The Shakespeare Review
by Christopher Luscombe & Malcolm McKee
15 - 24 September 2011
This is an affectionate and tuneful look at the world of Stratford's favourite son. Devised by members of the National Theatre, it features song, soliloquy, satire and send-up to provide an evening of endless pleasure to all who can see the funny side of serious theatre and like it to come with a sharp wit and a catalogue of catchy songs. Fancy the Shakespeare Rag? Like to hear Hamlet at the Music Hall? See Othello interviewed by his future mother-in-law? Listen to the lament of a RSC spear-carrier? Want to watch Macbeth and Juliet in the balcony scene? Well, here's a delightfully different way to brush up your Shakespeare – and, yes, that's in there too. A wonderful way to start the new season. Not to be missed.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
by Edward Albee
20 - 29 October 2011
Made internationally famous through the film with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, this is a remarkably gripping play which recounts an evening when George, a history professor at a New England university, and his wife Martha entertain another couple.
As the drinks flow, the guests become an embarrassed audience to George and Martha’s private agenda and the evening unravels. It ends with Martha revealing a shocking secret. In this moment, the powerful love-hate connections which bind the unhappy George and Martha together are finally exposed to their audience – and to themselves. This is powerful drama in a beautifully constructed play.
Home Is Where Your Clothes Are
by Anthony Marriott & Bob Grant
24 November - 3 December 2011
From the title alone, you might guess this is farce. And you would be right – improbable, absurd, beyond belief and very, very funny. It concerns The Major, whose wife has run off with another man, leaving him with a house be cannot afford. To maximise his asset, he lets out the basement – twice. Once to Jill, who uses is only at the weekend: and Philip, who uses it only on weekdays. It works well until both tenants change their routines, leaving the Major scrambling to maintain the status quote by changing wardrobes, beds, drawers, dresses, suits, soft toys etc, etc according to which tenant turns up next. Daft? Yes. Implausible? Of course. An undemanding evening of laughter? Definitely.
by Christopher Hampton
12 - 21 January 2012
When a chap meets his girl friend to end their relationship in a civilised, considered, amicable way, he hardly expects her new lover to be part of the discussion., But that is what happens when Dave calls on Ann to explain his part of the break-up. The unexpected arrival of the new man, Patrick, rouses Dave to mild violence but fisticuffs are avoided when the situation is defused by Ann. The two men then begin to discuss the lady, much to her annoyance, and the three of them engage is a series of arguments and recriminations which end with one of the men asking Ann to marry him. Which one? Does she accept? The answers will be revealed by seeing this intriguing and clever play by one of Britain's most inventive playwrights.
The 39 Steps
By arrangement with Edward Snape for Fiery Angel Limited
John Buchan and Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps
Adapted by Patrick Barlow. From an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon
22 - 31 March 2012
This is a theatrical tour de force. Richard Hannay, handsome, soldierly, lantern-jawed, pipe-smoking Englishman befriends a lonely woman who is later stabbed in his flat. She was mixed up with a team of foreign spies, which leads Hannay to Scotland, all the time evading the police who want him for the woman's murder. Taking the Flying Scotsman, he has to cling to the train as it passes over the Forth Bridge and later crosses the moors with avenging spies in pursuit. Finding refuge with a crofter, he is helped to escape by the crofter's wife before finding himself handcuffed to a girl he met on the train. He stays overnight in a small hotel with her – while remaining the perfect gentleman, of course – and then meets the master spy and finally brings the whole evil network to book in a triumphant finale. All this on stage as costumes, props, sets, lighting, sound and characters appear and re appear in a dazzling display of quick changes. Huge fun.
Murdered To Death
by Peter Gordon
19 - 28 April 2012
A country house. Assembled guests. A dark and stormy night. A murder. The police are called. Enter Inspector Pratt - and from there on it is a glorious spoof of every Agatha Christie murder mystery you ever saw. The bumbling cop pursues clues and points fingers in every direction while never quite seeing the obvious, or nailing the culprit. It is not so much a question of whether Pratt will get his man before someone else gets the chop as whether he will make an arrest before the audience dies of laughter. Like Clouseau? You'll love Pratt.
An Ideal Husband
by Oscar Wilde
16 - 25 February 2012
A classic. Always concerned with the manners of the upper classes, Wilde takes us into the world of politics and questions of honour among the people who govern. Sir Robert Chiltern is a junior minister in the government of the day: rich, influential and a pillar of the late Victorian establishment, destined for the highest office. Into his life comes the mysterious Mrs Cheveley, a woman with shadowy contacts among the highest echelons of power in Europe. She brings with her a fatally damaging secret which she uses to compromise Chiltern's position in government and in society – a possibility which shocks Chiltern's wife and risks her loyalty. In unfolding this dilemma, Wilde mixes bleak morality with his usual garnish of wit and observation, making this a thoroughly entertaining excursion into the elegant drawing rooms of high society in late 19th century London.
by Moliere (in a new translation by Roger McGough)
24 May - 2 June 2012
Tartuffe, a prime character invented by Moliere in the 17th century, has become another name for hypocrite. In the play, Tartuffe, a wily impostor, is invited into his home by a wealthy merchant, Orgon, who believes Tartuffe to be a paragon of virtue to whom the Orgon family must defer. He even goes so far as preparing to leave Tartuffe his fortune and to offer him his daughter's hand in marriage. Other less gullible family members come close to exposing him but the slippery Tartuffe always manages to maintain his righteous image. In the end, it is Mme Orgon who exposes Tartuffe for the fraud he is – and exposes her husband for the fool he is. All done with a deliciously light touch and with a happy ending to complete the evening.
Lilies On The Land
by The Lions Part
28 June - 7 July 2012
These are several inter-linked stories – and they are all based on real events. They are about Land Girls, some of the thousands of young women who were conscripted during World War Two to serve as labourers on the nation's farms. With all the young men from the land being called into the armed forces and the paramount need to aim for self sufficiency in food, young women were sent to help the farmers. Some loved it: some hated it. Some had a tolerable time with reasonable hosts: others were treated as slave labour. From out of this experience come four girls with stories to tell – some funny, some sad but most merely illustrating life on the farm in that long-ago era – "during the war". And throughout it all, we hear the music and the songs from that time, when everything changed and women drove tractors, milked cows, delivered lambs, ploughed fields and brought in the harvest.