Heading the season is The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare’s comedy about men’s power over women – and vice versa – which runs from 29 May to 2 September 2006. The play will be directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, whose production of Cymbeline was at the Open Air Theatre last year.
From 31 May to 30 August 2006, artistic director Ian Talbot will restage his popular 2004 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The comedy of warring fairies and mismatched lovers set in an enchanted forest has become synonymous with the Open Air Theatre, which runs a production of the classic tale almost every year.
Talbot will then direct The Boyfriend, running from 18 July to 9 September 2006. Set in 1926 at Mme Dubonnet's fashionable finishing school on the French Riviera, Wilson’s musical revolves around Polly, a millionaire's daughter, falls in love with Tony, a delivery boy. To hold his interest, Polly pretends to be a working girl, but her efforts are complicated by her boy crazy girlfriends.
Wilson’s 1954 musical was first seen at the Players Theatre in London and later transferred to the West End and onto Broadway where a young Julie Andrews made her American debut in the role of Polly. A recent 50th anniversary UK tour starred Olivier Tobias as Polly’s millionaire father. Wilson's score includes "Perfect Young Ladies", "I Could Be Happy with You", "A Room in Bloomsbury", "Won't You Charleston with Me?" and "It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love".
This year’s Open Air children’s show Babe, the Sheep-Pig, about a piglet who finds adventure in the farmyard when he realises he has an unconventional talent, runs from 1 to 26 August 2006. The play, which is aimed at children aged six and above, has been adapted from Dick King Smith’s best-selling book by David Wood, who also directs.
As well as these productions, there will be one-off comedy events at the Open Air Theatre on Sundays throughout the season, including performances from Jimmy Carr and the Comedy Store Players.
- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock