New tours and seasonal capers in East Anglia
Several new tours set out across East Anglia this autumn and winter
One of the successes of Eastern Angles' spring season was Tony Ramsay's play about the late 18th century peasant poet John Clare. Interweaving Clare's own tragic story with a modern-day one about a psychiatrist, her deluded patient and her boyfriend who wants to make a bodice-ripping film about Clare, Ivan Cutting's production proved to be a gripping one.
An autumn tour begins on 24 and 25 October at Aldeburgh's Jubilee Hall. it then visits a number of towns and villages in East Anglia including the Brentwood Theatre, the Norwich Playhouse, Colchester's Lakeside Theatre and the Diss Corn Hall and also taking in a week's residency at London's Pleasance Theatre (5-9 November) before finishing at Walsham-le-Willows on 16 November.
For those who wish to avoid overindulgence in traditional Christmas fare (theatrically speaking), there's a fresh addition to the company's seasonal speciality – poking affectionate fun at popular literary favourites. Jane Austen has had her turn with Mansfield Park and Ride; now it's the Brontës who receive the treatment.
Forget the Yorkshire moors, Cutting has relocated the sisters to Dunwich Heath; music and lyrics are by Simon Egerton. Dunwich, if the place has so far escaped you, is one of those areas where the North Sea has claimed what was once a thriving port to leave only an inland village. The Ipswich run is from 4 December to 26 January; the production transfers to Peterborough between 28 January and I February.
Julian Harries, a favourite with Eastern Angles and Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal audiences, has his own theatre company – Common Ground – which is touring two romps this autumn and winter. Anthony Hope's adventure classic The Prisoner of Zenda receives the Harries and Whymark treatment for an autumn tour which starts in Framlingham on 24 October and ends in Mount Bures on 30 November.
Common Ground's Christmas offering is The Canterville Ghost and Other Spooks, loosely – very loosely – based on Wilde's short story. It opens in Framlingham on 19 December and runs there until Christmas Eve. It then plays at Aldeburgh's Jubilee Hall 27 to 31 December, at St Mary's Hall, Walton 2 to 4 January and in the New Wolsey Studio between 9 and 11 January.