Murder, whodunit and farce – as drama returns to Peterborough theatres
Lovers of a good murder mystery are in for a treat when drama returns in earnest to Peterborough’s theatres later this year.
ead Lies – at New Theatre from October 26 to 30 – is a fast-moving, hard-hitting political English thriller from No.1 best-selling crime novelist Hilary Bonner.
Offering a feast of murder, scandal, sexual indiscretion and political intrigue, this world premiere of Dead Lies stars Olivier Award nominee Clive Mantle (Casualty, Holby City, Game of Thrones); Harriet Thorpe (Absolutely Fabulous); John Lyons (Touch of Frost); Jacqueline Leonard (Doctors, EastEnders, Peak Practice), Patrick Pearson (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and Ashford Campbell (9to5, Dreamgirls).
Directed by critically acclaimed director Joe Harmston, the action takes place during a fiercely fought election campaign. The story follows Peter George (Clive Mantle), a politician who promises a new kind of politics beyond sleaze and spin.
He is welcomed as a messiah by the British public and expected to restore trust in a broken political system. But a shocking secret lies in the past of our country’s hero.
As buried truths rise from the ashes, will his rise to power be destroyed by ghosts from another time? Personal and political influences begin to shake the faith of those closest to him, and a media cascade threatens to bring down Britain’s new saviour.
How far will he go to save his own career, and how far will those around him go to save their own skins?
Expect the unexpected. No-one is safe.
John Lyons of Frost fame can also be seen as Father Brown in The Murderer in the Mirror, a dramatic new whodunit by John Goodrum based on the classic mysteries by G K Chesterton (at Key Theatre, July 7 and 8).
Mild -mannered priest Father Brown always seems to be in the right place at the right time ... if you count always being around when a murder is committed as being in the right place!
When a famous actor is found dead just before the opening of his latest West End production, Father Brown – invited to watch the dress rehearsal – sees at once in the shattered dressing room mirror that all is not as it seems.
And if all the possible suspects were on stage at the time, watched by Father Brown, who could possibly be the murderer?
The Murderer in the Mirror with its colourful array of possible candidates for the hangman’s noose, and more twists and turns than Agatha Christie, is a more than worthy successor to Rumpus’ previous Father Brown whodunit ...
The following week (July 13 and 14) the Key Theatre has a production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular.
Three married couples. Three kitchens. Three Christmas parties.
Sidney Hopcroft, a small-time tradesman, persuades wife Jane to throw a Christmas party hoping to find favour with a bank manager and local architect. As the celebrations get under way, class differences and naked ambition combine to hilarious effect as, one by one, the characters seek refuge in Jane’s kitchen.
Over the next two years, the Jacksons and Brewster-Wrights take turns to host festivities.
But Sidney’s star has begun to rise and roles are increasingly reversed as the cracks in the other couples’ marriages begin to show.
Alan Ayckbourn’s comic masterpiece of social climbing in 1970s suburbia fuses a potent mix of farce and black comedy.
An Olivier and Tony Award winning playwright, Ayckbourn’s 81 plays have been produced worldwide.
Following their successful tour of Absent Friends in 2015, Ayckbourn’s much-loved 1972 classic forms the centrepiece of London Classic Theatre’s 20th anniversary celebrations.
Coming up in September and October, Key Theatre has three shows forming a three dramas for £30 deal.
First up is A Perfect Likeness (September 8 and 9).
Reclusive writer and photographer Charles Dodgson (also known as Lewis Carroll) invites celebrity author Charles Dickens to his Oxford home to pose for a portrait. Dickens is so intrigued by the whimsical Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that he accepts.
What ensues is a baring of two creative souls, the one private and fastidious, the other boisterous and irreverent.
As Dodgson struggles to capture a “perfect likeness” of Dickens, Dickens craftily pries into Dodgson’s personal life to get a handle on one of the most curious men he has ever met. The result is a hilarious and revealing conversation between two quirky, fascinating, and completely different men.
A Perfect Likeness by Daniel Rover Singer, (Reduced Shakespeare Company) receives its UK Premiere by Conn Artists following on from their hit tours of Silas Marner and The Four Men.
It stars Ross Muir as Lewis Carroll.
Crimes in Egypt (October 28) features Belgian detective extraordinaire, Artemis Arinae, who is set to enjoy a holiday cruise along the River Nile when tragedy strikes.
All the passengers and staff aboard are suspects, and the murder count is growing, will Arinae’s little grey cells identify the murderer in time?
A versatile cast of just four, brings to life lascivious lawyers, crocked captains, fastidious physicians, ardently amorous authors, feuding femme fatales, plodding paramours, friendly first mates and attractive Americans, in this romp inspired by Christie, Coward and Wodehouse, directed by James Farrell (Associate Director–The 39 Steps, West End).
It is touring again following a sell-out world premiere run at Theatre Royal Bath’s Ustinov Studio and a critically acclaimed national tour in 2019 (under previous title Crimes on the Nile).
Last but not least making up the deal is Macbeth (October 6) - a full-cast production set in the murky Dark Ages where love, politics and witchcraft collide.
A warworn Macbeth is told by three sisters that he is fated to become King of Scotland so beginning a series of events that lead to the destruction of kings, friends and souls as he, and his Lady, try to cling to the tainted crown.
Enjoy this classic tale as portrayed by William Shakespeare with sorcery, ghostly apparitions and spectacular sword fights! Age Recommendation: 11+
Finally at Key Theatre is 2065 (November 9 to 11) .
The year is 2065; the people are stifled under an oppressive regime made up of all-powerful corporations.
We follow a group of rebels who live outside the system and believe things can change for the better.
How can they remind people of a time when things were different? When they hoped not only to survive but to thrive? Can they bring music back to a city where it is needed more than ever?
2065 is a futuristic sensory extravaganza for audiences with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Frozen Light are specialists in making sensory theatre for adult audiences with PMLD and this is there fifth touring production.
The production is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.