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Key Openings in the South-East and East Anglia This Fortnight

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The second half of February has some interesting new shows opening across the East Anglia and South-East England region. Highlights include:

OPENING 15 February. Men of the World by John Godber is at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford until Wednesday 17 and then transfers to Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre for Thursday 18 to Saturday 20 February. It’s a Hull Truck Theatre Company presentation and tells of the adventures of three long-distance holiday coach drivers (two men and a woman) as they ferry yet another load of elderly passengers across Europe.

OPENING 16 February. It’s Never Too Late by Ron Aldridge at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage is the third in the three-play spring season mounted by Ian Dickens. It’s a farce with the principal character being a young woman whose husband has traded her in for a newer, even younger model. Following the last Stevenage performance on 20 February, it goes on to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre for the week of  22 to 27 February.

OPENING 17 February. The Long Way Home by Charles Way at the Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh marks the start of Eastern Angles’ spring tour which meanders across East Englia until 22 May. The play is about a woman returning home after many yeas away and the people she encounters on that journey. Naomi Jones, who directed last year’s Return to Akenfield, has staged this new work, which is designed by Mika Handley.

OPENING 18 February. Les Misérables (previews – if you can grab a return – from 16 February) is the spring blockbuster at the Theatre Royal, Norwich. This is the new touring production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical with fresh sets and a cast which includes John Owen Jones as Jean Valjean, Earl Carpenter as Javert and Gareth Jones as Marius. The season runs until 20 March and a few extra seats have today been released for sale.

OPENING 19 February. The Merchant of Venice at Bury St Edmunds’ Theatre Royal with previews on 17 and 18 February. Shakespeare’s not-quite comedy is directed by Abigail Anderson and designed by Dora Schweitzer. As with last year’s Twelfth Night, this production has been devised specifically for the intimacy afforded by a small Georgian playhouse and the way in which players and audience connect in the space. The cast includes Jo Tincey, Oliver Senton and Jonathan Keeble. It runs until 27 February.

OPENING 1 March. Romeo and Juliet at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester (previews from 25 February). This production by Ed Hughes has an international cast and the participation of the Astillero Tango Orchestra as well as Mercury Theatre Company members Gina Isaac, Shuna Snow and Gus Gallagher. The music is by Julian Pertalta, the choreography by Leandro Palou and Romina Godoy and the designs by Michael Vale. The musicians and the actors participate equally as the tragic love story unfolds. It’s a co-production with Salida and runs until 13 March.

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