Paul Nicholas will star in the Eric Chappell’s new comedy Mixed Feelings. The touring production opens on 13 April 2004 at Malvern’s Festival Theatre before continuing, until 5 June, to seven further venues.

Married for years, Vernon (Nicholas) and Jan are in a suburban rut. With a teenage daughter rebelling and a career stagnating, Vernon leaves the marriage and disappears for six months. He returns a very different man.

Actor and singer Nicholas] is best known to TV viewers for the long-running 1980s sitcom Just Good Friends. His many musical theatre credits include Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Cats, Blondel, Charlie Girl, Doctor Doolittle, The Pirates of Penzance and, on tour last year, Fiddler on the Roof, while amongst his other recent stage credits are The Mysterious Mr Love and, another Chappell comedy, Snakes and Ladders. Nicholas is also an accomplished theatrical producer, having backed such West End hits as Saturday Night Fever and Grease.

Eric Chappell is the author of award-winning TV comedies such as Rising Damp, Only When I Laugh, The Bounder, Home to Roost and Duty Free. In addition to Snakes and Ladders, his stage plays include Theft, Up and Running, Natural Causes and Haunted.

In Mixed Feelings, Nicholas is joined in the cast by Mary Tamm (Doctor Who), John Benfield (Prime Suspect), Alan Granville, Carol Holt and Sarah McCardie. It’s directed by Jeremy Meadow and designed by Michael Holt. Following Malvern, the production continues to Woking, Blackpool, Bromley, Richmond, Cambridge, Brighton and Plymouth.

Also kicking off on tour next week is My Boy Jack, a play about author Rudyard Kipling and his family, written by David Haig who also stars along with Belinda Lang. It opens on 14 April 2004 at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre before continuing, until 10 July, to nine further venues.

Set in Britain in 1913, the play follows Kipling’s dogged determination to seen his teenage son to the trenches, triggering a bitter family conflict. Haig and Lang reprise their roles as Rudyard and Caroline Kipling, which they played when My Boy Jack was first seen at London’s Hampstead Theatre. The actors are also co-producing under the banner of Haig Lang Productions, a new company devoted to touring quality theatre around the UK.

Haig (pictured) has just been seen in RC Sheriff’s trenches classic, Journey's End, in the West End, where he was also seen last year in Hitchcock Blonde. In addition to his many theatre credits, he's familiar from screen roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Thin Blue Line. Lang’s recent stage credits include The Secret Rapture, Life x 3 and Things We Do for Love. She's familiar to TV audiences for series such as Two Point Four Children.

My Boy Jack is directed by John Dove. Following Guildford, it continues to Bath, Cheltenham, Nottingham, Oxford, Richmond, Brighton, Norwich, Cardiff and Cambridge. In each town, local children are being auditioned to play the parts of the young Kipling children, John and Elsie.

- by Terri Paddock