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Key Openings in the South-East This Fortnight

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The Easter holiday is over but there’s another on the horizon at the beginning of May. In between the showers there’s a varied bunch of new productions.

OPENING 14 April. Love from a Stranger in the Mill at Sonning is an adaptation of an Agatha Christie short story called Philomel Cottage. It’s a thriller about Alix, who has been engaged for years to dull but dependable Dick. Then she meets handsome Gerald, is wept off her metaphorical feet and marries him. But neither Alix nor Gerald have been entirely honest with each other and love in a cottage soon turns to something altogether darker. It runs until 22 May

OPENING 19 April
(previews from 15 April). Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas is the second of this season’s in-house productions at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester. It is directed by Gari Jones within a set designed by Sara Perks and the cast is drawn from Mercury Theatre Company players, including Ignatius Antony, Miranda Bell, Roger Delves-Broughton and David Tarkenter. It is on until 1 May.

OPENING 19 April
(previews from 16 April). Sense and Sensibility at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch. This is a stage version by Roger Parsley and Andy Graham of the novel by Jane Austen about two sisters in reduced circumstances and their very different approaches to love and marriage. Pam Jolley plays impulsive Marianne and Francesca Loren is her more cautious elder sister Elinor. Matt Devitt directs and it’s designed by Norman Coates. The run ends on 8 May.

OPENING 20 April (previews from 15 April). Mrs Reynolds and the Ruffian by Gary Owens is a commission by the Watford Palace Theatre’s artistic director Brigid Larmour, who also directs the production. The story centres on an elderly lady and the troubled youth who has vandalised her garden and is now required to put it back into order. Owens is a creative associate of the Palace; his previous play for the theatre was We That Are Left in 2007 and he has also had work performed by Paine’s Plough and the National Theatre. This production ends on 8 May.

OPENING 27 April. Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker is a new production by London Classic Theatre celebrating the plays' 50th anniversary and the ensemble's own tenth year of touring. The national tour, which runs from 14 April until 9 July takes in a preview at the King’s Lynn Arts Centre on 24 April, Norwich Playhouse on 27 and 28 April, the Key Theatre in Peterborough on 29 April, Haverhill Arts Centre on 30 April, the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth on 1 May and the Harlow Playhouse on 5 May.    

OPENING 29 April. Witness for the Prosecution is another Agatha Christie classic story, memorably filmed with Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton. This production is from the Agatha Christie Stage Company and Bill Kenwright Productions and it’s at the Theatre Royal, Brighton from 29 April to 1 May before going on to Bromley, Westcliff and Cambridge later in May. The cast includes Honeysuckle Weeks, Denis Lill, Ben Nealon, Peter Bryne and Mark Wynter.

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