Wolverhampton’s Essential Entertainment Guide
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We reckon that, like us, most people are up for a good drama - something that they can sink their teeth into. Whether it's a staging based on modern day literary hit from the likes of Susan Hill and Dan Brown or a much-loved classic from The Bard or the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, there's plenty of productions coming up in 2021/22 to keep you entertained. Check out our recommendations, here...
The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown’s bestselling novel - written in 2003 and made into a blockbuster movie starring Tom Hanks in 2006 - sees cryptologists Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu grappling with a series of baffling codes found alongside the body of the brutally murdered curator of the Louvre...
“I’m thrilled that The Da Vinci Code is being adapted for the stage,” says Dan, “and excited to see the unique potential of live theatre enhance this story. The team making the production has been faithful to the book, but will also bring something new for the audience, in what’s certain to be a gripping, fast-paced stage thriller and a thoroughly entertaining show.” The production stops off at five Midlands theatres as part of a 31-venue UK tour
SHOWING AT: Malvern Theatres, 22 - 27 November, 2021; Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, 7 - 12 March, 2022; Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury, 6 - 11 June, 2022; The Alexandra, Birmingham, 20 - 25 June
Looking Dead Good Bestselling crime writer Peter James has scored major successes on stage as well as in print, with adaptations of his books having played to appreciative audiences at venues across the UK. This latest offering features Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, the Brighton-based policeman who’s headed up murder investigations in a number of James’s most popular novels. On this occasion, Grace is called in when a man who finds a USB memory stick on a train inadvertently becomes a witness to a vicious murder... EastEnders stalwart Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale - pictured) stars.
SHOWING AT: Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury, 12 - 17 April 2021; Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, 10 - 15 May 2021; Malvern Theatres, 30 August - 4 September; The Alexandra, Birmingham, 6 - 11 September
The 39 Steps Anybody who remembers the various film versions of John Buchan's classic spy thriller will be hard-pressed to call any of them 'humorous'. So it's a bit weird to think of this stage version bagging the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Nonetheless, that's exactly what it did, courtesy of some imaginative thinking on the part of its creative team.
So why not catch up with handsome hero Richard Hannay as he battles to remain impressively stiff-upper-lipped in the face of dastardly murders and life-threatening encounters with double-crossing secret agents... Four fearless actors play no fewer than 150 roles in this real gem of a show.
SHOWING AT: The Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham, 8 - 17 April
Dial M For Murder Samantha Womack and Tom Chambers star in Frederick Knott’s erotic tale of betrayal, passion and murder - best known, of course, from its 1954 Alfred Hitchcock-directed film version starring Ray Milland and Grace Kelly... When Tony becomes convinced that wife Margot is having an affair, he devises a means of having her murdered while at the same time ensuring he has a watertight alibi. But not everything goes according to plan...
SHOWING AT: Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury, 16 - 20 March; Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, 8 - 12 June
Macbeth Having been spurred into action by the prophesies of three supernatural women - and egged on by his conniving wife - Macbeth’s desire to be king of Scotland sees him slaughtering first Duncan and then Banquo. As the pressure mounts and his grip on sanity weakens, he decides to commit even more atrocities - including the murder of women and children...
This latest version of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy is presented by Daniel Taylor Productions.
SHOWING AT: Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury, 24 - 26 May
By The Waters Of Liverpool Helen Forrester’s autobiographical play - from her same-titled bestselling book - is set in the 1930s and finds the teenage Helen fighting a bitter battle with her parents for the right to educate herself and go out to work. Life, however, has a habit of getting in the way of even the best-laid plans - and so it proves for Helen...
Following her family’s fall from grace, she finds herself taken from school to work as an ‘unpaid slave’ looking after her siblings. But with Britain on the brink of war, the arrival in her life of a tall, strong seaman provides Helen with the chink of light for which she’s been so desperately searching...
SHOWING AT: Albany Theatre, Coventry, 13 October; Malvern Theatres, 6 - 7 November
Absurd Person Singular Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular charts the progress - and decline - of three couples in three kitchens during three Christmas gatherings, during which each couple gets more than they bargained for.
One of the playwright’s most pleasing comedies, it’s an enduring piece which has lost none of its bite in the 48 years since it was premiered.
SHOWING AT: Malvern Theatres, 29 June - 3 July
The Woman In Black Adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from Susan Hill’s same-titled novel, The Woman In Black is a classic ghost story first performed in 1989. It has since become one of the West End's most successful plays.
Solicitor Arthur Kipp believes that his family have somehow been cursed by a mysterious woman in black. In an attempt to tell his story, and to exorcise the evil curse which he’s convinced hangs over him, he hires a young actor to assist him in recounting his experiences...
2021 dates currently being rescheduled. Check HERE for details
Jack The Ripper: Mary Kelly Of 11 murders which took place in the Whitechapel area of London between 1888 and 1891, five have been strongly linked to history’s most famous unidentified serial killer - Jack The Ripper.
The fifth of those victims, who met her grizzly fate on 9 November 1888, was poverty-stricken prostitute Mary Jane Kelly - and it’s through the telling of her life story that the gruesome tale of the Ripper is here recounted.
Expect a winning blend of ‘naturalistic dialogue and fast-paced stylistic storytelling’ interspersed with moments of brutal violence...
Beauty And The Beast Postponed from 2020 for obvious reasons, the New Vic’s retelling of this classic fairytale sees the venue’s artistic director, Theresa Heskins, bringing to bear all of her trademark inventiveness to present a show that promises to breathe new life into an old fable. Heskins, whose previous triumphs have included the Olivier Award-winning The Worst Witch, has returned to the original versions of the tale for her much-anticipated adaptation. Expect a show replete with enchanting storytelling, an impressive score and a generous helping of family-friendly humour...
SHOWING AT: New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme. Date tbc
The Winter’s Tale One of Shakespeare’s later and lesser-known works, The Winter's Tale recounts the story of Perdita, who, after being lost at sea as a baby, is rescued and brought up by an old shepherd.
When she meets the king’s son, Florizel, love blossoms amid the rustic revelry...
The production was originally scheduled for last summer, when it would have been presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company alongside new versions of Pericles (previewed above) and The Comedy Of Errors.
“The sea divides families in all three plays,” says RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran. “Themes of separation & loss and the restorative power of time connect all three of them. Each play is wonderfully different, yet at the same time they share a fascination with identity, the challenges of leaving your native land and the deep bonds of family.”
SHOWING AT: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Date tbc
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