From a festive ballet classic to a witty comic gem, there's plenty to enjoy...
The Nutcracker, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, November 19
Prepare to enter a magical wonderland as the festive family favourite ballet takes to the stage. Performed by the Russian National Ballet and featuring a timeless score from Tchaikovsky, this fairytale ballet comes with evocative music and beautiful dance. Set designer Lubov Sidelnikova said: “The Nutcracker is a delightful and kind fairy tale with a gemstone of Tchaikovsky’s music. Therefore, I wanted to embed the set design of the ballet as a perfect dream of a flawless world where everyone is happy, and good always triumphs over evil. People are always trying to beautify their life and through beauty we try to create harmony and joy. In the set design of The Nutcracker, I tried to create a sense of lightness and convey a celebration mood.” Based on The Nutcracker and the Mouse King written by ETA Hoffmann, The Nutcracker tells the story of Marie whose godfather Drosselmeier gives her a Nutcracker doll as a present on Christmas Eve. When midnight strikes, a magical world comes alive and the audience is transported to an enchanted place where the magic really begins.
Hay Fever, Little Theatre, Dunstable, November 17 to 25
Hay Fever is one of the best-loved of all Noel Coward’s plays. The comic masterpiece was first performed in 1925 and is returning to the stage courtesy of Dunstable Rep. The play is set in an English country house by the Thames at Cookham in the 1920s. Without consulting the others, the four eccentric members of the Bliss family each invites a guest to spend the weekend. The self-centred behaviour of the hosts finally drives the guests to flee, while the Blisses are so engaged in a family row that they don’t notice. Noel Coward combines a comedy of manners, as each guest pairs off with the wrong person, with his inimitable wit in which every word falls perfectly into place.
Foster & Allen, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, November 15
International recording artists, Mick Foster and Tony Allen, are bringing their Golden Years Tour to Dunstable. Celebrating more than 40 years together in the music business, the musical duo from Ireland will be performing a string of their biggest hits, including Bunch of Thyme, Maggie, After All These Years, I Will Love You All My Life and Old Flames as well as their latest single Mrs Brown’s Boys. Foster and Allen’s style and easy listening sound remains as popular as ever.
Handel’s Messiah, November 18, St Mary’s church, Luton
Luton Choral Society will perform Handel’s masterpiece this weekend – the first live performance of The Messiah in Luton for 12 years. The society will be accompanied by a baroque orchestra playing period instruments, and will be enlisting rising young professional singers for the solo numbers. Society chair Sara Kelby said: “It’s a rare chance to hear this magnificent music live in Luton, and we hope to do it full justice.” Handel composed The Messiah in 24 days in 1741. It was first performed in Dublin in 1742 and was a sell-out. Legend has it that when it came to London King George II could not contain his enthusiasm and leapt to his feet during the Hallelujah Chorus, beginning a tradition followed to this day.
The society, Luton’s oldest established choir, gave its first performance in 1871, and has been performing regularly in Luton and Bedfordshire ever since. Its members are local people – women and men – from all walks of life, who share a love of singing, and an ambition to perform challenging music to the highest possible standard.
T.Rextasy, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, November 17
T.Rextasy have been performing all over the world for 25 years, a career that out-lives Marc Bolan’s very own T.Rex. In 2017, the band returns to transport audiences back to the ‘70s for the Marc Bolan 40th commemorative anniversary tour. Marc Bolan, with his band T.Rex, was one of the most flamboyant and charismatic stars of the original glam rock era, with hits including Telegram Sam, Jeepster, 20th Century Boy, Bang a Gong, Metal Guru and an Children of the Revolution.