Monkeys, Inspector Lynley Mysteries, A Touch of Frost, Final Demand, Paradise Reclaimed, and As Time Goes By.
Tessa Churchard’s theatre credits include The 39 Steps (Criterion Theatre, West End), As You Desire Me (Playhouse Theatre, West End) Noises Off (Piccadilly Theatre, West End), Family Business, Brighton Beach Memoirs and Blithe Spirit (Watford Palace Theatre), Lady Of Leisure, Still Life/ The Astonished Heart, Point Of Death (Liverpool Playhouse), Gaillileo’s Daughter, Man And Superman, Don Juan (Peter Hall Company, Bath Theatre Royal), Remember This (Royal National Theatre), Communicating Doors, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Richard III (Theatre Royal, Northampton), The Diary Of Anne Frank (Basingstoke Haymarket Theatre), Dying In The Street (The Print Room), and The Fabulist (Old Red Lion). For television and film her credits include The Coroner (BBC), EastEnders (BBC), Call The Midwife (BBC), Casualty (BBC), Dixi (CBBC), Doctors (BBC), The Grain Chest (CK Productions), Family Affairs (Talkback Thames), Harringham Harker (BBC), Jeeves And Wooster (ITV) and The Bill (Talkback Thames).
Jeremy Sams‘s directing credits include the National Theatre’s 2000 West End and Broadway revival of Noises Off, the West End musical Spend, Spend, Spend, the international tour of The Sound of Music and Oklahoma! at Chichester Festival Theatre.
Fiery Angel presents THE GOOD LIFE. Adapted and directed by Jeremy Sams based on the TV series by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey. Set and Costume Design by Michael Taylor, Lighting Design by Mark Henderson, Sound Design by Fergus O’Hare, Composition by Tim Sutton and casting by Ginny Schiller CDG.
thegoodlifeonstage.com | @goodlifeonstage
Fiery Angel presents…
THE GOOD LIFE
Adapted and directed by Jeremy Sams based on the TV series by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey
Set and Costume Design by Michael Taylor
Lighting Design by Mark Henderson
Sound Design by Fergus O’Hare
Composition by Tim Sutton
Casting by Ginny Schiller CDG
7 October – 16 October 2021
Theatre Royal Bath
theatreroyal.org.uk | 01225 448 844
19 October – 23 October2021
everymantheatre.org.uk | 01242 572 573
26 October – 30 October 2021
thelowry.com | 0343 208 6000
2 November – 6 November 2021
oxfordplayhouse.com | 01865 305 305
9 November – 13 November 2021
Cambridge Arts Theatre
cambridgeartstheatre.com | 01223 503 333
16 November – 20 November2021
malvern-theatres.co.uk | 01684 892277
23 November – 27 November2021
www.atgtickets.com/Richmond | 0333 009 6690
30 November – 4 December 2021
Chichester Festival Theatre
cft.org.uk | 01243 781 312
‘A variety of musical styles and his self-effacing charm brings laughter and warmth. The multi-coloured coat may have established his place in the West End, but it’s very obviously talent that has kept him there.’ The Stage
‘fun, sexy and energetic … (his) fans thrilled to be back in the theatre, listening to charming renditions of the songs they know and love’ Broadway World
With a return to the live arena in June 2021 with a special 40th Birthday concert at the London Palladium, and an 11-date theatre tour, LEE MEAD MY BAND AND ME, the year has suddenly become very busy for the multi-talented star of stage and screen, Lee Mead. Added to this, a live DVD – Lee Mead Live in Concert, recorded at The London Palladium is set for release in November and can be pre-ordered via Lee’s website www.leemead.co.uk.
The theatre tour, LEE MEAD – MY BAND AND ME kicks off on 10 September in Lee’s home county, Essex, at the West Cliff Theatre in Clacton on Sea and runs through 31 October. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by Lee’s website.
Lee will be performing songs from his five hit albums that will include fan favourites and popular songs from the West End and Broadway. Lee will also be presenting some new material that has been written for him and that he has been writing during lockdown.
Lee, who has starred in West End shows including Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Wicked and Legally Blonde, has also starred in touring productions of Phantom Of the Opera, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and in 2022 will be playing Paul, the lovelorn vicar in Fat Friends The Musical. Lee was catapulted to fame when he won the role of Joseph in the TV show Any
Dream Will Do and has since gone on to star in the BBC One dramas, Casualty and Holby City playing Nurse Lofty and recently he played himself in the comedy hit Motherland.
During his career, Lee has performed with Josh Groban, Susan Boyle, Michael Ball and Donny Osmond to name a few and is himself a Gold-selling artist. He is delighted to be back on the road again doing what he loves most, singing fantastic songs with a wonderful live band under the direction of Musical Director Adam Dennis.
Talking about the tour Lee Mead commented “I’m so excited to get back out on the road again, not only to get the chance to play music with my band but also to experience live audiences again. There is nothing like it. I’ve missed performing so much as there is such a unique connection with theatre audience – whatever the size of the venue there is an intimacy about live performance that doesn’t compare to anything else for me.”
|Friday, 10 September
||Clacton On Sea, West Cliff Theatre
|Thursday, 16 September
||Dunstable, Grove Theatre
|Wednesday, 29 September
||Southend, Palace Theatre
|Friday, 1 October
||Milton Keynes, The Stables
|Sunday, 3 October
||Cheltenham Everyman Theatre
|Sunday, 17 October
||Wellingborough, Castle Theatre
|Friday, 22 October
||Lincoln, Theatre Royal
|Saturday, 23 October
||Leeds City, Varieties Music Hall
|Thursday, 28 October
||Taunton, The Brew House
|Saturday, 30 October
|Sunday, 31 October
||Eastleigh, The Concorde Club
All photos: Stephen Candy
By R. Huntingdon
In a year, or two, that has had a significant impact on the industry, I took my seat with excited trepidation, after what seemed an age since I had enjoyed any live entertainment. The front cover of the programme shares ‘Welcome back to Junior Musicality 2021’, and I am reminded that the children and young adults about to enter on stage have not performed to an audience since early 2020. If I felt nervous for them, they must be feeling it tenfold.
But, by goodness you would not have known it! The 70+ cast hit us with a bang, in perfect harmony, for the Newsies opening medley, strong, confident and ready to show the audience what we had all been longing for, pure musical theatre indulgence. As the first act progressed, I had to pinch myself to remind me this was not a show, rehearsed and fine tuned for months. The cast, aged between 8 and 18 years old, had put this together in just five days and credit must go to all of the performers and production team for the high standards achieved.
With over 33 brilliant, fully harmonised and choreographed numbers, it would simply be too difficult to cover all of them, but particular highlights include 38 Planes from Come from Away, Right Hand Man from Something Rotten, My New Philosophy from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Run Freedom Run from Urinetown. The younger performers impressed with their energy and precise moves in Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins and had the house roaring with laughter with their brilliant characterisation in Life’s a Happy Song from The Muppets. I try to avoid picking out individuals, as every performer contributed so well, however I am compelled to mention Lara Nunns for her beautifully sung and played So Big/So Small from Dear Evan Hansen and Sophie Williams’ With You from Ghost. Both of which had me in tears. This was remedied by the hilarious characterisation of Noah Dawson as Beetlejuice in That Beautiful Sound and the whole cast in their foot tapping, life affirming rendition of the Rocketman finale, which sent us away joyous and ready to watch it all over again.
Sadly, I’ll have to wait for the next Ariel production but, at last, it might be something we don’t have to wait quite so long for again.
An outstanding job by all involved, thank you for sharing it with me.
Stage and screen actress Dame Penelope Keith will collaborate once again with director Alan Strachan and designer Simon Higlett for Two Cigarettes in the Dark, a brand new play by Stephen Wyatt, produced by Jonathan Church Theatre Productions and Cambridge Arts Theatre.
Bright, witty, and fiercely independent, Isabel is not ready to let go just yet.
In a series of encounters with an old friend and her two sons, by turns funny, startling and poignant, home truths are exchanged, and her past begins to emerge. As Isabel confronts her own hidden regrets and family secrets, we learn what hides below the surface of this proud mother, wife, and friend. Finally, Isabel is able to make peace with her life and say goodbye.
Dame Penelope Keith said: “Following this difficult period for regional theatres I am delighted to be bringing this new play to a group of theatres and audiences who have been important to me over the years. When I read Stephen’s touching and amusing play which has at its centre a (rare to find) role for an actress of a certain age, I knew immediately I wanted to play the part and bring this play to audiences across the country.”
Dame Penelope Keith is renowned for her many acclaimed roles on stage and screen, most notably in the iconic British sitcoms The Good Life and To The Manor Born. Her recent theatre credits include The Chalk Garden, Mrs Pat, The Way of the World and Entertaining Angels (all Chichester Festival Theatre). Her most recent television appearances include Penelope Keith’s Hidden Villages and Penelope Keith’s Coastal Villages on Channel 4. She was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire in the new year honours 2014.
TWO CIGARETTES IN THE DARK
17 – 26 February 2022
Chichester Festival Theatre
3 March – 12 March 2022
Cambridge Arts Theatre
14 – 19 March 2022
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
22 – 26 March 2022
New Theatre, Cardiff
28 March – 2 April
4 – 9 April 2022
Brighton Theatre Royal
19 – 23 April
Theatre Royal Bath
25 – 30 April
THE DRESSER – Norman (Julian Clary) & Sir (Matthew Kelly). Photo: Alastair Muir
Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Everyman Theatre Productions are delighted to announce the full tour dates for Ronald Harwood’s highly acclaimed drama The Dresser starring the much loved UK entertainer Julian Clary as Norman and Olivier Award winner Matthew Kelly as ‘Sir’.
Directed by Olivier Award-winning Terry Johnson, The Dresser will run at Theatre Royal Bath from 9 September 2021, before dates at Cheltenham Everyman Theatre, Theatre Royal Brighton, Norwich Theatre Royal, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Richmond Theatre, Malvern Festival Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and newly announced– the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford and the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh where the tour finishes in February 2022.
Joining Julian Clary and Matthew Kelly in the cast are: Emma Amos as Her Ladyship, Rebecca Charles as Madge, Natalie Servat as Irene, Pip Donaghy as Geoffrey Thornton, Samuel Holmes as Mr Oxenby, Robert Shaw Cameron as Kent, Peter Yapp as Gloucester, Stephen Cavanagh as Albany, with Claire Jeater and Michaela Bennison in the ensemble.
Inspired by memories of working as Donald Wolfit’s dresser as a young man, Ronald Harwood’s evocative, affectionate and hilarious portrait of backstage life is regarded as one of the most acclaimed dramas of modern theatre.
It is 1942 and in a war-torn provincial theatre an aging actor-manager, known to his loyal acting company as ‘Sir’, is struggling to cling on to his sanity and complete his 227th performance of King Lear. For 16 years Norman, Sir’s devoted dresser, has been there to fix Sir’s wig, massage his ego, remind him of his opening lines and provide the sound effects in the storm scene. It is down to Norman to ensure that in spite of everything, the show goes on.
Julian Clary has performed across the world and is renowned for his many successes across television, radio, film, writing and stand-up comedy. His roles on stage include Leigh Bowery in Boy George’s Taboo (West End and national tour), the Emcee in Rufus Norris’s Olivier Award winning production of Cabaret (West End), and Le Grand Mort (Trafalgar Studios). Julian also regularly performs in panto and will return to the London Palladium this Christmas. His many TV credits include Trick or Treat, Saturday Night Live, Sticky Moments, Terry and Julian, All Rise, Strictly Come Dancing, Have I Got News For You and QI. He toured the UK earlier this year with his latest one-man comedy show Born To Mince.
Matthew Kelly is an Olivier Award winning actor who is also well known for presenting the television series Stars in their Eyes and You Bet!. Matthew Kelly’s West End credits include Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellen and Roger Rees, Big The Musical (Dominion), Funny Peculiar, Sign of the Times, Lend Me A Tenor!, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and as Lennie in Of Mice and Men (Savoy) for which he received the Olivier Award for Best Actor. Other recent theatre credits include Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art, Pride & Prejudice (Regents Park & UK Tour), and Troilus and Cressida (Shakespeare’s Globe). His many television credits include the award-winning Cold Blood, Benidorm, Bleak House and Moving On.
Ronald Harwood was an Academy Award, Palme d’Or and BAFTA-winning screenwriter and playwright. His plays include Taking Sides, Equally Divided and Quartet. His screenplay for the film of The Dresser received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Screenplay. His films include the Academy Award winning The Pianist, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Love in the Time of Cholera.
Terry Johnson is a dramatist and director who has won numerous theatre awards including two Olivier Awards as a playwright for Best Comedy and a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for La Cage Aux Folles. Other West End credits include The Libertine, End of the Rainbow, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Duck House, Whipping It Up and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He recently directed Uncle Vanya at the Hampstead Theatre and has previously directed Mrs. Henderson Presents, Hysteria and The Libertine at Bath.
Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Everyman Theatre Productions present…
Julian Clary and Matthew Kelly in THE DRESSER
By Ronald Harwood
Directed by Terry Johnson
Designed by Tim Shortall
9 September to 18 September 2021
Theatre Royal Bath
Box Office: 01225 448844
21 September to 25 September 2021
Cheltenham Everyman Theatre
Box office: 01242 572573
28 September to 2 October 2021
Theatre Royal Brighton
Box office: 0844 871 7615
5 October to 9 October 2021
Norwich Theatre Royal
Box office: 01603 630 000
12 October to 16 October 2021
Cambridge Arts Theatre
Box office: 01223 503 333
19 October to 23 October 2021
Theatre Royal Plymouth
Box office: 01752 267 222
26 October to 30 October 2021
Box office: 0844 871 7615
18 January – 22 January 2022
Malvern Festival Theatre
Box office: 01684 892277
25 January to 29 January
Box office: 01865 305305
1 February to 5 February 2022
Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Box office: 01227 787 787
8 February to 12 February 2022
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
Box Office 01274 432000
15 February – 19 February 2022
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Box Office 0131 529 6000
The true story of Britain’s strangest ever house haunting, that became a worldwide podcast hit through an 8-part series on BBC Radio Four, is coming to theatres across the UK.
‘The Battersea Poltergeist’ was a multi-million download, genre-busting phenomenon, mixing documentary and drama to tell the incredible and terrifying true story of the 1956 haunting of the
Hitchings family at the hands of a poltergeist they nicknamed Donald.
Now at this exclusive live event, you will meet the show’s creator, writer and journalist Danny Robins – who is currently making his West End writing debut with ‘2:22: A Ghost Story’ at the Noel Coward Theatre, starring Lily Allen, Julia Chan, Hadley Fraser and Jake Wood – and other guest experts from the podcast.
Together they’ll delve deeper into this paranormal cold case, bringing the investigation to life on stage, sharing exclusive footage of Shirley Hitchings and other witnesses, and revealing some stunning (and chilling) new evidence.
London date: ‘The Battersea Poltergeist – Live’ at Clapham Grand, on Halloween, October 31, 2021 at 7.30pm (doors at 6.30pm)
Clapham Grand is located just minutes from the site of the actual haunting at 63 Wycliffe Road.
Dubbed Britain’s strangest ever haunting; it was a poltergeist case that spanned an incredible 12-year period. At its height, became a major national news story, with newspaper headlines about strange noises, flying objects, exorcisms and ghostly communication. An attempt was even made to contact the poltergeist on live prime-time TV on the BBC and it was discussed by the Home Secretary in the House of Commons.
At ‘The Battersea Poltergeist – Live’ there will be a Q&A so you can put your questions about the case and the making of the series to Danny and his team of experts!
Are you #TeamSceptic or #TeamBeliever? Be part of the investigation that’s spurred millions of listeners worldwide to become supernatural sleuths.
Produced by James Seabright.
Danny Robins at Wycliffe Road, Battersea – where the haunting happened.
Photo: Simon Barnard
2021 UK Tour Dates
Monday 25 October at 8pm
SALFORD – The Lowry
https://thelowry.com/ 0343 208 6000
Wednesday 27 October at 7.30pm
GUILDFORD – G Live
https://glive.co.uk/ 01483 369350
Saturday 30 October at 7.30pm
BASINGSTOKE – The Anvil
https://www.anvilarts.org.uk/ 01256 844244
Sunday 31 October at 7.30pm (doors 6.30pm)
LONDON – Clapham Grand
https://claphamgrand.com/ 020 7223 6523
Monday 1 November at 7.30pm
IPSWICH – Regent Theatre
https://ipswichtheatres.co.uk/ 01473 433100
Tuesday 2 November at 7.30pm
YORK – York Grand Opera House
https://www.atgtickets.com/york/ 0333 009 6690
Wednesday 3 November at 7.45pm
POOLE – Lighthouse Poole
https://www.lighthousepoole.co.uk/ 01202 280000
Friday 5 November at 7.30pm
CHELTENHAM – Cheltenham Town Hall
https://www.cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk/ 01242 528764
Sunday 7 November at 7.45pm
BRIGHTON – Brighton Theatre Royal
https://www.atgtickets.com/brighton/ 0333 009 6690
Running time: 90 mins plus interval
- Twitter: @battpoltergeist
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