Rich pickings at the reps;Theatre Preview
PLYMOUTH Theatre Royal (01752 267222) Monkey February 25-27 by Nick Stimson and Chris Williams urbanises and musicalises a Chinese legend, performed by students from 10 colleges and schools, Hamlet March 19-27.
See Tours: Popcorn, Charlotte's Web, Shockheaded Peter, Brassed Off.
Drum Studio: The Impostor February 18-March 6 is Pete Lawson's up-to-date version of Moli re's Tartuffe, Shout It Out Learning Project in Sue Torr's double-bill Shout It Out and The Pub March 8-10, Shaw's Candida April 15-May 1, Theatre Royal Young Company in Alain Fournier's The Lost Domain August 5-21, adapted by director Nick Stimson, music by Chris Williams.
See Tours: Messing With Medea, 400 Jokes With the Devil (March 15-17), Things Fall Apart.
EXETER Northcott (01392 493493) John Godber's Bouncers February 16-27, Method and Madness open Philip Osment's new play Buried Alive March 16-27 (See Tours, Method amp; Madness), Exeter Phoenix arts centre co-produce Alan Bennett's version of The Wind in the Willows April 3-10, with a cast of 60 young people.
BRISTOL Old Vic (0117 987 7877) goes downtown Detroit in the Sixties for Blues Brother, Soul Sisters February 6-March 6, Arthur Miller's fine play about two brothers' moral crisis The Price March 18-April 10, Twenties Aldwych farce Tons of Money April 17-May 15, the Will Evans and Valentine original adapted by Alan Ayckhourn, John Godber's rugger scrum Up 'n' Under May 20-June 12, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in Mansfield Park June 17-July 3.
New Vic: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in Love's Labour's Lost February 24-March 6, Avon Schools Dramafest March 8-12, Box Clever in Michael Wicherek's Sixteen March 22-27 about two anxious teenagers' first sexual encounter, Bristol Old Vic Senior Youth Theatre in late Shakespeare plus Wedekind's probing of adolescence Pericles and Spring Awakening April 9-17, Sharks and Tarts May 25-29, a concert of Brecht and Weill songs, Lifetime Theatre in a cross-cultural comedy Gringos June 8-12, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in The Front Page June 16-July 3.
See Tours: China Song, Dusty Fruit, Things Fall Apart, Black on White Shorts, The Wild Party (April 26-May 1).
SALISBURY Playhouse (01722 320333) Blithe Spirit to February 13, Pinter's The Birthday Party February 18-March 6, Shared Experience with Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba March 11-20 (plus a schools' Theatreday on Lorca, March 17 at 4.30-6.30pm), Anouilh's Colombe April 1-17, Stage '65 youth theatre with Peter Hall's version of Animal Farm April 22-24.
Salberg Studio: Salisbury College with Dario Fo's Trumpets and Raspberries March 18-20, make a folk-tale in the half-term participatory project Grimm's Grimmest February 15-18, for 6-11s a 90-minute Tempest February 23-March 6, plus schools' Theatredays March 2; 4, Guy Masterson's one-man show about a paratrooper in the Gulf War A Soldier's Song April 20-24, from Ken Lukowiak's book.
SOUTHAMPTON Nuffield (01703 671771) Douglas Post's Earth and Sky February 4-27 brings suspicion and boyfriend trouble into the life of a poet-librarian following a murder, Graham Alborough digs into family secrets with humour amid a plot to kidnap Charlie Chaplin's corpse in Same Hole Deeper April 14-May 1, Euripides' The Bacchae May 5-15 is translated by Frederick Raphael, It's Your Choice May 19-29 lets people perm any from three plays nightly: Gogol's Diary of a Madman adapted by Kevin Seggers, Strindberg's Miss Julie and Mark Castle's The Kitchen Floor.
BASINGSTOKE (01256 465566) Dracula February 19-March 13, John Godber and Jane Thornton's Shakers Restirred April 8-May 1, Peter Gill's Small Change May 13-29 is revived, its intrplays of relationships revived by staging in the round, Marie June 16-26 follows Marie Lloyd from Eastender to music hall star.
NEWBURY Watermill (01635 46044) More Talking Heads February 9-March 13 from Alan Bennett: A Cream Cracker Under the Settee, A Woman of No Importance and Her Big Chance, seven primary schools create Green Man March 17-20 with director Ade Morris and willow artist Julia Mitchell, youth theatre in Liz Lochhead's Dracula March 24-27, J B Priestley's Dangerous Corner March 31-May 8, Twelfth Night May 12-June 19, Ayckbourn's hit play Woman in Mind June 23-August 7, musical Irma La Douce August 11-September 25 by Margueritte Monnot, Alexandre Breffort, anglicised by Julian More, David Heneker and Monty Norman.
HORNCHURCH Queen's (01708 443333) Willy Russell's Eighties school trip Our Day Out February l9-March 13, Simon Moore's version of Stephen King's foul-playing fan story Misery March 19-April 10, Frank Norman and Lionel Bart's Fings Ain't Wot They Used To Be April 16-May 8, Bleasdale's vasectomy comedy Having A Ball May 14-June 5, Dave Ross and Gerry Sweeney's supermarket orientated community play Check It Out June 9-12.
COLCHESTER Mercury (01206 573948) Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw February 11-27, Giles Croft adapts Ealing comedy The Ladykillers March 4-27, Uncle Vanya April 8-24, Eric Emanuel Schmidt assembles a vengeful tribe of women determined, in Jeremy Sams' translation, to put Don Juan on Trial May 6-22.
Studio: prison drama Kiss of the Spider Woman May 12-22.
See Tours: Fairytaleheart, Get Up and Tie Your Fingers (April 3), The Wild Party (April 16-17), Days of Plenty (May 1), Skin into Rainbows (May 8).
IPSWICH Wolsey (01473 253725) Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests to March 6, Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie March 11-April 3, Roald Dahl's Boy April 13-May 1, Suffolk Youth Theatre pay Duerrenmatt's The Visit May 5-8.
WATFORD Palace (01923 225671) Jonathan Holloway's Darkness Falls to February 20 couples The Monkey's Paw with The Dark, about a retired academic calling ex-students to a sinister meeting, Harold Pinter directs Simon Gray's new play The Late Middle Classes March 19-April 10, co-producers Sphinx bring in Vita and Virginia April 21-May 15, Martin Millar and Doon MacKichan adapt Jane Austen's Emma May 28-June 19, in Guy Retallack's production praised on the Edinburgh Fringe, improvisation rules in the secret service farrago Passport to Danger June 25-July 10, to be developed from Peter Wear's original idea, Victoria Wood's early Talent September 3-25.
NORTHAMPTON Royal (01604 632533) Michael Napier Brown adapts Dickens' Dombey amp; Son February 6-March 6, youthful female cocktail Shakers March 12-April 3 by John Godber and Jane Thornton, Ayckbourn's time-travel love thriller Communicating Doors April 23-May 15, Lady Windermere's Fan May 21-June 19.
See Tours: Three Sisters.
LEICESTER Haymarket (0116 253 9797) Kay Mellor's mid-life crisis of A Passionate Woman February 25-March 20, Webster's Jacobean horrorshow The White Devil April 9-May 1, Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest May 7-29.
See Tours: Unleashed (February 17-20), Charlotte's Web, Vita and Virginia.
Studio: Haymarket Youth Theatre plus Trent University Design Course offer Caveworld: One and a Bit Million Years BC February 18-20, Basant Bahar - The Rites of Spring February 25-March 6, a celebration of Urdu culture with music, stories and comedy - details from box office.
See Tours: Electra (February 23-24).
NOTTINGHAM Playhouse (0115 941 9419) Beckett's dustbin drama Endgame February 24-March 10, then with Krapp's Last Tape March 11-13, youth theatres in BT National Connections festival March 29-April 1, a musical version of Aristophanes' comedy about rival tragedians Frogs April 22-May 15, Barry Heath's tale of childhood in wartime Mansfield Rats, Buckets and Bombs May 27-June 19, Italy's ace children's company Teatro Kismet with Red Riding Hood June 24-July 3 then Momo and the Time Thieves July 6-10.
DERBY Playhouse (01332 363275) John Godber's nightclub Bouncers February 12-March 6, Youth Theatre in Tim Elgood's look at long life-expectancy Coming of Age March 31-April 3, Peter Quilter's musical Boyband April 16-May 8 catapults four lads into the pop stratosphere, Arthur Miller has revised his play about a bigamist whose wives meet following a motoring accident in The Ride Down Mount Morgan May 14-29, Watching the Sand from the Sea June 11-July 3 is Martin McDougall's dark comedy set in a beach house, The Passion Play July 14-17 is a community project using Nigel Bryant's version of the medieval mysteries.
See Tours: Twelfth Night, Things Fall Apart.
South Wales amp; West Midlands
CARDIFF Sherman (01222 230451) Everything Must Go February 18-March 13, Patrick Jones' play about a lost generation with dreams, drugs and desires of revenge.
Studio: Talking Heads (Bed Among theLentils, A Lady of Letters, Her Big Chance) March 2-6. See Tours: The Tempest (ATC).
MILFORD HAVEN Torch (01646 695267) Stephen Mallatratt's adaptation of Susan Hill's The Woman in Black to February 20, Torch Youth Theatre offer A Midsummer Night's Dream April 23-24.
See Tours: Cider With Rosie, Kissing Sid James (May 4-5), Macbeth (May 7).
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON Royal Shakespeare Theatre (01789 295623) The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe C S Lewis adapted by Adrian Mitchell in repertoire to February 27, The Winter's Tale in repertoire to February 26. A Midsummer Night's Dream from March 19, Othello from April 9, Antony and Cleopatra from June 11, Timon of Athens from August 5.
Swan: Troilus and Cressida and A Month in the Country by Brian Friel after Turgenev in repertoire to February 20, then touring. Ben Jonson's Volpone from March 17, Tim Supple and Simon Reade adapt Ted Hughes' Tales from Ovid from April 8, T S Eliot's The Family Reunion from June 16.
The Other Place: Marivaux's comedy The Dispute February 24-March 20, Biyi Bandele adapts Aphra Behn's Restoration novel Oronooko from April 7, Schiller's Don Carlos from June 15.
The two Adrians - adapter Mitchell and director Noble - have done C S Lewis proud with a confident, fluid staging of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe that moves easily between wartime England and fantasy Narnia. Spectacular set pieces, fine ensemble playing and good individual performances make this a treat. In Gregory Doran's spring-clean of The Winter's Tale, the contrast of court and country is reflected in the polarities of business and human relationships. Leontes breaks off chatting with his wife and friend to sign state papers. As a result he glimpses the others at the one moment they seem to be canoodling. Later his first move to self-realisation comes as he takes off his pompous crown. The effect of his priorities is made visible in Hermione's trial, he burdened by a vast crown and isolated on a grandiose throne, she in the dock washed-out in sackcloth.
COVENTRY Belgrade (01203 553055) David Wood has adapted Roald Dahl's The Twits March 25-April 10, Belgrade Youth Theatre in Janice Dunn's new musical Boy Band April 13-17, Alex Jones comedy about gender-swapping Phil amp; Jill amp; Jill amp; Phil April 22-May 8, Twelfth Night May 13-29, Cool Water Murder June 17-July 3.
See Tours: Guards! Guards!, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Things We Do For Love, Junk, The Nerd.
BIRMINGHAM Repertory Theatre (0121 236 4455) 2 Pianos 4 Hands to February 13 tells the musical trials of creator-performers Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt and claims a mastery of keyboard practices, The Four Alice Bakers February 19-March 13 is Fay Weldon's new play on the change of lifestyles for 20th-century women, Pinter's The Birthday Party March 15-27, return of The New Rocky Horror Show April 5-10, strike-bound musical The Pajama Game April 23-May 29, Ten Days in June June 4-13 is a children's theatre season including David Greig's puppet and actor musical Danny, 306 and Me Forever about children transforming into adults, TomStoppard's philosophical hijinks Jumpers June 18-July 17.
The Door Studio: Declan Croghan takes a blackly comic look at allegiance and alliance in Paddy Irishman, Paddy Englishman and Paddy..? February 4-20, Trips February 25-March 20 is Sarah Woods' theatre-video mix view of the life to come in the years ahead, Peter Cann takes a Nightbus March 24-April 3 with a regional tour (details from box office), reasonably enough for this story of a tour bus guide, in Perpetua April 15-May 8, Fraser Grace sets a right-to-life vs right-to-choose conflict in Florida, All of that Trouble that We Had May 13-June 5 is Paul Lucas on Britishness.
NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE New Victoria (01782 717962) Terry Johnson's Dead Funny to February 13, Hylda Baker reincarnated by Jean Fergusson in She Knows You Know! February 25-March 20, Arthur Miller's study of moral responsibility Broken Glass April 1-24, Little Angel Theatre in Violet Philpot's Grimm adaptation The Elves amp; the Shoemaker April 6-9 day times for 3-8s. Introducing Shakespeare February 18, is aimed at teachers of Year 6 and over mixed-ability groups.
See Tours: Twelfth Night.
CHESTER Gateway (01244 340392) Ayckbourn's Communicating Doors to February 27, Keith Waterhouse comedy Bing Bong March 5-27. Gateway Youth Theatre offer Caroline Reader's adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus Plays April 2-3, the Cheek by Jowl founders Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod's version of Vanity Fair April 9-May 1.
See Tours: Perfect Pitch.
MOLD Clwyd Theatr Cymru (01352 755114) Anthony Hopkins Theatre Hosts of Rebecca to February 27 Manon Eames' adaptation of Alexander Cordell's historical novels, set against the 1830 Rebecca Riots (also at Cardiff New March 2-6), Twelfth Night May 13-June 5.
See Tours: Happy End.
Emlyn Williams Theatre: Of Mice and Men May 5-8.
LIVERPOOL Everyman (0151 709 4776) New Everyman Youth Theatre devise a double-bill from scripts by Heather Robson, Owen Rankin and Anthony Neild, a fairy story in the land where the burger is king Girl in the Hood (13-15s) plus cross-class larks at public school in Tally-Ho (16-18s) February 7;14, Karin Young explores attitudes to sex and sex education over three generations of women in her comedy Here I Come March 3-27, following tour of Sefton, Knowsley, St Helen's to February 27, education programme Get Set 99 March 15-16, matinees and evenings in association with Liverpool University, has eight schools examining science and technology through drama, Improbable Theatre bring Coma April 12-15 plus their improvised biography Lifegame April 16-17.
See Tours: Up Against the Wall, Take Away, The House of Bernarda Alba.
MANCHESTER Library Theatre (0161 236 7110) The Caucasian Chalk Circle to March 6, Out of Joint in Caryl Churchill's Blue Heart March 23-27, John Logan's Never the Sinner April 16-May 8, shenanigans in Shakespeare's back garden with Peter Whelan's The Herbal Bed May 20-June 19.
See Tours: Things Fall Apart, Hushabye Mountain, Take Away.
Wythenshawe Forum (0161 437 9663) Renaissance March 16-26 is Manchester's arts education festival, exploring Monteverdi, Shakespeare and dance.
See Tours: Junk.
Royal Exchange (0161 833 9833) Ibsen epic Peer Gynt February 10-March 13, Dreaming March 17-April 10, being Peter Barnes' story of an army captain's post-Wars of the Roses search for an ideal home, Tobaccoland April 14-May 8, Alex Finlayson's third Exchange play about ghostly family struggles on a North Carolina plantation of the weed, Waiting for Godot May 12-June 26, Coward's Nude with Violin June 30-August 7.
Studio: Nicola Baldwin's The Rib Cage February 17-March 13, about a fearsome quartet of northern types, Fast Food March 24-April 10, Abi Morgan taking on the power game of Nineties catering, while for 9-12s Nona Shepphard offers a diet of her Cafe Vesuvio April 21-May 8 day times, a place of food and nighttime magic, People Show no. 107 June 8-12 promises theatrical lunacy, Compagnie Gare Centrale bring Agn s Limbos' Petites Fables June 15-19 day times with music, miniature props and mechanical objects, Fittings July 7-10 is Mike Kenny's play for The Fittings Group and Graeae Theatre's mixed media show on disability.
BOLTON Octagon (01204 520661) Victoria Wood's Pat amp; Margaret to February 20 is freely adapted from TV to stage by Octagon director Lawrence Till, Ayckbourn's early How the Other Half Loves February 25-March 20, Jean Fergusson is the late comedienne Hylda Baker in her (Fergusson's) She Knows You Know March 25-April 10, Charlotte Jones offers dance, romance and fancy dressing among the severely mature in Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis April 15-May 8, The Importance of Being Earnest May 13-June 5.
Bill Naughton Theatre: Manchester's Rocket Theatre ofter love in a tough climate of drugs and street life with Jim Cartwright's I Licked A Slag's Deodorant March 9-13.
See Tours: Black on White Shorts.
OLDHAM Coliseum (0161 624 2829) In East is East to February 20 Ayub Khan-Din looks at Pakistani and English influences on an Asian family in Salford 1970, Frederick Knott's blind woman's buff thriller Wait Until Dark March 4-27, Kenneth Alan Taylor and John Morton's Seventies musical Hot Pants April 1-24, Stephen (Woman in Black) Mallatratt adapts Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca April 29-May 22, Chris Denys writes about Oldham history in Roughyeds May 27-June 19.
Studio: Lucy Gannon's play about a family with a disabled son Keeping Tom Nice February 24-March 13, then a disabled daughter and the devil in Dennis Potter's once-banned TV play Brimstone and Treacle March 24-April 19.
Yorkshire amp; North East
HULL Hull Truck (01482 323638) Kissing Sid James February 15-March 6 is Robert Farquhar's comedy about an unlikely seaside romance, BadApple in Helen Cate's play about a local flying ace Amy Johnson March 23-27, Talking Heads (A Chip in the Sugar, Bed Among the Lentils, A Lady of Letters) March 29-April 17, John Godber's new inspection of a school lying low in the league tables Thick as a Brick April 28-May 22.
See Tours: A Doll's House, Electra (June 12), Perfect Pitch.
SHEFFIELD Crucible (0114 276 9922) Fifties revival gangland macabre drama with the stage original of Jez Butterworth's Mojo February 11-March 6.
See Tours: Perfect Pitch, Things Fall Apart.
Studio: Tony Kushner's complex Aids-aware Angels in America Part One: Towards the Millennium March 22-April 10.
LEEDS West Yorkshire Playhouse (0113 213 7700) Quarry Wuthering Heights February 26-March 27 is adapted by director Malcolm Sutherland, Kes April 8-May 8, Alan Bennett's generation gap comedy Enjoy May 27-June 26.
Courtyard: The Tempest to February 27, three of Ayckbourn's multiple choice Intimate Exchanges March 5-May 15 (all three on May 8), Deadmeat May 21-June 12 is an Internet thriller by clubland fave Q, Ansell Broderick's Who's Boss June 17-July 17 a poetic thriller about a man with multiple worries.
HARROGATE (01423 502116) Blithe Spirit to February 13, a week's innovative theatre in minifest Fresh Fruit April 6-10 , sent from Coventry are Roald Dahl's The Twits April 13-17.
See Tours: Perfect Pitch, Haunting Julia, Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged!) (June 2) YORK Theatre Royal (01904 623568) Romeo and Juliet February 26-March 20, Alan Bennett's comedy about a politician Getting On April 9-24.
See Tours: Perfect Pitch, Bedtime Stories (April 1-3), Junk.
SCARBOROUGH Stephen Joseph (01723 370541) Ayckbourn's Haunting Julia to February 13; May 13-June 5.
NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE Playhouse (0191 230 5151) Romeo and Juliet to February19; April 27-May 8; 18-22, A Clockwork Orange April 13-24; May 11-15; 25-29.
Gulbenkian Studio: Northern Stage Performance Group From Angel-ic to Alnwick, via the A1 March 30-31, New Writing North April 6-10, five new plays from young writers by community groups in the region.
MUSSELBURGH Brunton (0131 665 2240) a present-day set Romeo and Juliet to February 13, Brunton Youth Theatre in Paul Goetzee's The Pilgrimage March 26.
See Tours: Electra February 8, Kevin's Bed March 4-13.
EDINBURGH Royal Lyceum (0131 248 4848) James Bridie's The Anatomist February 12-March 6 crosses Edinburgh from New Town elegance to old town murk for a tale of grave robbery and cadaver-opening, Glasgow gets a look in with An Experienced Woman Gives Advice March 12-27 lain Heggie's comedy with gusto and strong language, in Stiff! April 16-May 8 Forbes Masson looks at a modern Faust, with music.
Traverse (0131 228 1404) Family to February 27 consists of three plays by writers of different generations: Riccardo Galgani's Acts about a man's return to his parents' house, Linda McLean's One Good Beating a revenge comedy crossing the generations and lain Crichton Smith's The Visitor about a surprise upon retirement.
See Tours: Sell Out March 24-25, Making Noise Quietly, Mainstream, Learning the Paso Doble.
PERTH Theatre (01738 621013) Neil Simon shows how he was Broadway Bound February 13-27, Ken Ludwig comedy Lend Me A Tenor March 5-20, slimline drama in Vanessa Brooks' Love Me Slender April 9-24, Liz Lochhead's Britannia Rules April 28-May 8.
DUNDEE Rep Theatre (01382 223530) Brecht's Mr Puntila and his Man Matti February 10-27 in Peter Arnott's new Scottish version, Theatre Babel's King Lear April 27-May 1, Stiff! May 18-29, from Edinburgh Royal Lyceum. See Tours: Perfect Days, Kevin's Bed April 13-17, Learning the Paso Doble April 21-24.