Private detective Dick Barton returns to Croydon's Warehouse Theatre for the fifth time this Christmas. The Excess of Evil, the fifth episode in the popular annual series, receives its world premiere at the theatre on 13 December 2003 (preview 12 December 2003 to 15 February 2004.

The star of the BBC's first daily radio serial, private investigator and sometime special agent, Dick Barton appeared in 711 episodes between 1946 and 1951. It was from this that the Warehouse drew inspiration for its musical series, with its first stage take on the character appearing in 1998. Since then, episodes one, two, three and four have appeared in Croydon and toured 21 theatres across the country.

In Episode V, Dick will be asked to do something for King and Country that is against everything he believes. It's a deed that will put his life, and that of his sidekicks, Jock and Snowy, in grave danger.

Though there were concerns that the 100-seat Warehouse would have to close at the beginning of this year, an anonymous donation has allowed it to stay open, with vital repairs being carried out to the building (See News, 17 Jan 2003).

Founded in 1977, the theatre is housed in a converted Victorian warehouse dating from 1882. Following refurbishment, in 1985 the theatre re-opened under the directorship of Ted Craig with a concentration on new writing.

Episode V - The Excess of Evil is written by Duncan Wisbey and Stefan Bednarczyk with Ted Craig, who also directs. It's designed by Ellen Cairns, with lighting by James Whiteside.

- by Sarah Beaumont & Terri Paddock