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Key Openings in the South-East this Fortnight

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OPENING 1 February 2010. The Mating Game by Robin Hawdon is given a new production by Bruce James and stars Damien Williams as the chat-show host in pursuit of a publicist. It is at The Grove in Dunstable until Wednesday 3 February, at the Westcliff Palace Theatre from Thursday to Saturday (4 to 6 February), at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft between 11 and 13 February and at Peterborough’s Key Theatre from 9 to 13 March.

OPENING 2 February. An Inside Job by master thriller writer Brian Clemens begins the three-play spring season mounted by Ian Dickens at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage. Michelle Morris, Chris Ellison and Stephen McGann star. After the week’s run ends on 6 February the national tour include Basingstoke’s Haymarket Theatre between 23 and 27 February.

OPENING 8 February (previewing from 5 February). Travels with my Aunt is the Giles Haverga adaptation of the Graham Greene novel at the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch. Four actors from the resident cut to the chase… ensemble play all the parts as retired bank manager Henry joins a relation he didn’t even know he had as she crosses continents for a multiplicity of reasons and people – most of them more than somewhat dodgy. It plays until 27 February.

OPENING 9 February (previewing from 5 February). Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon is revived at the Watford Palace Theatre in a new production by Jennie Darnell (formerly the associate director of the Hampstead Theatre) as the Watford theatre’s first in-house main production of the year. Jonathan Fensom is the designer.

OPENING 9 February. The Lady Vanishes stars Terry Molloy in the stage adaptation of the Hitchcock film first seen during the Southold summer theatre season. This is at the Theatre Royal in Winchester between 9 and 13 February and can also be seen at the Civic Theatre, Chelmsford from 4 to 6 March. If you enjoyed the four-man staging of The 39 Steps, then this comedy-thriller should suit equally.

OPENING 10 February. The Secret of Sherlock Holmes by Jeremy Paul stars Peter Egan as Holmes and Philip Franks as Dr Watson. Robin Herford directs this exploration of the aftermath of Holmes’ encounter with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester in a co-production between the theatre and Ian Fricker between 10 and 20 February. The subsequent tour takes in Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from 15 to 20 March.

OPENING 11 February. Andersen’s English by Sebastian Barry at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds is a world première. It is directed by Max Stafford-Clark for his Out of Joint Theatre Company and tells of an encounter by Hans Christian Andersen with Charles Dickens’ fractured – and fractious – household in Kent. After 13 February the production goes to Southampton’s Nuffield Theatre for the week of 16 to 20 February.

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