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The Watermill Theatre announces Autumn and Winter season for 2019

Kiss Me Kate
  • Paul Hart directs The Watermill’s summer musical Kiss Me, Kate
  • Bill Buckhurst directs Sondheim’s Assassins in a co-production with Nottingham Playhouse
  • Watermill Young Company presents Cyrano de Bergerac
  • Watermill Ensemble presents a fast-paced A Mini Summer Night’s Dream featuring a cast of three
  • Mark Twain’s classic The Prince and the Pauper reimagined in a new version by Chinonyerem Odimba

 The Watermill Theatre today announced its new season for Autumn/Winter 2019.

In keeping with the theatre’s growing reputation for producing theatrically bold and imaginatively staged musicals performed by actor-musicians, the season highlights will include the multi-award-winning classic Broadway musical Kiss Me, Kate, as well as a co-production with Nottingham Playhouse of Stephen Sondheim’s whip-smart and insightful Assassins

 Also featuring is work from the Young Company who will be performing Glyn Maxwell’s adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s epic Cyrano de Bergerac and The Watermill Ensemble return with a hilarious, high-octane version of Shakespeare’s Dream in A Mini Summer Night’s Dream which will tour to schools. Finally, the festive season unwraps with a lively adaptation by Chinonyerem Odimba of Mark Twain’s classic story of confused identities, The Prince and The Pauper for all the family.

Paul Hart, Artistic and Executive Director said ‘I am really excited about bringing this season of work to The Watermill.  Our summer musicals have become must-see shows, and I can’t wait to get working on Kiss Me, Kate in The Watermill’s unique and intimate space – Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, egos raging and gun-toting gangsters, what’s not to love?  This brilliant show-within-a-show set up and Cole Porter’s sublime score will be reimagined with actor-musicians. I am also delighted to be co-producing Assassins with Nottingham Playhouse, one of Sondheim’s most pertinent pieces, continuing our long association with the work of Sondheim. It is thrilling to see work from our fantastically committed Young Company and they will be bringing to life a very funny production of Cyrano De Bergerac. Our ever versatile Watermill Ensemble will be showcasing a fast-paced, joyous ‘Mini Summer Night’s Dream’ with three actors playing all the parts. The show will  tour to schools and run at the theatre. Finally, for the festive season we have a real treat for all the family with Chinonyerem Odimba’s new version of Mark Twain’s classic story The Prince and The Pauper.’

Continuing its commitment to making its work accessible to all, The Watermill will offer £10 tickets for 16 to 25s to all main house productions. It will stage its twelfth integrated signed performance during the run of The Prince and the Pauper on 11 and 14 December, as well as a Relaxed Performance on 7 December. There will also be a Relaxed Performance of A Mini Summer Night’s Dream on 7 November and audio described performances for Kiss Me, Kate, Assassins and The Prince and the Pauper.

The Watermill Theatre presents

KISS ME, KATE

Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter

Book by Sam and Bella Spewack

Directed by Paul Hart

Designed by Frankie Bradshaw

Choreography by Naomi Said

Sound designed by Tom Marshall

Thursday 25 July to Saturday 21 September

PRESS NIGHT: MONDAY 29 JULY AT 7.30PM

Onstage romance collides with backstage drama in this musical comedy about the highs and lows of working in theatre.

When ego-centric actor-manager Fred Graham and his fiery ex-wife Lilli Vanessi find themselves starring opposite each other in a musical version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, sparks begin to fly. Meanwhile in another corner of Ford’s Theatre, Baltimore, Fred’s current flame and rising star Lois Lane attempts to tame her gambler boyfriend only to be thwarted by the arrival of a couple of gangsters who somehow find themselves centre stage!

Despite chaos reigning on and offstage, the show must go on! Will the cast make it to curtain up or will they literally bring the house down?

Showbiz shenanigans together with Cole Porter’s jazz-inflected score form a sparkling tribute to theatre in all its greasepaint and glory.

Kiss Me, Kate’s iconic music and razor-sharp wit are catapulted into the limelight by a cast of actor-musicians performing showstopping numbers including Too Darn Hot, Another Op’nin’ Another Show, Brush Up Your Shakespeare and So in Love.

 Principal Sponsor, Saica Pack

 

The Watermill Theatre and

Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company present

ASSASSINS

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Book by John Weidman

ASSASSINS is based on an idea by Charles Gilbert Jr.

Original orchestrations by Michael Starobin

Playwrights Horizons Inc., New York City, produced ASSASSINS off-Broadway in 1990

Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited
Directed by Bill Buckhurst

Musical Supervision and Orchestration by Catherine Jayes

Designed by Simon Kenny

 

Thursday 26 September to Saturday 26 October

PRESS NIGHT: MONDAY 30 SEPTEMBER AT 7.30PM

 ‘Murder is a tawdry little crime. But when a president gets killed… he gets assassinated.’

A man sits in a storeroom on the sixth floor of a Book Depository in Texas waiting for John F. Kennedy’s motorcade to pass below. He rests his finger on the trigger, ready to join a line of men and women who have shot their way into the history books.

Assassins is a satirical and stylish look at why individuals reach for a gun when they feel their voice can’t be heard. From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, writers Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, bend the rules of time and space, taking us on a roller coaster ride in which assassins and would-be assassins from different historical periods meet, interact and inspire each other to perform harrowing acts. Clever, funny and thought-provoking, this is a musical about the power of the President, the lure of celebrity and the failure of the American Dream.

This multiple Tony award-winning vaudeville style show is a modern classic. Following the success of A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd, The Watermill returns to Sondheim with a multi-talented cast of actor-musicians.

 The Watermill Young Company presents

CYRANO DE BERGERAC

Adapted by Glyn Maxwell
From the play by Edmond Rostand

Directed by Seamus Allen

Designed by Cory Shipp

This amateur production is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH LTD a Concord Theatricals Company.

Wednesday 30 October to Saturday 2 November

PRESS NIGHT: THURSDAY 31 OCTOBER AT 7.30PM

 ‘Does it seem strange: a hundred cutthroats against one poor poet?’

Cyrano is the greatest swordsman in all of France whose prowess in battle is only equalled by the beauty of his poetry. Fierce with a pen and notorious in combat, the gifted nobleman appears to have it all. If only he could capture the heart of his one true love Roxanne. The Watermill Young Company return with a swashbuckling tale of adventure and romance.

The Sackler Trust, Principal Supporter of The Watermill Young Company

The Watermill Ensemble presents

Shakespeare Unlocked

A MINI SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
By William Shakespeare
Adapted by Danielle Pearson

Directed by Robert Kirby

Monday 4 to Friday 8 November

PRESS NIGHT: TUESDAY 5 NOVEMBER AT 7.30PM

‘If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumbered here. While these visions did appear…’

Three actors unlock Shakespeare’s enchanting play in a fast-paced 75 minute production with live music.

Midsummer’s night. The costume store backstage at a theatre. Things begin to come alive… Sprites, fairies and young lovers collide in Shakespeare’s beguiling comedy of magic and mischief. Over the course of a single night, hearts are broken, vows are made and dreams are chased.

There will be a free post-show Q&A following performances from Tuesday to Friday.

This production will also tour to schools. For more information about the tour call 01635 570927.

The Sackler Trust, Principal Supporter of The Watermill Schools Touring Programme.

 The Watermill Theatre presents

THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
By Mark Twain

Adaptation and Lyrics by Chinonyerem Odimba

Music and Lyrics by Tarek Merchant

Directed by Abigail Pickard Price

Thursday 14 November to Saturday 4 January 2020

PRESS PERFORMANCES: SATURDAY 16 NOVEMBER AT 2.30pm and 7pm.
A magical, musical tale of dreams, ambition and friendship.

Two young dreamers with very different lives long for change. The Prince is bored of royal life, of endless parties and rules and grown-ups. Most of all, he hates the grown-ups and wishes he had friends his own age to play with. Outside the palace walls in the bustling streets of London, a young girl who loves to play music and dance, dreams of escaping her humble life to perform for the finest people in the city.

When their two worlds collide, the Prince and the Pauper embark on a thrilling adventure beyond their wildest imaginations. Switching places to live each other’s lives, will they ever be the same again?

Suitable for age 4+. We regret that we are unable to admit children under 3 or babes in arms into the auditorium except for the Relaxed Performance.

Principal Sponsor, Horsey Lightly Solicitors

One-off events

The Watermill Theatre and Paines Plough present
COME TO WHERE I’M FROM

Saturday 9 November at 6.30pm
This celebrated nationwide project visits Newbury inviting the finest local playwrights to write and perform mini plays about their home towns.

Since 2010, more than 160 writers from across the UK have returned home to pen plays about the places that shaped them. Together these plays make up a theatrical tapestry of the nation – a playwrights’ guide to Great Britain. At theatres from Bristol to Belfast, Cardiff to Coventry and Nottingham to Newcastle, these plays have been performed by the playwrights themselves, coming home to tell their tale.

Now, Come To Where I’m From visits The Watermill for a special evening of new short plays about Newbury performed by the playwrights themselves on the stage of their home town theatre.

Download the Come To Where I’m From app to listen to plays from around the UK for free. Available from the App Store and Google Play.

 LISTINGS INFORMATION

The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Newbury RG20 8AE

Tickets: Online: www.watermill.org.uk
Box Office: 01635 46044

Booking opens on Tuesday 23 April at 10am.
Friends of The Watermill Priority Booking opens Friday 12 April at 10am.

KISS ME, KATE

Dates: Thursday 25 July to Saturday 21 September

Press Night: Monday 29 July, 7.30pm
Times: 
Evening performances at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinées at 2.30pm. Final performances on Saturday 21 September at 1.30pm and 6.30pm.
Audio Described performance on Saturday 17 August at 2.30pm, Touch Tour at 1pm.

Ticket prices: Monday evenings and Thursday matinées: £22 and £18.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday evenings and Saturday matinées: £31, £28, £20.

Friday and Saturday evenings: £33, £30, £22.

ASSASSINS

Dates: Thursday 26 September to Saturday 26 October

Press Night: Monday 30 September, 7.30pm
Times: Evening performances at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinées at 2.30pm. Final performances on Saturday 26 October at 1.30pm and 6.30pm. Audio Described performance on Saturday 26 October at 1.30pm, Touch Tour at 12 noon.

Ticket prices: Monday evenings and Thursday matinées: £22 and £16.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday evenings and Saturday matinées: £31, £28, £16.

Friday and Saturday evenings: £33, £30, £19.

 

CYRANO DE BERGERAC

Dates: Wednesday 30 October to Saturday 2 November

Press Night: Thursday 31 October, 7.30pm.

Times: Wednesday to Friday evening performances at 7.30pm, Saturday at 6.30pm.

Ticket prices: £12 and £11.50, concessions £7 and £6.50.

A MINI SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

Dates: Monday 4 to Friday 8 November

Press Night: Tuesday 5 November, 7.30pm

Times: Evening performances at 7.30pm. Wednesday and Thursday matinées at 2.30pm. There will be a Relaxed Performance on Thursday 7 November at 2.30pm.

Ticket prices: Monday to Friday evenings: £14 and £13. Wednesday and Thursday matinées: £8 and £7.50.

THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER

Dates: Thursday 14 November to Saturday 4 January. Performance times vary so please go to www.watermill.org.uk

Press Night: Saturday 16 November, 2.30pm and 7pm

Accessible performances:
BSL integrated performances on Wednesday 11 December at 2.30pm and Saturday 14 December at 2.30pm.
Audio Described performance on Saturday 21 December at 2.30pm, Touch Tour at 1pm.
Relaxed Performance on Saturday 7 December at 2.30pm. Tickets for the Relaxed Performance are £20 and £18.
Ticket prices: From Thursday 14 November to Thursday 12 December £23, £17, £12.
From Saturday 14 December to Saturday 4 January £25, £18, £13.
Schools’ tickets are £9. Please call the box office to book on 01635 46044.

 

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM

Date: Saturday 9 November 
Time: 
6.30pm

Ticket prices: £12 and £8.

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Theatre Diary: Sweet Charity, SIX The Musical, Abigail’s Party & Eugenius!

It’s a popular misconception, and one frequently held by opportunists, that low quality, no-redeeming-features musicals are easy to palm off on theatre fans. See: Heathers / The Band.

Far from being guaranteed to rock your world, EUGENIUS! is guaranteed to bore you rigid. It is with deep regret that I inform you this sci-fi super hero show is not a good musical in any world.

There are moments you feel the show wants to get out of first gear; when the bizarre dancing fish people appear. Aaron Renfree’s choreography is perfectly satisfactory. Oh, and he was an S Club Junior as well.

This production has been tottering around London for 2 years now – originally staged as a concert at the London Palladium in 2016. But it is 2018 and Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins’ 80’s inspired show is back at The Other Palace. It has very few redeeming features, aside from Rob Houchen. He plays the lead role of Eugene well.

Most of the music doesn’t work, but it scores a palpable hit with ‘Comic Book Kind Of Love’. Every other line, every other character, seems mechanical. It just doesn’t know what it is or who it is for. I also take issue with the grossly stereotype homosexual character – played by Scott Paige. It’s just not funny to have an effeminate individual just for their gayness. Basic.

The Warwick Davies produced musical starts off being far better than you might have expected, ends up being far worse than you could ever have feared. Sadly, it swerves anything meaningful and hurls itself into a sort of risible parody of a parody affair with basic gender stereotypes, a ropey design and misguided sexual politics, which is a bit disappointing but, well, it’s 2018 isn’t it. Avoid.

Life in prison for Warwick and the other two, please.

At Nottingham Playhouse, Rebecca Trehearn demonstrates how Sweet Charity should be done. Everything glides by like a dream.

As Charity Hope Valentine Rebecca Trehearn enters like a ditzy lioness in Bill Buckhurst’s triumphant revival of the 1966 Broadway hit – the first musical produced by the Playhouse in over a decade. Everyone is in most assured hands with choreographer Alistair David, master of clever choreography that animates everything. Sizzling stuff.

SWEET CHARITY

SWEET CHARITY

Things soar with a dazzling interpretation of Big Spender and Buckhurst brings his particular gifts to the show: nimble direction, razzle-dazzle, pinpoint characterisation. Yes, it goes on a bit, at nearly three hours long. Nonetheless, an evening of many enchanting charms with a winning vitality.

Another year, another revival of Abigail’s Party. Douglas Rintoul’s treacle slow production both stages and stays faithful to Mike Leigh’s acidic comedy about 1970s social norms at Queen’s Theatre, HornchurchMelanie Gutteridge is beautifully contained as the ghastly host Beverley, though. Her delivery of: “Laurence, Angela likes Demis Roussos. Tony likes Demis Roussos, I like Demis Roussos, and Sue would like to hear Demis Roussos: so please, d’you think we could have Demis Roussos on?” brought a wide smile to my face. Brilliant.

There are plenty of quietly enjoyable moments. But everything lacks depth that would give it savour. The design helps; Lee Newby’s smartly 70’s kitch work frames the action acutely.

But this is a safe evening: a retrieval rather than a rediscovery, it adds nothing new. The greatness of Leigh’s play lies in its unspoken wish that aggressive suburban consumerism might itself one day have the courage to confront reality.

A new British musical that’s as brilliant as it is absolutely daft, Six The Musical has made the last few years of Arts Theatre, London worth all the hassle.

Managing to be an inspiring piece about female empowerment without being trite and generally shit, SIX The Musical enjoyed a sell-out run at Edinburgh Fringe this year and arrives in town evolved with a real buzz.

Cheers all round for a resounding bunch of queens. A royal affair, sassy performances and a show-making all-female crew stir in tinselly costumes. This concert-style show about the six wives of Henry VIII is a real joy.

SIX

SIX

Yes, the message here is probably as substantial as Girl Power once was / is, but this is stompy musical theatre perfection nonetheless. There’s a strong sense of ‘imperial phase Little Mix’ in this musical, which is to say it’s close to pop musical perfection. There’s a lesson to be learned here.

Eugenius! is at The Other Palace until 21 October.

Sweet Charity is at Nottingham Playhouse until 22 September.

Abigail’s Party is at Queens Theatre Hornchurch until 22 September, then touring. 

SIXthe Musical is at Arts Theatre, London until 1 December.

 

 

Full cast announced for Bill Buckhurst’s Babette’s Feast at Print Room at the Coronet

Sheila Atim as Babette in Babette's Feast

Sheila Atim as Babette in Babette’s Feast. Photo by Hugo Glendinning

The full casting has been announced for Glyn Maxwell’s commissioned adaptation of the much loved short story Babette’s Feast by the revered Danish storyteller Karen Blixen. Bringing their innovative style to Print Room at the Coronet, Bill Buckhurst reunites with designer Simon Kenny, following their hugely successful collaboration on “Sweeney Todd” at Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop. The 2015 production transferred to the West End and is now playing off-Broadway at New York’s Barrow Street Theatre. With new music composed by Olly Fox, this world premiere, telling the story of one community’s willingness to accept a stranger in need, begins previews on 9th May.

Karen Blixen is widely recognised for the portrayal of her by Meryl Streep in the Academy Award Winning film, Out of Africa, as well Gabriel Axel’s acclaimed screen adaptation of Babette’s Feast, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Blixen wrote some of Denmark’s most-loved fiction from the 1900’s to her death in 1962, often under pseudonyms, most prolifically as Isak Dinesen who is credited as the author of Babette’s Feast. Glyn Maxwell’s new adaptation will tell the story of Martine and Philippa, two sisters living in a remote coastal village with their father, The Dean. They live pious, simple lives until Babette arrives at their door, a refugee fleeing from the French Civil War seeking sanctuary. The sisters welcome her into their home and she works as their cook, feeding the locals for many years. In a selfless act of thanksgiving, Babette creates a lavish feast for the people of the town.

Joseph Marcell, best known for his role as Geoffrey in Fresh Prince of Bel Air, makes his Print Room at the Coronet debut in the roles of The Dean and Lorens Lowenheilm. Joining Marcell on the Coronet stage, Sheila Atim, recently seen on stage in the National Theatre’s Les Blancs, will be playing the titular role of Babette. Brideshead Revisted star Diana Quick will take on the part of Martine, with her on-stage sister Philippa being played by Majorie Yates, recognised for her role in Channel 4’s Shameless. Norma Attalah, Amanda Boxer, Richard Clews, Ladi Emeruwa, Henry Everett, Whoopie Van Raam and Rachel Winters complete the cast.

LISTINGS

9 May – 3 June 2017
Evenings: 7.30pm, Matinees: Saturdays 3pm
Babette’s Feast
Based on a novella by Karen Blixen
Press Night: Monday 15th May, 7pm

Adapted by Glyn Maxwell
Directed by Bill Buckhurst