Our programme for 2018
20th to 24th February 2018
Alan Ayckbourn’s breakthrough comedy, directed by Jim McClure
Relatively Speaking gave Ayckbourn his first West End hit, starring Celia Johnson, Michael Hordern and the young Richard Briers (quite a cast for the debut of a twenty-something writer!) and Noël Coward congratulated him “on a beautifully constructed and very funny comedy”. History aside this is still a very funny play, reprised only four years ago with Felicity Kendal.
Greg only met Ginny a month ago but (despite strange slippers under the bed) has already made up his mind that she’s the one. When she tells him that she’s going to visit her parents, he decides this is the moment to ask her father for his daughter’s hand. Discovering a scribbled address, he follows her to Buckinghamshire where he finds Philip and Sheila enjoying a peaceful Sunday morning breakfast in the garden.
Someone Who'll Watch Over Me
24th to 28th April 2018
A remarkable piece of theatre by the Irish playwright Frank McGuinness, gripping, inspiring and leavened with humour.
Directed by Glynn Oram.
Inspired by the experiences of Brian Keenan and John McCarthy who were held captive in the Lebanon in the 80s, ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ introduces an American doctor, confined with an Irish journalist and an English academic in a dank prison. A universal exploration of strategies for survival and a reminder that we are always stronger together, whatever circumstances or cultural differences exist. The play follows an emotional journey as the men rally against the uncertainty of their future, survive and stave off despair by finding common ground, search for camaraderie and use humour and imagination to take them beyond the four prison walls.
Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense
26th to 30th June 2018
The hilarious re-telling of PG Wodehouse tales by the Goodale Brothers, directed by Steve Atkins and Krysia Blake
The writers have drawn largely on the 1938 novel “The Code of the Woosters”, to tell a dramatised version of an elaborate anecdote involving his Aunt Dahlia, a stolen antique and a night at the country pile of his short-sighted friend Gussie Fink-Nottle.
The twist is, however, that the story is told by a small cast playing all the parts, male and female, doing their own sound effects, quick-changes, talking to themselves (nothing new there, then!) and shifting the scenery. The style is redolent of ‘The 39 Steps’ and ‘Noises Off’ whilst being faithful to the original story, and the play scooped the Olivier award for best comedy.
The London press reported;
“I suspect that Wodehouse himself would have loved this production, and there is no doubt that it captures the dotty, sunlit innocence of his work with panache.” The Telegraph
“This unapologetically frivolous show should entertain those who have never been exposed to Wodehouse, and devotees will lap it up.” The Evening Standard
Laying the Ghost25th to 29th September 2018
Simon Williams’ laugh-out-loud comedy with moving moments, directed by Wendy Huntley
The play takes place in a home for retired thesps somewhere in the South of England (judging by the cast it should be Barking) While watching her companions growing old disgracefully, Freda is looking for the men’s naughty bits in her jigsaw puzzle, topping up the swear box over her bar bill, and chatting to her husband- who died years ago.
Margot is an ex-actress who is trying to forget it’s her seventieth birthday while all around her are intent on reminding her.
Worse still, the tabloids are having a field day with her womanising ex-husband, whom she would also rather forget. Unfortunately, her day gets worse as a series of concerned but unwelcome visitors arrive, and the resolution of these issues makes for a spirited and charming piece of theatre complete with pathos and an unexpected resolution.
A Woman of No Importance
27th Nov to 1st Dec 2018
Oscar Wilde’s witty observation of aristocratic society, directed by Merry Evans
Wilde is barbed as ever in this piece with a wonderful range of male and female characters – mis-matched marriage partners, a clever author, the young ingénue - meeting in an English country house setting to assassinate each other’s reputations.
The charming but unprincipled Lord Illingworth has taken a liking to young Gerald Arbuthnot and offers him the chance of a life time to become his private secretary and assistant. Meanwhile, Gerald has met and fallen in love with Hester Worsley a young American woman who, defying the stereotypes of her time, is not out to make a glittering monetary match but is gentle, thoughtful, principled and outspoken. Gerald’s mother is surprisingly not happy that he should take up the post with Illingworth and we begin to sense there is some past intrigue that binds these characters together. Amidst the comedy, there are serious points to be made about Victorian society and Wilde also explores the principles we still hold to in our own times, as well as creating a great deal of suspense and excitement as the mystery unravels.