Double dose of comedy at The Grove
The 1945 farcical gem See How They Run sees a sequence of dog-collared strangers turn a homely wartime vicarage in peaceful Merton-cum-Middlewick completely upside down as a maverick soldier, an escaped POW, a bishop and a few vicars get tangled up in a case of mistaken identity.
At its heart is the refreshingly modern Penelope, who finds out more about herself, her husband and her uncle the bishop, than she ever imagined as she tries to keep a semblance of order as a harmless joke throws the village into mortal peril.
Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece Twelfth Night is a tale of love, identity and new beginnings set on the shores of a foreign land.
Set on the Indian coast in the dying embers of the last days of the Raj a young girl is found washed up on a beach. As she struggles to find her feet in this strange new world the forces of change and fate conspire around her as the story of Twelfth Night unfolds in all its hedonistic and tragic glory. Against this fast changing landscape a group of unforgettable characters re-creates the nostalgia of 1947 India as a new world order stands waiting in the wings as the age of Empire takes its final bow.
Both plays feature an ensemble cast including EastEnders’ Lucy Speed and Arthur Bostrom, who is best known to TV audiences as the bumbling Officer Crabtree in the much loved TV series ‘Allo ‘Allo.
OTC’s artistic director Alastair Whatley said, about staging two productions at the same time: “In the past few years we have built increasingly strong ensemble casts and played to ever increasing audiences all over the UK. We believe passionately in giving regional audiences the highest quality productions.
We therefore decided to run a repertory system with both productions being cross cast and designed by the same team. Touring is the lifeblood of the company, and the repertory model for many years provided the backbone for the industry drawing a lineage back from Shakespeare to Sir Peter Hall, their blood, sweat and greasepaint etched into many of very theatres we return to.
“This project stands as a pilot scheme. We want to revive the repertory model drawing the best of the old system but also reacting to the demands of modern Britain.
“Our hope is that an audience who watch both plays will find these themes feeding into their experience of both productions allowing a deeper engagement and understanding of their experience in the theatre.”
See How They Run is on Monday and Twelth Night on Tuesday. For tickets call the office 01582 602080 or online at www.grovetheatre.co.uk