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Culture: Take a bow

By David Hannant, Local Democracy Reporter

Dr Phil Hammond
Dr Phil Hammond

The Theatre Royal has announced its autumn season and there’s lots to catch your eye

The Theatre Royal Bury in Bury St Edmunds is promising something for everyone in its autumn season.

The season opens in August with a Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds Production of Goodnight Mr Tom, starring Roy Hudd as the lovable Mister Tom in this hauntingly beautiful adaptation. A tale of heartbreaking loss and remarkable friendship forged in a world at war. When retired and reclusive Tom Oakley reluctantly takes under his wing an abused eight-year-old evacuee William, an unspoken and unbreakable bond is formed. Will the unlikely friendship between them survive through distance, war and fear? (Fri, Aug 24-Sat, Sept 8).

And the season will close with another Theatre Royal production, the return of its magical family pantomime, which this year will be Sleeping Beauty (Fri, Nov 30- Sun, Jan 13 2019).

But inbetween there will be plenty of drama, including a powerful production of Shakespeare’s Henry V – emerging from his wild youth with a sense of purpose and adventure, Henry V wages war on France with devastating efficiency, but at what cost? (Tue, Oct 30-Sat, Nov 3) Blackeyed Theatre returns to the stage with Sherlock Holmes – The Sign of Four, featuring original live music, stylish theatricality and magical storytelling (Thu 4-Sat, Oct 6). London Classic Theatre also make a return with My Mother Said I Never Should; a poignant, bittersweet story about love, jealousy and the price of freedom (Mon 17-Thu, Sept 20).

Fans of comedy are sure to be pleased, Dylan Moran will be taking the stage with his new tour Dr Cosmos – his unique take on love, politics, misery and the everyday absurdities of life (Sat, Nov 17), Dr Phil Hammond will celebrate the NHS’ 70th birthday, exploring a decade of austerity with an offer to laugh all your worries away (Tue, Nov 13) and Steve Parrish will give a colourful, humorous and at times daring portrayal of his career (Sun, Oct 21).

Classic comedy will also feature thanks to a pair of tribute shows. The Goon Show will celebrate Spike Milligan’s centenary year with the first major theatrical production of the show in its illustrious history (Thu 18-Sat, Oct 20) and Dad’s Army – Radio Hour will feature two actors on stage playing 25 different characters in a brilliant staging of classic radio scripts based on favourite episodes from the original TV series (Wed 14-Thu, Nov 15).

Lovers of musicals will be in for a treat with Carmen – The Gypsy, a brave new musical retelling of the classic. In the midst of a scuffle at an illegal Gypsy cage fighting event, Carmen is arrested by undercover police officer Don Jose whose obsessive behaviour soon becomes too much (Thu 13-Sat, Sept 15). Lucy Parham will take to the piano as Alex Jennings narrates Rêverie, evoking Claude Debussy’s complex emotional life through a personal and revealing journal and a sequence of his most famous solo piano works (Sun, Oct 28) and MJ HIStory captures the sound, movement and aesthetic of the icon Michael Jackson – from the Jackson 5 to the King of Pop, his greatest hits will be performed live (Sun, Nov 11).

Ballet Theatre UK will return to the theatre with one of the most enchanting love stories of all time, Beauty & the Beast, set to a stunning classical score with new choreography by artistic director Christopher Moore (Mon 19-Wed, Nov 21), while Vamos Theatre present a new production of Finding Joy, approaching the subject of dementia with humour, humanity and of course their trademark full-mask style (Mon, Oct 22). There are some newcomers too – all the way from Sweden, Charlie Caper and Malin Nilsson present Minor Miracles, a unique combination of magic, comedy and surrealism (Thu, Oct 25).

Theatre Royal will again be welcoming local companies to the stage. BSEAODS present their production of High Society, featuring hit songs including True Love, You’re Sensational and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Tue 9-Sat, Oct 13), and Irving Stage Company present their take on ‘Allo ‘Allo the uproarious comedy based on the hugely successful British television series (Tue 6-Sat, Nov 10).

For families there is the ever-popular Scamp Theatre bringing two productions to the stage, Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful – a moving experience that tells of a young soldier’s final day in World War One (Tue 25-Sat, Sept 29) – and Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stick Man – packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves (Sun, Sept 30-Tue, Oct 2). Another children’s classic tale Tabby McTat is brought to life, interwoven with original songs suitable for the whole family (Fri 26-Sat, Oct 27).

And, as previously mentioned, how better to round off the autumn season than with Theatre Royal’s traditional family pantomime. Visit the medieval kingdom of Burytonia for magic, mayhem and more where you’ll meet jousting knights, mythical beasts and take a journey beneath the earth. Most importantly, you’ll discover if love really can conquer all (Fri, Nov 30-Sun, Jan 13 2019).

Booking multiple shows this season with the Season Saver discount will make you big savings, the more you see, the more you save. Booking 4+ shows will save you 10 per cent, 6+ shows 15 per cent and 8+ shows a massive 25 per cent off!

Tickets will go on general sale on Saturday at 10am. Visit theatreroyal.org, call 01284 769505, or stop by in person.

To find out more about Theatre Royal memberships, visit theatreroyal.org/support-us.

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