Getting people to book theatre seats well in advance is becoming something of a headache for marketing managers in these recessionary times. We have “pay what you can” schemes, “two for the price of one” inducements and a whole range of other subscription options. At the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch there’s “Jump the Q” which offers all four spring 2010 shows from the resident cut to the chase… company for £12.50 per seat. Any seat on any night, what’s more. But you have to book by 20 February to save that attractive 40 per cent.

The first three shows in the season are all adaptations of well-know books. Giles Havergal’s dramatisation of Graham Greene’s Travels with my Aunt  is the first offering, opening on 5 February and running until 27 February. There follows The Talented Mr Ripley by Phyllis Nagy based on the 1950s thriller by Patricia Highsmith; the popular film version starred Matt Damon and Jude Law.

Many times adapted for television as well as the large screen, Jane Austen’s tale of two very different sisters and their tortuous journeys towards love and matrimony Sense and Sensibility has been adapted by Roger Parsley and Andy Graham. You can shadow Elinor and Marianne between 16 April and 8 May. The final spring play is completely different – it’s Camp Horror by The Heather Brothers, who wrote A Slice of Saturday Night and Lust. It’s billed as a murderous musical comedy and takes the stage from 21 May to 12 June.