Theatre News

Paris

Everything that opera can do is here. English Touring Opera’s double bill of short Puccini operas, which reached Cambridge Arts Theatre this week (April 16-21) included the tragic Il Tabarro (the cloak) and the comic opera Gianni Schicchi named after a character who deceives all the others to do a good deed.

On the first night of The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895 the story goes that the father of Oscar Wilde’s lover, Bosie, planned to disrupt the play by throwing rotten fruit. Wilde got wind of the plan and The Marquess of Queensbury was refused entrance to the theatre. If the playwright had seen this production by The Original Theatre Company, he might have welcomed him in.

The moment Paul Nicholas walked onto the stage on the first night of Quartet at Cambridge Arts Theatre, I thought how alluring he was, aged 73.

India

The evil Rob Titchener, the wicked husband in Radio 4’s The Archers, who personified “coercive control” and ended up both being jeered at in the street and asked to open village fetes, stole the show on the opening night of The Winslow Boy at Cambridge Arts Theatre.

House of Commons

James Graham’s play, This House, takes you back to the 1970s. It’s set in the House of Commons and it opens with MPs waving their order papers to a band with skinny musicians in jeans with long, flowing tresses. It then moves into the punk era and like the band’s spikey hair and the studs, everything gets harsher.

House of Commons

A rattling good story is always a good place to begin, so this convoluted tale of conmen being conned set Saffron Walden Musical Theatre Company off to a flying start (for their show at Saffron Town Hall from March 6-10).

I won’t be the first to say that the opening for The Weir, Conor McPherson’s spell-binding play, with three men and a woman walking into a bar, sounds like the start of a joke.

The theatrical version of crime writer Patricia Highsmith’s first novel, Strangers on a Train, is ingeniously staged at Cambridge Arts Theatre.

This is an elegant production of an elegant play. It’s very funny and it’s very French. At around 90 minutes with no interval, Art by Yasmina Reza has three actors on stage the whole time and it’s quick fire debate.

Cambridge

When writer James Graham first offered National Theatre director Jeremy Herrin a play set in Parliament, Herrin said: “Have you got anything else?”

NHS

Two meteorologists were tasked with predicting the weather for D Day in June, 1944. The American said the weather would be fine, the Scotsman said it would be stormy.

United Kingdom

Saffron Walden has been brought firmly into the modern era by Saffron Players with this year’s panto, Snow White. You may look as hard as you like, but there’s not a dwarf to be seen anywhere.

Jonathan Scripps

This year’s pantomime from the Saffron Players is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as ever, the costumes are made by Sue James who worked on Pirates of the Caribbean.

Jonathan Scripps

Asked for her favourite part of the pantomime, one of the children invited up onto the stage got a laugh from the audience when she said: “The beginning”.

Hamlet

The play Young Marx, starring Rory Kinnear at London’s newest theatre, The Bridge is being screened live at cinemas on Thursday, December 7.

Europe

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood is this year’s pantomime by the Clavering Players.

Post Office

The Royal Ballet, dancing Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, will be shown live in cinemas in Saffron Walden, Haverhill, Cambridge and Chelmsford on Tuesday, December 5 at 7.15pm.

Chelmsford

It’s the season of pantomimes and Christmas plays - it’s a showcase of all the other forms of performance, song, dance, acrobatics, slapstick and wonderfully performed, precision, over acting. Here’s our pick of the shows.

Cambridge University

The title of this play will mean something immediately to anyone who knows about addiction. To recover, you need to stay away from the people who might encourage you to relapse, the places you go to get high and the things that are triggers.

Angela Singer

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