From Shakespearean laughs to Abba-fuelled fun, there's lots happening on the stage...
William Shakespeare’s First Long Lost Play
Stantonbury Theatre, May 13
Acclaimed stars of the West End stage, the Reduced Shakespeare Company, are back at Stantonbury Theatre on Saturday another barnstormingly irreverent and breathtakingly hilarious celebration of our cultural heritage – as seen through the eyes of three Americans wearing trainers.
In a better-late-than-never nod to Will’s 400th anniversary, the bad boys of abridgement present this ‘new’ play by the man himself, as discovered in a Leicester car park! All of the Bard’s greatest characters and plots feature in this single work of dramatic genius, that he later decided to turn into 37 separate plays - in a move that Hollywood studios would have admired, if they’d been around in the 16th century.
Grove Theatre, Dunstable, May 16 & 17
Terry Johnson’s hilarious farce explores the fallout when two of the 20th century’s most brilliant and original minds collide.
Sigmund Freud has fled Nazi-occupied Austria and settled in leafy Swiss Cottage. The ageing Freud and Dali takke centre stage. Expect smiles aplenty.
The Grapes of Wrath
Northampton Royal, Until May 20
The Oklahoma landscape is barren, crops turn to dust and farmers are forced from their land.
The Joad family, driven by desperation, join thousands of families to undertake an epic journey west to California in search of a new life...A timely production about resilience in the face of catastrophe.
The Stables, May 11
A trade unionist’s son who grew up on a council estate, Geoff is wondering quite how he ended up leaning to the right - a motley South London upbringing may be the root of his more provocative views.
Expect strong language and that ‘adult material’ stuff in his show, Conswervative
The Adams Family
Northampton Derngate, Until May 13
The kooky family are back, live on stage in this UK premiere, starring MK panto ace Sam Womack as marvellous Morticia, and Les Dennis as Uncle Fester.
Wednesday Addams - Princess of Darkness - has fallen in love with a sweet young man. Cue trouble.www.royalandderngate.co.uk
Milton Keynes Theatre, until May 20
Nikki Davis Jones is having a blast as the resident director with Mamma Mia!
Leading us on a sneaky-peak backstage, we are being dazzled – sometimes quite literally – by costumes and the set; “This is a relatively simple set, and the lighting and hue is beautiful,” she says, gesturing to the impressively simply and pristine backdrop.
We rummage in Donna’s suitcase, brimming with Donna & the Dominoes mementos, learn how essential gravy browning and talcum powder is to the show and have a little nosey in the ‘quick change’ areas.
The girls have a curtain across their quarters, the boys? No such privacy for them!
With such a high-profile, spectacular show there is ABBA-solutely no room for errors – everything must be just so.
“We have checklists for the props,” Nikki says, explaining the meticulous checking procedure. As the person charged with keeping the show ‘in it’s tippedy-top prime,’ Nikki is well versed in Mamma Mia!: “I’ll join in warm-up and feel like I am part of the company,” she says.
And as someone who has previously starred on stage in Mamma Mia!, and who had a role in the film, Nikki knows the show inside out. Variety, that’s the Name of the Game here