English Touring Theatre launches two new productions over the coming weeks – a revival of Terence Rattigan’s 1936 play French Without Tears on tour and Drew Pautz’s “free market comedy” Someone Else's Shoes, which receives its world premiere in a limited London season at Soho Theatre.

First up, French Without Tears, Rattigan’s romantic comedy, opens at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre – appropriately – on Valentine’s Day tomorrow. It continues to Malvern, Cambridge, Richmond and Brighton, where it’s touring schedule concludes on 24 March 2007.

The best place to learn French is surely at a beautiful seaside villa on the Riviera? You’d certainly think so. However, a group of young English men soon discover that there’s only one thing harder to understand than a new language – girls. It all seems pretty simple. Kit loves Diana and she loves him. And Bill. Oh, and Alan, of course. Then there’s Jack, she’s in love too… Not so simple after all.

French Without Tears, which ran for more than 1,000 performances when it premiered, established Rattigan’s reputation for light comedy. The cast for the new production are Ben Carpenter, Rupert Young, Ben Mansfield, Leonor Lemee, Terrence Hardiman, Adam James, Jenna Harrison, Hugh Skinner and Hannah Yelland. It’s directed by Paul Miller (Kingfisher Blue, Mercy, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, Honeymoon Suite) and designed by Simon Daw.

Someone Else's Shoes runs from 13 March to 7 April 2007 (previews from 8 March) at London’s Soho Theatre, which is co-producing in its first collaboration with ETT. It’s directed by ETT artistic director Stephen Unwin, whose other recent productions have included The Old Country and Hamlet, both of which transferred to the West End.

Mercury Shoes, the Amedeo family business, has been sold to a huge multi-national corporation, prompting changes in five very different people whose lives are suddenly linked. Set in a society where everything can be bought and sold – and even creativity and love are commodities – it asks how far capitalism can go and if there’s anything that can’t be owned. In Someone Else's Shoes, “globalisation and mass branding are thrust into the spotlight”.

Canadian author Drew Pautz is a writer, lighting designer, director and member of London-based collective The Work, founded in 2003 to create collaborative new work and explore new methods and means of performance. The cast for Someone Else's Shoes are Emily Bruni, Patrick Drury, Denise Gough, Jonjo O’Neill and Steven Pacey. The premiere production is designed by Anna Fleischle.

- by Terri Paddock