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Patricia Hodge tours Dandy Dick to Manchester ahead of West End

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The first show out of the stable of the recently launched Theatre Royal Brighton Productions, a subsidiary of the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), will be a revival of Arthur Wing Pinero’s rarely seen English comedy Dandy Dick, starring Patricia Hodge and Nicholas Le Prevost.

Helmed by the company’s artistic director Christopher Luscombe, Dandy Dick will open at the Theatre Royal Brighton on 3 July 2012 (previews from 28 June), where it runs until 7 July prior to an eight-week UK tour (including Manchester) and planned West End transfer.

Dandy Dick - which, aptly, was written in Brighton in 1887 - tells the story of the Very Reverend Augustin Jedd, a pillar of Victorian respectability, who preaches regularly against the evils of horseracing and gambling. However, a visit from his tearaway sister, Georgiana, leads him to risk all at the races, much against his better judgement. Mayhem ensues, with romantic intrigue, mistaken identity and a runaway horse. Hodge plays Georgina, opposite Le Prevost as the Dean.

Dandy Dick last had a major production in a 1987 tour, and was last revived in the West End in 1973 with Alistair Sim and Patricia Routledge. The other two play revivals planned for Theatre Royal Brighton Productions’ three-play opening season are John-Dighton’s 1948 farce The Happiest Days of Your Life (famously filmed in 1950 with Alistair Sim, Margaret Rutherford and Joyce Grenfell) and Bernard Pomerance’s 1979 play The Elephant Man (based on the true story of Joseph Merrick and filmed by David Lynch in 1980).

In the coming months, Luscombe and his associate directors Maria Aitken and Philip Franks will also be developing “new titles and other rarely seen classic titles” through a series of workshops and readings at their Brighton home for future productions.

Commenting on the Theatre Royal Brighton Productions inaugural production, ATG joint CEO Howard Panter said it was indicative of a growing trend: “There is a renaissance happening in regional theatre, and we have undoubtedly seen a shift from the centre of the theatrical landscape being London – from Sussex to Scotland and everything in between, audiences are keen to see quality plays without travelling many miles for the pleasure.”

ATG is the UK’s biggest theatre owner, with a portfolio included 27 major regional receiving houses. The group’s recent pre-London box office successes have included Zach Braff’s All New People and the National Theatre tour of One Man, Two Guvnors.

Between Brighton and London, Dandy Dick will visit Richmond, Aylesbury, Bromley, Woking, Glasgow, York, Birmingham and Manchester. West End venue and dates have yet to be announced.

Dandy Dick is at the Manchester Opera House from 27 - 31 August.


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