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Preview: Upcoming theatre shows in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 09:04 17 February 2012

We Happy Few

We Happy Few

Archant

The Maddermarket's latest production We Happy Few tells the touching story of a group of female actors who tour the country performing the works of Shakespeare during the Second World War. Plus: Henry VIII And The Wedding Planner, Sons & Lovers.

HENRY VIII AND THE WEDDING PLANNER

Norwich Playhouse, February 18, £10 (£8 cons), 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

This inventive, plucky one-woman show tells a turbulent period in British history from the sidelines, the room next-door to the seat of power.

Henry VIII caused a constitutional crisis over his serial marriage disorder, caused misery to five of his wives, but created a celebrity out of his wedding planner.

This tongue-in-cheek historical performance takes a dramatic and touching journey through the lives of Henry’s jilted brides, all performed brilliantly by Julia Gwynne. She also plays Jane Packer, lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII’s wives, sister-in-law to Anne Boleyn and astute witness to the conveyer belt of women brought to the king’s bed in the hope of producing a male heir.

The production, created by Gwynne and director Andy Burden, has no props and no scene changes, just a witty, absorbing and increasingly emotional portrait of a woman seated at the top table during turbulent times.

WE HAPPY FEW

Maddermarket Theatre, February 23-March 3, £12-£8, 01603 620917, www.maddermarket.co.uk

The Maddermarket’s latest production tells the touching story of a group of female actors who tour the country performing the works of Shakespeare during the Second World War.

We Happy Few was written by the actress Imogen Stubbs, and was directed by her husband, Trevor Nunn, when it was first performed in London at the Gielgud Theatre in 2004.

Described by the author as “Dad’s Army meets the Spice Girls”, the play finds the actresses living out of the back of an elderly Rolls-Royce as they do their bit for the war effort by criss-crossing the land to spread the magic of live theatre.

Tackling everything from the greatest plays of Shakespeare to Winnie-the-Pooh, the troupe’s acting abilities are stretched as personalities clash, tempers become tattered and relationships are born.

SONS & LOVERS

Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich, February 23-25/February 29-March 3, £8 (£6 cons), 01603 697248, www.sewellbarn.org

The latest production at the Sewell Barn Theatre on Constitution Hill is this stage adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s powerful semi-autobiographical novel, often considered as the first great psychological novel.

It tells the emotionally charged story of an artistic young man, Paul Morel, and his relationships with his father, his controlling mother, Gertrude who dreams of a golden future for Paul that she will share, and two very different women who enter his life.

Gertrude, trapped in a sterile marriage, focuses all her passion, her hopes, and her expectations on Paul. He, in turn, struggles to find his own way, looking for love with both Miriam and Clara, only to discover that his mother’s influence on his life kills all other passion.

DON’T MISS

LEGALLY BLONDE

Norwich Theatre Royal, February 28-March 10, £35-£6.50, 01603 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

The West End and Broadway musical, which scoop the Olivier for Best New Musical last year, arrives in Norwich for a three week run. Based on the hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon, this touring production stars Niki Evans, Ray Quinn and Les Dennis.

FAUSTUS

Norwich Playhouse, March 5, £10 (£9 cons), 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

John Faustus has made a deal. Whatever he desires, anything can be his. All he has to give in exchange - is his soul. Adapted from Christopher Marlowe’s classic script by Richard Hasnip this adaptation comes from Saltmine Theatre.

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