Cambridge Arts Theatre spring preview
- Credit: Robert Workman Photographer
Drama, musical theatre, opera, comedy, one-night events and family fun; Cambridge Arts Theatre’s spring season has it all. Entertainment writer Wayne Savage looks at some of the highlights.
Kicking things off is the West End smash hit comedy The 39 Steps. Running January 25-30, it’s based on John Buchan’s 1915 novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film adaptation. Four actors plays 139 roles, its two previous runs sold out.
The Herbal Bed, Marc 1-5, is the story of the daughter of William Shakespeare, based upon real events from Stratford-Upon-Avon. Written 40 years apart, one of Alan Ayckbourn’s most popular plays, Confusions, is joined by the world premiere of his new 79th play Hero’s Welcome on February 1-6. Rehearsal for Murder, March 7-12, is a new murder mystery written by the legendary writing team who penned Murder She Wrote, Levinson and Link.
The acclaimed English Touring Opera return on April 26-30 with three very different operas; Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Gluck’s Iphiegénie en Tauride and Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei. Keeping it period, Cambridge University’s prestigious Marlowe Society return with Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure on February 10-13, directed by leading theatre director Tom Littler. Clybourne Park, May 9-14, is a razor-sharp satire which lifts the lid on race and real estate. Noël Coward’s wit takens centre stage with Present Laughter on July 25-30 before transferring to the West End.
A host of famous faces from stage and screen make an appearance at the arts theatre this spring.
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Martin Shaw stars as Henry Horatio Hobson in the much-loved comedy Hobson’s Choice on March 14-19. EastEnders favourites Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace perform together on stage for the very first time in the number one best-selling author Peter James’ The Perfect Murder March 21-26. Matthew Kelly stars in the critically acclaimed dark comedy Toast, March 28–April 2, and the renowned Shakespearean actor Michael Pennington performs in King Lear June 20-25.
Musicals fans won’t be disappointed.
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Kick off your Sunday shoes with Footloose, April 4-9, along with Gareth Gates and Maureen Nolan. The unpredictable and hilarious West End hit Showstopper! The Improvised Musical pops by, February 22-27, to create a new musical from scratch each evening. There’s also an all-male rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, April 20-23, from the same team who staged 2014’s The Pirates of Penzance.
Literary classics make the leap from the page to the stage.
John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, April 12-16, is one of the greatest stories of the 20th Century. It’s followed by the uplifting Goodnight Mister Tom, May 3-7. English Touring Theatre return with the world premiere of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, May 17-21.
Younger theatre-goers will be pleased to see the return of their favourite monster in The Gruffalo’s Child, March 29–April 3, written by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. With live music, puppetry and audience participation, What the Ladybird Heard, February 17-21, is the perfect half-term treat.
Throughout spring, there will be a host of one-night events to suit all interests. Renowned historian Lucy Worsley takes you through an illustrated tour of our fascination with murder, February 21. Actor, comedian and singer-songwriter Ken Dodd returns to Cambridge May 8 while musicians Claire Martin and Joe Stilgoe stage a Parisian inspired concert on April 3. The prestigious comedy troupe Cambridge Footlights visit on February 28 and March 6 to showcase the comedy stars of the future.