Preview: Theatre productions not to miss this week
- Credit: Archant
New Electric Ballroom, which confirmed Enda Walsh as one of the most dazzling new writers in contemporary theatre, is the latest production at the Maddermarket Theatre. Plus: Shakespeare's Globe, Godspell, Heroes and SS Farndale.
DRAMA Winner of the Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008, New Electric Ballroom confirmed Enda Walsh as one of the most dazzling new writers in contemporary theatre. It is the latest production to be staged by the Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, from tonight until August 3 (all 7.30pm nightly, also 2.30pm on August 3). Set in a remote Irish fishing village in the mid-1960s, three sisters live a solitary life trapped in by the past and each other. Each day Clara and Breda re-enact a life-changing event at the New Electric Ballroom one night many years ago. The two of them put on the show – complete with costumes, atmospheric lighting and sound effects – for their younger sister, Ada partly for entertainment, but also as a cautionary tale. The only visitor is Patsy a lonely fishmonger, whose seafood deliveries to the sisters are as predictable as the tides. Clara, sensing a kindred outcast spirit, invites Patsy in to become part of their bizarre ritual and perhaps to rescue Ada. Walsh's script is rich with glorious imagery, smut and diatribe to bring to life the colourful characters and surreal situations. The cast includes Dot Binns, Kate E Cox, Etta Geras and Dean Bramwell. Tickets £12-£8, 01603 620917, www.maddermarket.co.uk
OUTDOOR Shakespeare's Globe Theatre has been touring productions around the world since 2007. This summer they are presenting a new and vibrant production of Taming of the Shrew on an open air Elizabethan-style stage set, with an all-female cast. They will be performing in the historic grounds of Bungay Castle on Tuesday, Wednesday and next Thursday (all 7pm). The outrageous comedy introduces one of the theatre's great screwball double-acts, a couple hellbent on confusing and outwitting each other right up to its controversial conclusion.
It is being billed as a rare opportunity to experience the freshness and simplicity of the theatre tour as it was in Shakespeare's day. Kate Lamb takes on the role of Katherina, while Leah Whitaker plays Petruchio. The play will be directed by Joe Murphy, who is also the artistic director of Nabokov, an acclaimed new writing company. Designer Hannah Clark won the Linbury Biennial Prize for Stage Design in 2005. No seating is provided, so take your own rugs or low-backed chairs. Tickets £17.50, £12 under-17s, 01986 897130, www.shakespearesglobe.com
MUSICAL With modern music and lyrics, Godspell, which tells the story of the Gospel of Saint Matthew through a series of parables, is the latest production at the Westacre Theatre which continues until August 3 (all 7.30pm, not Sunday). Conceived and originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak, with music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, it makes full use of many of the great theatrical traditions, such as clowning, pantomime, charades, acrobatics and vaudeville. It will move and entertain with memorable and foot-tapping songs...not to mention a wonderful story. Tickets £16-£10 (Fri-Sat), £12-£10 (Mon-Thurs), 01760 755800, www.westacretheatre.com
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DRAMA A forest echoes with the sound of gunfire. Terrified children are led across a playground. At Claire's choir rehearsal, one of the singers is missing. David Greig's urgent new play The Events, which is at the Auden Theatre as part of the Holt Festival on Friday (6.30pm), asks how far forgiveness will stretch in the face of atrocity. Featuring a specially formed Holt choir and a soaring soundtrack, this is the UK première of a tale of tragedy, obsession and our destructive desire to fathom the unfathomable. Tickets £16 (£5 cons), 01263 711284, www.holtfestival.org
COMEDY The latest production at the Sewell Barn Theatre, Constitution Hill, Norwich, is Tom Stoppard's translation of Gerald Sibleyras' Heroes, which continues until Saturday (all 7.30pm, also 2.30pm on Saturday). It's 1959 and a trio of First World War veterans have captured the best terrace in the old soldiers' home. Between defending their prime position from the cocoa slurping hoards and avoiding Sister Madeleine's tyranny of tepid soup and unwanted birthday celebrations, Gustave, Henri and Philippe plot an expedition to Indochina, via the poplar trees on the hill just beyond the gate. Heroes (Le Vent Des Peupliers) won the 2005 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Tickets £8 (£6 cons), 01603 697248, www.sewellbarn.org.uk
DRAMA/COMEDY Minotaur Theatre Company from UEA's drama department is preparing to take The Librarians, a new piece of writing, to the Edinburgh Festival next month, but there is a chance to see a preview performance this new dark comedy by Lewis Garvey on Friday (7.30pm). In the endless maze of bookcases that make up the Lionel Tinderghast Community Library, the librarians have all gone quite mad. The performance is at the UEA Drama Studio. Admission, suggested £3 donation, www.minotaurlibrarians.com
DRAMA/COMEDY The next production in the summer repertory season at Sheringham Little Theatre continues with SS Farndale begins next Thursday and runs to August 2 (all 8pm, no Sunday performances). David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jnr's strife-riven romp full of comedy and pathos follows the adventures of thre Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society as they attempt to put on a production to entertain their village. Their choice is a 1930s-style musical comedy set on a luxury cruise liner, but exuding all the glamour, charm and sophistication the era demands proves quite a challenge. This production returns August 26-31. Tickets Fri-Sat £16, Mon-Thurs £15, £10 under-18s, summer rep season tickets available, 01263 822347, www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com