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Something Old, Something New at Southampton's Nuffield this Autumn

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In-house productions combined with an interesting mix of new touring ones go to make up the autumn and winter season at Southampton’s Nuffield Theatre. A UK première takes to the main stage between 22 September and 9 October; this is a double-bill of comedies by that US master of off-beat humour Woody Allen. They’re called Riverside Drive and Old Saybrook and are directed by Patrick Sandford, the theatre’s artistic director.

That’s followed on 13 October by a return visit from the English Touring Theatre with a complete contrast to last year’s Molière variation The Hypochondriac. Until 16 October you can see the latest Mustafa Matura play Rum and Coca Cola. It’s set in Trinidad and the director is the well-know actor Don Warrington; it also marks his directorial début. Keeping to the international theme, Gogol as re-imagined by Gecko in association with the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, wraps you in The Overcoat in Amit Lahay’s production from 19 to 23 October.

Out of Europe and back across the Atlantic once more for The Big Fellah set among the Irish American community in New York. The author is award-winning Richard Bean (who wrote England People Very Nice) and it’s described as a dark comedy. An Out of Joint production directed by Max Stafford-Clark, it runs from 26 to 30 October. Civil rights are still one of the issues which divides the USA and Jeff Stewtson’s “dramatic event” continues the debate on 2 and 3 November. Chuck Mike directs for Collective Artistes.

The Future is Unwritten is the name of a new theatre company spearheaded by author and director Paul Hudson. Don’t Shoot the Clowns is inspired by a book recounting a true story – Jo Wilding’s The Future is Unwritten and Fuel. It’s based on her experiences with a clown troupe which went to Iraq to perform for children there. 10 to 12 November are the performance dates.

In lighter vein are the last two main house shows of 2010. The Missionary’s Position (that apostrophe is absolutely vital, as you’ll find out on 13 November) is another story based on fact. This time it gives us the history of a 1930s eccentric in music-hall and cabaret style. Mick Barnfather is the director for this Penny Dreadful production. And then it’s Christmas. This year Sandford has adapted Dickens’ seasonal tale A Christmas Carol which, among other things, changed this nation’s traditional Christmas goose into new-fangled turkey. It runs between 25 November and 8 January.

Site-specific productions seem to be everywhere these days. The Bargate Monument (the town’s Guildhall until the late 18th century) has Steve Bottom’s Counted? from 13 to 15 October. It’s an exploration of democracy and comes fromLook Left Look Right and the Roundhouse. Then from 4 to 6 November the Clod Ensemble presents a piece of visual and physical theatre – that no-man’s land between various types of movement-based drama – directed by Suzy Willson on the Nuffield’s own stage. It's called Under Glass and the text is by Alice Oswold.


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