Two touring plays featuring television favourites - Stephen Tompkinson and Susan Hampshire - have announced full UK spring tours.

Stephen Tompkinson stars in Brandon Thomas’ 1892 farce Charley's Aunt, directed by comedian Mel Smith. Oxford undergraduates Jack and Charles are smitten by two delightful young ladies, Kitty and Amy, but they can’t spend any time with them unless there is a female chaperone present. The imminent arrival of Jack’s mysterious but very wealthy aunt, Donna Lucia D’Alvadorez from Brazil, provides the boys with the perfect excuse for a luncheon invitation. But when Donna delays her trip to Oxford, the boys have to think of a cunning plan involving disguise and mistaken identities.

Stephen Tompkinson’s many television credits include Drop the Dead Donkey, Ballykissangel, Wild at Heart, Dalziel and Pasco, Prime Suspect and My Dad’s the Prime Minister and the film Brassed Off. Joining him in the cast are Nicholas Clayton, David Partridge, John Vine, Richard Syms, Michael Melia, Tatina de Marinis, Emily Pennant-Rea, Marty Cruickshank and Sophie Roberts.

The touring production is directed by Emmy and British Comedy Award-winning comedian Mel Smith, who previously directed Griff Rhys Jones in his Olivier Award-winning performance in Charley’s Aunt in 1984. He also famously directed television comedy Bean. Design is by Christopher Woods with lighting by Matt Eagland and sound design by David McSeveney.

Charley's Aunt is in Bradford this week before touring to Glasgow, Eastbourne, Bromley, Malvern, Southampton, Salford, Stoke on Trent, Woking, Milton Keynes, Richmond, Brighton, Plymouth and Cardiff, where it ends on 19 May 2007.


Meanwhile, Susan Hampshire, best known for her television roles in Monarch of the Glen, The Forsyte Saga, The First Churchills and Vanity Fair, headlines the world premiere of Ian Curteis’s play The Bargain, about the 1988 meeting between Robert Maxwell and Mother Theresa.

Hampshire plays Mother Theresa’s canny assistant, alongside Anna Calder-Marshall (Comfort Me with Apples, Humble Boy) as Mother Theresa, Michael Pennington (The Guardsman, An Ideal Husband, Gross Indecency, Waste, Taking Sides) as Maxwell, and Jonathan Coy (My Family, Heartbeat and Foyles War on television) as Maxwell’s assistant.

The Bargain begins its tour in Bath on 13 March 2007 and continues to Malvern, Brighton, Milton Keynes, Richmond and Windsor, where it concludes on 19 May 2007. It is presented by Michael Codron in association with Theatre Royal Bath Productions.

- by Caroline Ansdell