I was pleased to see the above programme, with dates yet to be set. It is a good combination of some tried and trusted favourites, the offbeat, and obscure, here is a preview:
Hobson’s Choice by Harold Brighouse is a 1916 comedy set in 1880, change is in the air and Hobson, a man who stands for middle-class Victorian values, doesn’t like it one bit when his daughters – who work unwaged for him in the shop and do all the housework – get what he calls “uppity”, It explores class, aspiration and the distinctions between trade and business. Rarely performed nowadays, it will be interesting to see what HT do with it.
The Trouble With Old Lovers is a contemporary work by Angela Huth, of “Land Girls” fame. Huth has enjoyed a varied career as a journalist, TV broadcaster and novelist, as well as playwright. She is a traditional old-fashioned writer who details the lives of ordinary people in small corners of England. She specializes in tragicomedies, poignant , humorous explorations of the frustrations and disappointments of love. Here she intertwines two marriages, and five lovers, with inevitable consequences.
Boeing Boeing by Marc Camoletti is not a play about West Bromich Albion, instead a frequently performed 1960’s farce by France’s most frequently performed playwright about bedhopping aircrew. A still funny crowd pleaser, its success will depend upon how skilful the Director is in gripping a form and era which can slip into tired pastiche in inexperienced hands.
Lovesong by fifty year old Abi Morgan intertwines a couple in their 20s with the same man and woman a lifetime later first performed in 2011. Their past and present selves collide in a haunting and beautiful tale of togetherness. All relationships have their ups and downs; the optimism of youth becomes the wisdom of experience. Morgan is a hot contemporary dramatist best known for her work on Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady”. Little known, but with a fine pedigree.
Suddenly at Home by Francis Durbridge is a thriller set in the 1960s, with a clever plot, plenty of action and a few red herrings thrown in to keep you guessing about the outcome right until the end. Glen Howard, is a philandering, volatile, scheming husband who wants to bump off his wealthy wife and take off with his lover. Durbridge is a much published playwright who read English at Birmingham University and found fame on the radio, but this is the first of his stage plays.
Beryl was written by Maxine Peake for radio in 2012 and adapted for stage I 2014. Peake is best known as an actress starring as Twinkle in Dinner Ladies and for her political views as a Corbynista. This critically acclaimed play celebrates the life of unsung sporting legend Beryl Burton – the greatest woman on two wheels.
When Beryl Charnock met keen cyclist Charlie Burton she was smitten, not only with Charlie but by the thrill and freedom found on her bike. She would out-work the men in the rhubarb fields, she could out-class the cyclists on the road, and still find time to over-knit young Denise a cycling jumper (it wasn’t meant to come down to her knees!)
With her husband, daughter and cycling club at her side, she became 5 times world pursuit champion, 13 times national pursuit champion, twice road-racing world champion and still made it home in time for dinner. Very fresh on the amateur circuit, this is something of a coup for HT and will be well worth checking out.
Snake in the Grass is an Alan Aykbourn play first performed in 2002. Widely performed on the professional and amateur circuit, it is an all -female three hander about a middle-aged older sister who returns to the family home where her younger sister still lives, shortly after their abusive father’s death. A “ghost” play rather than a farce. The small cast makes it an amateur favourite, the subject matter is demanding to pull off.