Sense & Sensibility
by Jane Austen, adapted by Jessica Swale
5 to 14 July 2018
Jane Austen’s story of the Dashwood sisters and their search for love is so sweet it brings tears to the eyes. Jessica Swale’s adaptation does it proud. We see Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, left in penury by the death of their father, trying to maintain their dignity amid the slights and injustices of their relatives. Elinor, herself tortured by the love of a man she cannot have, rescues her sister from an unsuitable alliance and settles with their mother in genteel poverty. Sustained by the kindness of new friends and distant relatives, the sisters live their single lives without the love and security they crave. But at the end, their lives are changed, their dreams become real and happiness embraces them warmly.
Frank & Rosy
A romantic musical comedy by Andrew Bailey
21 to 30 September 2017
Frank & Rosy is a funny, compassionate, intelligent and hugely enjoyable exploration of the state of male-female relationships at the beginning of the 21st Century. In the unlikely setting of a relationship in trouble, it unearths a rich vein of humour and insights that never fail to capture the hearts of audiences. Heart-warming and unexpectedly moving, this musical play captivates you with its sharp, wry depiction of the stresses and strains on a couple as they attempt to bring up children, hold down jobs and keep their romance alive.
by Tom Stoppard
26 October to 4 November 2017
Arcadia takes place in the stately home of Lord & Lady Croom in Derbyshire in two separate times: the Regency period and the present. 1809 finds a household in transition, where an Arcadian English garden landscape is being uprooted to make way for picturesque Gothic gardens, complete with hermitage. Meanwhile, brilliant thirteen-year-old Lady Thomasina proposes a startling scientific theory that is only starting to be figured out more than 200 years later. In the present day, we find the descendants of Lord and Lady Croom and two competing scholars researching a possible scandal at the estate in 1809 involving Lord Byron. What results is a brilliant comedy the New York Times called, ‘the perfect blend of brains and emotion, wit and heartache’ in which everyone tries to puzzle over the meaning of the universe, and each, in his own way, is blindsided by the attraction that Newton left out of his equations.
by John Hodge
30 November to 9 December 2017
Moscow, 1938. A dangerous place to have a sense of humour; even more so a sense of freedom. Mikhail Bulgakov, living among dissidents, stalked by secret police, has both. And then he’s offered a poisoned chalice: a commission to write a play about Stalin to celebrate his sixtieth birthday. Inspired by historical fact, Collaborators embarks on a surreal journey into the fevered imagination of the writer as he loses himself in a macabre and disturbingly funny relationship with the omnipotent subject of his drama. John Hodge’s blistering new play depicts a lethal game of cat and mouse through which the appalling compromises and humiliations inflicted on any artist by those with power are held up to scrutiny. Won the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2012.
Key for Two
by John Chapman & Dave Freeman
11 to 20 January 2018
This is a bedroom farce. Saucy, simple – and very funny. It concerns a lively lady named Harriet who lives a comfortable life in a luxury flat in Brighton. It is all paid for by two gentlemen – each unknown to the other – who pay the rent in return for the occasional comfort of Harriet’s bed. All goes well until the arrival of a stream of visitors. First is Harriet’s long-time friend Anne, a girl with an eye for the men and just separated from her husband. Then Anne’s husband, who has always carried a torch for Harriet. Finally, two suspicious wives looking for their husbands who, they think, are being treated in Harriet’s nursing home. Preposterous? Of course. But forget logic. Prepare for an evening of undemanding fun.
by Matthew Barber from the novel by Elizabeth von Arnim
15 to 24 February 2018
A gently romantic story where, for a group of English ladies, a kind of peaceful content blossoms with the flowering of the wisteria adorning a beautiful Italian villa. Set just after World War One, it follows two bored and unhappy wives whose marriages to a solicitor and a writer are in weary decay. On impulse, the two ladies rent a villa in Italy and invite two other women to join them. Together, they come under the spell of the enchanted villa. When joined by their husbands at the end of their stay, they rediscover happiness and an unexpected touch of romance. A sweet and touching conclusion to a play about taking stock of life amid the beauty of nature.
Never The Sinner
by John Logan
15 to 24 March 2018
Based on a real event which shocked America in 1924, the play tells how two privileged young men – Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb – murdered a 14-year-old boy for no other reason than to prove they were superior beings above the law. They were not. Arrested, they came to trial in Chicago, charged with murder. As always, the courtroom provides rich drama. As the trial unfolds, it becomes the setting for an argument over the death penalty. The State wants the two young men hanged. Defending them is the renowned lawyer Clarence Darrow. Calling on the judge to take account of the two men’s mental state, he argues that hanging them would be a crime itself: that it is reasonable to hate the sin, but never the sinner. Altogether, a truly gripping account of a historic trial.
One Man, Two Guvnors
by Richard Bean, based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, with songs by Grant Olding
19 to 28 April 2018
It’s 1963. Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe, a small-time East End hood, now in Brighton to collect £6,000 from his fiancée’s dad. But Roscoe is really his sister Rachel posing as her own dead brother, who’s been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers. Holed up at The Cricketers Arms, the permanently ravenous Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a second job with one Stanley Stubbers, who is hiding from the police and waiting to be re-united with Rachel. To prevent discovery Francis must keep his two guvnors apart. Simple.
In Richard Bean’s award-winning English version of Carlo Goldoni’s classic Italian comedy, sex, food and money are paramount. It ran at the National Theatre, in the West End and on Broadway, winning James Corden a Tony Award.
The Good Soldier
by Ford Madox Ford, adapted by Julian Mitchell
24 May to 2 June 2018
“This is the saddest story I have ever heard...”
So begins Ford Madox Ford’s classic Edwardian story of love and deception. John Dowell, an American, looks back over a seemingly perfect time before the outbreak of the First World War, when he and his wife befriend a former British officer and his wife in a German health spa. The two couples meet annually over nine years, basking in the kind of golden existence that wealth and privilege bestow. Beneath the harmonious exterior, however, things are not what they seem. As John Dowell – and the audience – discover the truth, a whole world collapses... Julian Mitchell’s stage adaption was premiered at The Theatre Royal, Bath in 2010, following a memorable 1980’s film version starring Jeremy Brett and Robin Ellis.