Pricilla packs ’em in – but…………

Pricilla Queen of the Desert at The Milton Keynes Theatre

Pricilla Queen of the Desert is still packing them in after 25 years! The Milton Keynes Theatre was crammed to the rafters for opening night on Monday! I guess many had not seen the show before because for us old diehards that had seen it several times this production left us wanting. The cast were great and every one of them gave us 110% – I particularly liked Miles Western as Bernadette, the older one of the leading trio. Joe McFadden playing the lead I thought was more likeable and gained our sympathy more than in other recent touring versions. So what was it that jarred? The orchestra under the direction of Sean Green was great so that just leaves the direction or the sets or the costumes. Well, the sets were disappointing, where was the sharp intake of breath when we first saw the pink bus? The penultimate scene looked as though our fabulous trio were peeping over the wall of some sort of drab stockade. The costumes were unglamorous, not sexy and looked uncomfortable. The MacArthur Park costumes looked about as easy to manage as a Pudsey Bear or even Mr Blobby costume and the boys finale costumes were about as unsexy as you could get.

Such a shame for the talented cast with a score of thirty or so top, top tunes.
Bear in mind that I must be wrong because at the end the audience stood and cheered and danced and called for more – how could that many people all disagree with me??

Ernie Almond

Royal & Derngate nominated in two categories in UK Theatre Awards 2019

Royal & Derngate, Northampton  has been nominated for the Excellence in Inclusivity Award in the UK Theatre Awards 2019, while designer Ti Green is nominated in the Best Design category for her work on Royal & Derngate’s co-production Touching the Void,. Winners will be announced at ceremony on Sunday 27 October.

 The UK Theatre Awards celebrate creative excellence and the outstanding work seen on stages nationwide, demonstrating the breadth and depth of outstanding talent in theatre and the performing arts, both on stage and off.

 The Excellence in Inclusivity award, for which Royal & Dernagate has been nominated, recognises the promotion of inclusivity within an organisation’s programming and workforce, along with its audience and community engagement.

 Ti Green has been nominated for the Best Design award for her work on Touching the Void, a co-production between Royal & Derngate, Bristol Old Vic, Royal Lyceum Edinburgh and Fuel. Based on the memoire of mountaineer Joe Simpson, the play has toured nationally and internationally and transfers to London’s West End this autumn.

Congratulations to the Royal & Derngate team on being nominated – we’ll keep our fingers crossed for you!

Dolly’s 9-5 The Musical a huge hit all over again!

The hilarious show 9 To 5: The Musical visits Milton Keynes Theatre from 24th – 28th September.  It stars Amber Davies as Judy Bernly, Louise Redknapp as Violet Newstead, Lucinda Lawrence as Roz Keith, Georgina Castle as Doralee Rhodes and Brian Conley as Franklin Hart.

9 To 5: The Musical is based on the hit movie and centres on three office workers who turn the tables on their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss. They conspire to take control of the company and learn there’s nothing they can’t do. Outrageous, thought-provoking and even a little romantic, 9 To 5: The Musical is about teaming up and taking care of business. Feisty, fun and oh so fabulous! The show features Dolly Parton’s original Oscar nominated hit title song, 9 to 5, along with her new Tony and Grammy nominated score. With 18 original Dolly Parton numbers, including numbers from her last two albums Backwoods Barbie, Shine Like the Sun, Get Out and Stay Out and Let Love Grow.

Dolly Parton said recently:  “I am so excited that 9 to 5 the Musical is coming to Milton Keynes.  I’m hoping you have as much fun watching it as I had writing the music for it. 9 to 5 the Musical is perfect for anyone that’s ever wanted to string up their boss, which is almost all of us. So come join the fun! “

The 2008 Backwoods Barbie tour (which features in 9 To 5: The Musical) completely sold out in the UK as well as her own successful  UK tours, which was Dolly Parton’s most successful to date.

9 To 5: The Musical  was written by Patricia Resnick, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. It is directed by Jeff Calhoun.

9 To 5: The Musical at The Milton Keynes Theatre this week!

Box Office: 0844 871 7652 or online:  www.atgtickets.com /miltonkeynes

Jess Bermudez was lucky enough to be at the opening night,

The tyrannical and sexist boss of a busy office Franklyn J Hart, played with just the right amount of venom and lecherousness by Brian Conley gets his come-uppance by three of the workers! Violet (Louise Redknapp), Doralee (the Dolly part played by Georgina Castle) and newcomer Judi (Amber Davies) use some, shall we say unusual, methods to bring Franklyn down a peg or two!

OK the story is weak (I can’t think of many other musicals with strong stories) but the show just bubbles along and, as you might expect from Dolly Parton, there’s plenty of Dolly-type songs, lots of “Yee-Har!”, a whole scene in pink – and plenty of wigs! The three girls are a formidable team in the script and in fact a formidable team period. Special mention I think should go to Louise Redknapp whose powerhouse performance – she sings and dances in eight of the fourteen numbers – has you hooked from the very start. The show also stars Brian Conley as Franklyn Hart Jnr Brian is almost a regular at the MK Theatre – Barnum and pantomime etc. – he is always popular of course and as Franklyn hart Jnr doesn’t disappoint his many fans. Don’t miss this evening of pure fun in the theatre!

9 To 5: The Musical at The Milton Keynes Theatre this week!

Box Office: 0844 871 7652 or online:  www.atgtickets.com /miltonkeynes

Fab-U-lous! or tired? Annie arrives in Milton Keynes

FORGET THE HARD KNOCK LIFE FOR A FEW HOURS

IN THE COMPANY OF ANNIE!

Just three words: ‘fab-u-lous’! Strictly’s meanest judge, Craig Revel Horwood, sashays into Milton Keynes Theatre on a wave of terrific reviews for his performance as the gin-sozzled, tyrannical Miss Hannigan in the smash-hit revival of ANNIE.

Set in 1930s’ New York during The Great Depression, plucky little Annie is living a life of misery at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. But guess what? Her luck is about to change as she’s chosen to spend a fairy-tale Christmas with famous billionaire capitalist, Oliver Warbucks (Alex Bourne).

Meanwhile, the only Christmas spirit that Miss Hannigan tolerates comes in a bottle as she hatches a plan to scupper Annie’s happiness by foiling the search for the little red-headed moppet’s true family…

But, with her irrepressible cheeriness and her honest-to-goodness positivity, Annie still manages to inspire the U.S President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to restore America’s economy and introduce a federal emergency relief programme. Not bad going for an 11 year old. Sounds like exactly who we need here in the UK right now.

With its Tony® award-winning book and score, including the unforgettable songs It’s The Hard-Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll love it.

And yes, you will go home singing Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love ya, Tomorrow, it’s only a day a-waaaay!!

Annie is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 6th July

Box Office: 0844 870 0887 or online: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

Fans of Annie the Musical will love this lively production of the show. With its great sets, its stylised choreography and its glorious music. I just think that had we been able to actually understand any of the lyrics it would have made a bit more sense. This might have been 50% down to The Milton Keynes Theatre’s inherent sound problem that many reviewers have mentioned over the years, but also to a group of actors coached in a sort of Brooklyn accent didn’t help. However accurate it might have been didn’t reach the front row of the circle!

How I wish that Drama Schools would teach their young pupils not to gabble! Same as in Matilda, our lovely young Annie seemed to rush through all lib & lyric until she came to an extended high note which she held onto in perfect pitch for as long as the musical director needed.

Have been watching productions of this show since Stratford Johns as Daddy Warbucks and before, I was hoping for more comedy from Rooster and his Blonde Bimbo girlfriend and more to hate about Miss Hannigan, in fact we rather liked her!

Whatever “it” is, I didn’t feel this production had it.

Disappointing.

Ernie Almond

Annie is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 6th July

Box Office: 0844 870 0887 or online: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

Les Miserables arrives at MK Theatre!

Cameron Mackintosh’s Acclaimed production of

“Les Miserables”

Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 8th June.

With Killian Donnelly as ‘Jean Valjean’ will be Nic Greenshields as ‘Javert’, Katie Hall as ‘Fantine’, Martin Ball as ‘Thénardier’, Sophie-Louise Dann as ‘Madame Thénardier’, Harry Apps as ‘Marius’, Tegan Bannister as ‘Eponine’, Will Richardson as ‘Enjolras’ and Bronwen Hanson as ‘Cosette’.

Killian Donnelly recently played the role of ‘Jean Valjean’ in the West End production of “Les Misérables”. Prior to his run in “Les Misérables”, he played the role of ‘Charlie Price’ in “Kinky Boots” on Broadway, a role he originated at the Adelphi Theatre in the West End in 2015, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award. His other theatre credits include ‘Huey’ in “Memphis” at the Shaftesbury Theatre, he created the role of ‘Deco’ in “The Commitments” at the Palace Theatre and has also played ‘Tony’ in “Billy Elliot” at the Victoria Palace Theatre as well as ‘Raoul’ in “The Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Nic Greenshields (Javert) most recently appeared in “Young Frankenstein” at the Garrick Theatre. His many other West End credits include “Les Misérables” at both the Queen’s and Palace Theatres, “The Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s, “Billy Elliot” at the Victoria Palace and “Miss Saigon” at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Katie Hall (Fantine) numerous credits include playing ‘Cosette’ in this production of “Les Misérables” in 2009, she also played the role at the Queen’s Theatre and in the 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2. Her other credits include ‘Christine’ in “The Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s and on tour, ‘Johanna’ in “Sweeney Todd” at the London Coliseum and ‘Maria’ in the national tour of “West Side Story”.

Martin Ball previously appeared as ‘Thénardier’ in “Les Misérables” at the Queen’s Theatre. His other West End credits include ‘Monsieur André’ in “The Phantom of the Opera”, ‘Harry’ in “Mamma Mia!”, ‘Mr Banks’ in the first national tour of “Mary Poppins”, He was in the original London cast of “Wicked” and in the cast of “Top Hat” in both the West End and on tour.

Sophie-Louise Dann’s many West End credits include ’Celia’ in “The Girls” (Olivier Award nomination), ‘Barbara Castle’ in “Made in Dagenham” and ‘Diana Divane’ in “Lend Me a Tenor” at the Gielgud Theatre, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award.

Harry Apps makes his professional debut as ‘Marius’ having successfully auditioned at the recent open auditions for the show.

Tegan Bannister (Eponine)  West End credits include ‘Young Nala’ in “The Lion King” and “Les Misérables” at the Queen’s Theatre.

Will Richardson (Enjolras) has appeared as ‘Rum Tum Tugger’ in “Cats” and ‘Rolf’ in “The Sound of Music”, both on international tour.

Bronwen Hanson (Cosette) has appeared in “Broken Wings” at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Whilst training her credits include ‘Sally Bowles’ in “Cabaret”.

Since Cameron Mackintosh first conceived this new production of “Les Misérables” in 2009 to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary it has taken the world by storm. Originally touring the UK throughout 2009/10, and concluding with 22 performances at the Barbican, this production was hailed by audiences and critics alike and inspired the hugely successful movie version starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne. The brilliant new staging has scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo.

Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Boublil and Schönberg’s magnificent score of “LES MISÉRABLES” includes the songs, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “On My Own”, “Stars”, “Bring Him Home”, “Do You Hear the People Sing?”, “One Day More”, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, “Master Of The House” and many more.

 Les Miserables is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 8th June.

Box Office: Best Availability Monday to Thursday performances. Call the theatre’s dedicated Les Misérables booking line on 01908 547669 (open Mon-Sat, 12–6pm) or visit: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/les-miserables/milton-keynes-theatre/.

Check daily for returns and last minute ticket releases.

 Theatre Box Office: 0844 871 7615 online atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

Jess Bermudez writes:

 Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Miserables has long been one of my favourite musicals. Having seen five previous productions I admit to being a little blasé as I took my seat. But from the opening notes of the overture from the fine orchestra under the direction of Ben Atkinson and then a brilliantly performed opening soliloquy by Jean Valjean (Killian Donnelly) I knew this was about to be one of those really special performances! So it turned out to be, in fact one of my favourite nights in the theatre so far.

The sets designed by Matt Kinley were stunning. I felt that the whole show had been tightened up a notch, the evening as emotional as it was seemed to fly past. So much energy and passion from every member of the cast helped to tell the story. Because the entire company were so brilliant I am loathed to pick out highlights, but I feel Tegan Bannister deserves a mention for the way she sold the idea that she was so in love with a man who just considered her a friend in her song “On My Own” – a beautiful rendition! Jean Valjean’s “Bring Him Home” reduced me to tears, I think the best I have heard it sung in all six times I’ve seen the show. Special mention too to Shane O’Riordan who was standing in as Marius, he did an excellent job and the entire audience really took to him.

All in all a wonderful production, many congratulations to the whole team both cast and the Creative and Technical teams. If you take my advice you’ll be ringing for tickets right now!

Jess Bermudez

Les Miserables is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 8th June.

Box Office: 0844 871 7615 or online atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

 Best Availability Monday to Thursday performances. Call the theatre’s dedicated Les Misérables booking line on 01908 547669 (open Mon-Sat, 12–6pm) or visit: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/les-miserables/milton-keynes-theatre/.

Alexandra Burke is back in The Bodyguard at MK Theatre!

THE BODYGUARD: IT’S GOT ROMANCE, SUSPENSE, HIT SONGS… AND ALEXANDRA BURKE!

Milton Keynes Theatre is delighted that Alexandra Burke has returned to the starring role of ‘Rachel Marron’ in the international smash hit production of the award-winning musical THE BODYGUARD.

 Since winning the fifth series of The X Factor in 2008 Alexandra Burke has sold more than one million copies of her debut single, Hallelujah, in the UK, played leading roles in the West End and, in 2017, reached the final of Strictly Come Dancing. Alexandra returns to the role of ‘Rachel Marron’ following her triumphant run in the show in the West End and the subsequent sell out 2015/2016 tour.

Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 Oscar nominated Warner Bros. movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, THE BODYGUARD, directed by Thea Sharrock with book by Alex Dinelaris, was nominated for four Olivier Awards and has since played to sell-out houses all over the world.

Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge but (spoiler alert!) what they don’t expect, is to fall in love.

A romantic thriller, THE BODYGUARD features a host of irresistible classics including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and one of the biggest hit songs of all time – I Will Always Love You.

Alexandra Burke will perform at all evening performances only

The Bodyguard is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 23rd March

 

Box Office: 0844 871 7652 or online: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

What a brilliant production this is! From its very lively start through many very clever set changes & special effects, sixteen great Whitney Houston songs, some very fine singing and dancing and as if that weren’t enough, its a thriller of some quality!

You can forget Alexandra Burke XFactor Winner and replace that from now on with Alexandra Burke STAR! She carried us through the show assisted by a very talented supporting cast (loved the voice of Micha Richardson who plays Alexandra’s sister in the show) and a tight and witty script. Quite a performer is Alexandra, we were watching her as Rachel Marron, never once did my mind stray to Whitney Houston’s portrayal.

Playing opposite Alexandra is French actor-singer Benoit Marechal and what a couple they make! Not only a fine looking actor, (He’s a successful International known model) he proved that he has a fine way with comedy too!

Here’s an evening you really mustn’t miss and you only have until the 23rd March to acquire one of the few available tickets. On opening night the whole house was on its feet long before the end of the finale!

Jess Bermudez

The Bodyguard is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 23rd March

Box Office: 0844 871 7652 or online: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

The Band triumphs at Milton Keynes

THE BAND opened at Manchester Opera House on 8 September 2017 to critical and public acclaim.

The musical stars Rachel Lumberg as Rachel, Alison Fitzjohn as Claire, Emily Joyce as Heather, Jayne McKenna as Zoe, AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon, winners of BBC’s Let It Shine, as The Band, and playing the girls when young are Faye Christall (Rachel), Katy Clayton (Heather), Rachelle Diedericks (Debbie), Sarah Kate Howarth (Claire), Lauren Jacobs (Zoe) with Martin Miller as husband Jeff and Andy Williams as Dave.

THE BAND is a new musical about what it’s like to grow up with a boyband. For five 16 year-old friends in 1992, ‘the band’ is everything.

25 years on, we are reunited with the group of friends, now 40-something women, as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes.

THE BAND is directed by Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder, designed by Jon Bausor and choreographed by Kim Gavin, with lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, video design by Luke Halls and sound design by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster.

THE BAND is produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen, Robbie Williams.

The Band is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 9th March

Box Office: 0844 871 7652, online:  atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes 

If I’m honest, I wasn’t over excited about seeing this show, but had I not bothered I would have missed a real treat! The Band is something new, very different to the usual run of pop musicals. The script is sharp and very witty, there is a story – yes a real story! The packed Milton Keynes Theatre laughed, clapped, cried, cheered and at the end got up and danced!

The sets work very well. The use of projection onto a conglomeration of different shaped screens was very effective, we even had a full sized passenger plane take off over our heads!

The comedy and the pathos in an altogether excellent script by Tim Firth, were handled very well by an excellent cast led by Rachel Lumberg and Alison Fitzjohn. After a fairly low key start with just the younger girls, the arrival of Alison Fitzjohn as the grown up Claire is a theatrical experience you won’t forget!

The winners of BBC’s programme to find the band itself can be more than proud of themselves as the sang and danced (and played a few other roles) dare I say as well as any boy band has ever done!

An excellent night out. It’s not a tribute to Take That, it just uses their music. It is much, much more than an evening watching a tribute show. Go and see for yourselves – if you can get a ticket!

Ernie Almond.

The Band is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 9th March

Box Office: 0844 871 7652, online:  atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes 

Is The Royal really Haunted? (Backstage Tours)

Behind the Curtain at Royal & Derngate

Theatre enthusiasts can enjoy an informing and entertaining backstage tour experience, with a wonderful storyteller taking them to explore the unseen areas of the Royal and Derngate auditoria. The next Behind the Curtain tours are scheduled for Monday 4, Tuesday 5, Wednesday 6 and Friday 8 March.

Visitors will be taken back in time, starting from the opening night in 1884. Exploring this colourful history, they will hear the real life stories of people who created, performed in or were audience members at shows at the theatre throughout the decades, discovering where Doctor Who was filmed and where Errol Flynn learned his craft. There is also the chance to discover how Made in Northampton productions are created with a visit to Royal & Derngate’s workshop and paintshop. The theatre’s resident ghost may even make an appearance along the way!

Behind the Curtain is an engaging theatrical tour suitable for groups, schools and individuals and lasts approximately 90 minutes. Customers are advised to wear flat shoes.

In addition, exclusive tours can be arranged for groups, and there is also a special version of the tour for primary schools, including an option to visit the Derngate auditorium control room and have a go at operating the lights.

Unfortunately, the standard tour is not suitable for those with access requirements, but accessible tours suitable for those with access needs, hearing or visual impairment are available with prior booking. Please contact erica.martin@royalandderngate.co.uk for further information or to book a primary school, exclusive or accessible tour.

Call Royal & Derngate Box Office on 01604 624811.

The next tours are on

Monday 4 March at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm

Tuesday 5 March at 11.30am and 3.30pm,

Wednesday 6 March at 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm and 4pm

Friday 8 March at 2pm and 4pm.

The Legend returns to Milton Keynes

MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE 

If ever a theatrical experience truly deserved the epithet ‘iconic’, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is it.

Credit: Johan Persson/

Returning to Milton Keynes Theatre with a fresh look for the 21st century – while still retaining all the breathtaking elements of the original production – Matthew Bourne and award-winning designers Lez Brotherston (Set & Costumes) and Paule Constable (Lighting) have created an exciting re-imagining of the classic New Adventures production.

Thrilling, audacious, witty and emotive, this Swan Lake is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, which shattered conventions, turned tradition upside down and took the dance world by storm.

Collecting over thirty international accolades including an Olivier Award in the UK and three Tonys on Broadway, Matthew Bourne’s powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece is a passionate and contemporary Swan Lake for our times.

Matthew Bourne says: “When we first started to do it, we had audiences walking out when the Prince and the Swan started dancing together. We had little girls in tears that it wasn’t performed with the tutus and pointe shoes that they were expecting; some people refused to come and see it at all. But we’re a contemporary dance theatre company, so we had to tell a story through movement, in a different way, and it needed a big idea to make people see it in a different way as well.

For me ultimately it is about someone struggling with who they are. We can all relate to an individual who in the society that they are in can’t be who they really are. I think the piece moves people because it has a message about looking for acceptance; but it also moves people because it’s about loss as well, and it’s about people that you’ve lost.

I feel those themes are very universal and very much things that touch all of us. It’s a very human piece and global – both in its message and in the way that it brings us all together.”

If you haven’t seen the show that, 25 years ago, changed the shape of ballet as we know it, you have an unforgettable treat in store; if you’ve seen it before, the emotional truth, the beauty and the compelling drama of this refreshed production will certainly draw you back.

 Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is at Milton Keynes Theatre from 29th Jan – Sat 2nd Feb

Box Office: 0844 871 7652, online:  ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes  Under 25s Offer – £15 per ticket Wed – Thu 7.30pm (Limited Availability)

If your idea of ballet is still ladies in tights and tutus and men in tights without them then you are at least 23 years out of date! It was in 1995 that Matthew Bourne changed the world of dance forever, winning over most of his critics before the interval of that opening night. These swans are aggressive, masculine and utterly believable!

On the opening night at Milton Keynes Theatre the show featured Max Westwell as The Swan, Liam Mower as The Prince, Katrina Lyndon as The Queen and Carrie Willis as The Girlfriend. The audience were treated to this spectacular evening of beautiful music, fabulous sets and a brilliantly talented cast with a dancing prowess matched by their first class acting from start to finish. Matthew Bourne has tweaked this latest production, just enough to freshen it a little but not to upset those that don’t like change of any sort! The long standing ovation at the end of the evening proved just why Matthew Bourne’s wonderful direction fully deserves all the awards this production of the most popular ballet has already received – and those it will undoubtedly receive in the years to come!

Ernie Almond

The Marlowe Society’s Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre from 23-26 January.

Cambridge University’s The Marlowe Society, one of the university’s most acclaimed dramatic societies, returns to Cambridge Arts Theatre after a string of successful productions in recent years including Romeo and Juliet and Edward II.

This year will see The Marlowe Society perform Much Ado about Nothing, one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies. Marrying sharp witticism with edge, Much Ado about Nothing introduces us to two of Shakespeare’s most loquacious lovers: Benedick and Beatrice. A vivid and compelling tale, this romantic comedy explores the transcendent nature of love and its capacity to overcome the obstacles of family, society, honour and deception.

Richard Beecham, who will direct Much Ado About Nothing, has directed productions across Britain and on tour, including productions at The Old Vic, Theatre Royal Bath and the Watford Palace, where he was nominated for Best Director in the Off-West End Theatre Awards for Broken Glass, as well as receiving a nomination for UK Theatre Awards’ Best Production for Dancing at Lughnasa and a nomination for Manchester Theatre Awards’ Best Production for Rose.

The Marlowe Society has launched the careers of some of Britain’s greatest actors including Sir Ian McKellen, Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Derek Jacobi, and continues its tradition of showcasing the best theatrical talent at the university.

Much Ado About Nothing is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until  26th January

Box Office: 01223 503333 or online: www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

Presenter Mike Moore (Black Cat 107) went along on opening night and gave his thoughts about the production:

This production by the very talented Marlowe Society is simply stunning! Avoiding the trappings of a complicated set, occasional props and lighting effects were used very successfully to depict the various scenes. They decided to bring the story right up to date – using, of course, the Bard’s original words. I was gripped from start to finish and it would be unfair to pick out any particular actor as the entire ensemble were as they should be, a close knit-team. The opening of act two with the not so bright members of The Watch was hilarious! Well done to all concerned – a production worth seeing – twice at least!

Black Cat 107 available on fm around St Neots, DAB+ across Cambridge and on TuneIn on the internet.