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Key Openings in the South-East this June

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June may not yet be bustin’ out all over, but there’s variety on stage whatever the weather.

OPENING 7 June. Murdered to Death by Peter Gordon is a comedy thriller set in the 1930s and which has more than an echo of the Agatha Christie books. There’s even a well-meaning country spinster called Miss Maple… It’s directed by Giles Watling, son of the late Jack Watling and the cast includes Sandra Dickinson, Michelle Hardwick, Norman Pace and Victor Spinetti. The national tour starts at the Theatre Royal, Windsor for the week 7 to 12 June and goes on to the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage between 15 and 19 June.

OPENING 13 June. Robin Hood is the new children’s show by the Cambridge Touring Theatre company. If you take your youngsters, make sure they know that this will be quite different to the latest (or indeed any other) film version. It's a musical romp with all the familiar characters. Wrongs will be righted and the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham get his comeuppance. CTT perform mainly out of doors and this initial performance is at Marks Hall in Coggeshall. The tour wanders all over the south-east until 29 August, including an appearance at the Latitude Festival on 16 July.

OPENING 15 June. Canary by Jonathan Harvey is directed by Hettie Macdonald for the English Touring Theatre – ETT. This new play – if you’re in or near London you can catch it at the Hampstead Theatre until12 June – is at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge from 15 to 19 June. It’s partly about two couples of young gay men, one in 1960s Liverpool and the other in 1980s London ,but also about families and what happens when a personal story becomes a media one.

. Austen’s Women is a play about the novels’ heroines and the female characters around them. It’s adapted and performed by Rebecca Vaughan and directed by Guy Masterson. Last year it won plaudits in Edinburgh and you can make up your own mind at the Norwich Playhouse (17 June), the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds (22 June) or the Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford (23 June).

OPENING 18 June. The Bell has been written by Pat Whymark for the Common Ground Theatre Company. It opens at the Cut Arts Centre in Halesworth and can also be seen at the Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft on 30 June. It blends straightforward narrative with surrealism as the audience is drawn into the mystery of a young man’s disappearance in Bavaria and his brother’s attempts to resolve what happened.

OPENING 21 June.
Spamalot in the new touring production finishes its Wimbledon run on 5 June and gallops into the Theatre Royal, Brighton for the week 21 to 26 June. Then it’s off to the Churchill Theatre in Bromley between 28 June and 3 July. This is the musical based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the cast includes Hayley Tamaddon and Todd Carty. It’s all a long way from Tennyson’s Idylls of the King but does have the hit number “Always look on the bright side of life”.

OPENING 23 June.
Shakespeare – The Man from Stratford by Jonathan Bate is a comedy about both the playwright and the characters he created. Simon Callow plays Shakespeare at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge from 23 to 26 June. Bate is an academic and critic whose acclaimed biography of Shakespeare was published last year.

OPENING 24 June.
Dangerous Liaisons from the novel by Laclos is adapted and directed by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones. Mappa Mundi are a Welsh-based touring theatre group which takes a fresh look at the classics. This story of corruption in a France where the Revolution was merely a blade’s width away is on a national tour which includes the Theatre Royal, Winchester (24 and 25 June), the Theatre, Chipping Norton (26 June) and the Theatre, Didcot (27 June).

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