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Preview: Theatre to see this week

PUBLISHED: 10:07 11 January 2013 | UPDATED: 10:07 11 January 2013

Maurice

Maurice

Archant

The first play in the Sewell Barn Theatre Company's 2013 season is Maurice, EM Forster's semi-autobiographical story of repressed love. Plus: Guy Masterson's unique solo interpretation of Animal Farm and the return of all-male Shakespeare with Propeller.

Maurice

Sewell Barn Theatre, Constitution Hill, Norwich, January 10-19, £8 (£6 cons), 01603 697248, www.sewellbarn.org

The first play in the Sewell Barn Theatre Company’s 2013 season is Maurice by EM Forster’s semi-autobiographical story of repressed love in an Edwardian society where homosexuality was a crime, adapted for the stage by Roger Parsley and Andy Graham.

Based on Forster’s novel, written in 1914 but unpublished until his death in 1970, it explores Maurice Hall’s sexual awakening and his struggles with the pressures exerted on him through school, university days and beyond and ends with him finding happiness in the arms of a working class lover.

In Forster’s story Maurice’s acceptance of his homosexuality awakens not only his physical passion, but his social conscience and his spirituality.

This dramatic adaptation by Graham and Parsley is effective, framing the story around Maurice’s search and utilising flashbacks efficiently.

Animal Farm

Norwich Playhouse, January 17, £10 (£8 cons/£7 student groups), 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

Animal Farm is perhaps the 20th Century’s most important work of political satire. Translated into over 100 languages, it’s studied on academic syllabi all over the globe.

Guy Masterson’s unique solo theatrical interpretation — created in 1995, succeeds in bringing the book to vivid life in a dramatic physical performance storytelling.

Using nothing but a wooden box (or sometimes a bale of hay), some amazingly creative sound effects and effective lighting, the story is told with clarity.

Masterson tells the story through the characters, switching from animal to animal, each having a different voice and characterisation.

The simplicity and magic of Orwell’s fairytale and his allegorical message of betrayed idealism is conveyed with blinding relevance proving the work to be as important today as it was 60 years ago.

www.theatretoursinternational.com

Propeller 2013

Norwich Theatre Royal, January 24-February 2, £23-£5.50, 01603 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Led by director Edward Hall, the internationally acclaimed all-male company Propeller return to Norwich following previous triumphant productions of Richard III, Henry V, The Comedy of Errors and The Winter’s Tale.

This year’s double-header is The Taming Of The Shrew (Jan 24-26/Jan 31-Feb 1), a brash, brutal and darkly comic story that pulls no punches, and Twelfth Night (Jan 29-30/Feb 1-2).

Both plays explore how being in love with the wrong person reveals true feeling as Shakespeare asks us to examine what makes happiness.

Twelfth Night tells a twisted tale of mistaken identity, transformation and deception, with a man playing a girl disguised as a boy, illusion and reality are almost indistinguishable on the island of Illyria.

The Taming Of The Shrew has two, disguised, competing suitors clamour for the hand of beautiful Bianca whilst gold digging Petruchio agrees to wed her viciously ill-tempered sister Kate sight-unseen.

www.propeller.org.uk

Don’t Miss

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

UEA Drama Studio, January 17-19, £6-£4, 01603 508050, www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk

Minotaur Theatre Company presents this chamber production of Edward Albee’s seminal play in initimate space of the rehearsal room of the UEA Drama Studio.

Our Big Land

New Wolsey Theatre Studio, Ipswich, January 12, 2.30pm/7.30pm, £5, 01473 295900, www.wolseytheatre.co.uk

When an old Gypsy woman is left alone following the death of her only son, the local authorities believe a care home is the best place for her. But the woman has other ideas. New production from Romany Theatre Company.

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