Theatre News

Cambridge

Mischief Movie Night, a play that improvises a movie on stage - after the audience has suggested a genre, location and title, will be at Cambridge Arts Theatre from June 19-23.

This is not a traditional version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It takes terrible liberties but it is definitely a play for today. At one point, there is literally a bun fight - joined in by the audience who were screaming with laughter.

Back at the venue for a third time, having sold out for the last two runs, The Play that Goes Wrong will be at Cambridge Arts Theatre from May 28 to June 2.

Tracy Beaker Gets Real, based on the book by Jacqueline Wilson about a little girl growing up in care, is at Cambridge Junction on Sunday, June 10.

Cambridge

The faded Southern Belle, Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire is one of the most difficult roles to perform.

Two powerful women walk on to the stage in identical clothes, black velvet trouser suits. There is a thrill of tension. One will play Mary Stuart, Mary Queen of Scots, the other will play Queen Elizabeth I. The audience doesn’t know who will play who, and neither do they. At each performance, the spin of a coin will decide. When the courtiers bow to the queen, the die is cast, the play starts.

Henry VIII

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.

Paris

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

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