From a theatrical thriller to cutting-edge comedy, there's lots going on...
Strictly Murder, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, July 11 and 12
It’s quite a return to the area for Samuel Clemens. He’s the son of Brian Clemens OBE, the creator and producer of The Avengers, The Professionals and The Persuaders, and writer of Second World War thriller Strictly Murder – which Samuel, who grew up in Ampthill, is directing. The play stars Brian Capron (Coronation Street, Where The Heart Is, Grange Hill, Celebrity Masterchef), Corrine Wicks (Doctors, Emmerdale) and Gary Turner (Emmerdale) in a world where no one is who they first appear to be and dark secrets aplenty are revealed. The play is set in April 1939, when an English couple, Peter and Suzy, are living in Provence in idyllic isolation – far, it seems, from the rumblings of the coming war. Their peace is shattered from within when Suzy discovers she has been betrayed: Peter is not the man he claims to be. Suzy’s life is thrown into turmoil as the possibility arises that Peter may in fact be a ruthless killer on the run. Then a Scotland Yard detective arrives and events become even more complicated and frightening.
The Philadelphia Story, The Little Theatre, Dunstable, July 7 to 15
As the last play of their season, the Dunstable Rep has chosen a play which has not been performed in the UK for many years – indeed, it is the only UK production of the play this year. The Philadelphia Story, first performed in 1939 in the USA, was written specifically for Katherine Hepburn by the famous playwright Philip Barry, and became a huge success, spawning a film, radio adaptations and the famous conversion to a musical called High Society.
Malcolm Farrar, a new director for the company, brings his vast theatrical experience to the show.
“Although, on the surface, it appears to be a deeply intense story,” said Malcolm, “it is beautifully written by Philip Barry as a subtle comedy, creating tears of both humour and emotion in every way.”
Fringe of the Fringe, Bear Club, Luton, July 9, 11 and 13
The club is hosting a special trilogy of comedy shows, taking three nights with two acts performing a full preview of their Edinburgh Fringe hour on each night, with a break in between. Sunday’s features Andrew Maxwell and Luisa Omielan, while Andrew Lawrence and Ellie Taylor perform on the Tuesday and Robin Ince and Rob Broderick raise laughs on Thursday, July 13.
4 THEATRE SCREENING
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Grove Theatre, Dunstable, July 9
This recorded screening from the National Theatre stars Imelda Staunton, Conleth Hill, Luke Treadway and Imogen Poots. In the early hours of the morning on the campus of an American college, Martha, much to her husband George’s displeasure, has invited the new professor and his wife to their home for some after-party drinks. As the alcohol flows and dawn approaches, the young couple are drawn into George and Martha’s toxic games until the evening reaches its climax in a moment of devastating truth-telling.
The play was written by Edward Albee and dates from 1962, winning the 1963 Tony Award for Best Play and the 1962-63 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play. The film version was released in 1966, starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
Confabulation, Hat Factory Arts Centre, Luton, July 13
Writer and performer Eamonn Fleming presents what he describes as “a show about memory and making stuff up”. He says every act of remembering is an act of storytelling – and here is his. It starts with a spotty teenager at a Motörhead gig and ends up at the cutting edge of memory research. “The bellowing fans, the smell of beer and sweat, the thunderous music –when I think back, it’s all so vivid,” said Eamonn. “And it’s all completely made up.” Eamonn promises to lead the audience through the world of memory palaces, false memories and Werther’s Originals in a show about not being able to trust a single thing you remember.