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Key Openings in the South-East this Fortnight

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Interesting plays in interesting places seems to be the keynote for much of the first part of July.

OPENING 1 July. Bentwater Roads by Tony Ramsay is the latest commission by Eastern Angles and is one of those increasingly popular site-specific shows. Deep in the Suffolk countryside is the old airfield at Bentwaters, used by the US Air Force at the height of the Cold War. The Hush House is one of its old aircraft hangers and Ramsay’s play is about a young woman’s search for her past, during which the area’s own historic past transforms her quest. It runs until 18 July.

OPENING 1 July. 42nd Street in the Chichester Festival Theatre. This is the classic American musical with a score by Harry Warren. Paul Kerryson directs the story of Peggy Sawyer (played by Lauren Hall)’s rise from the very back row of the chorus to star billing and there’s a welter of familiar tunes – “Lullaby of Broadway”, “We’re in the money”, “Keep young and beautiful”, “I only have eyes for you” and, of course, the spectacular title number.

OPENING 8 July is the first production in the Jill Freud Company’s summer season at Southwold on the Suffolk coast. Gerald Frew and Alan Strachan’s confection drawn from the work of Noël Coward has been a popular success from the beginning and transfers to the Aldeburgh Theatre on 23 July, after the Southwold run ends on 20 July.

OPENING 9 July (previewing from 2 July). The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound make up the double-bill about plays and those who criticise them for a living (ouch!). Sheridan and Stoppard make an interesting partnership for the Minerva Theatre, Chichester until 28 August. The cast includes Nicholas Le Prevost, Richard McCabe, Sean Foley, Derek Griffiths and Una Stubbs. The directors are Jonathan Church and Foley; the designer is Ruari Murchison.

OPENING 14 July. I Ought to be in Pictures is the new show presented by the Mill at Sonning. The play’s the comedy-drama by Neil Simon about a Hollywood scriptwriter suffering from writer’s block, not to mention a whole series of domestic mishaps. Anthony Valentine and Terence Booth are in the cast. It runs until 21 August at this most attractive of dinner-theatres.

OPENING 15 July is the Latitude Festival at Henham Park, near Southwold. There’s much more than just music on offer – plays, opera, dance, comedy, alternative cinema, poetry and other readings – until 18 July. It’s the festival with a difference and tickets are selling out fast. The latest headliner announcement is that Tom Jones will perform, and Sir Peter Hall is one of the panellists for the Write to Play initiative.


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