Autumn glory at the Wolsey

IPSWICH'S New Wolsey Theatre has announced its autumn programme this week. JAMES MARSTON looks at some of the highlights.

James Marston

IPSWICH'S New Wolsey Theatre has announced its autumn programme this week.

JAMES MARSTON looks at some of the highlights.

A BRAND new musical, a classic drama, children shows, comedy and a psychological thriller - these are a few of the highlights of this year's autumn programme at the New Wolsey theatre.

As the Ipswich venue released details of the programme the phone lines buzzed with theatregoers keen to book tickets early - with many already sold for this year's rock and roll pantomime Aladdin.

Starting the autumn season will be new musical It's A Wonderful Life.

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New Wolsey chief executive Sarah Holmes said: “It will be in the style of musicals we have done here before. It has never been produced before and it will be fascinating to watch.

“We are especially interested in people's feedback. It might be the next big west end musical.”

With drama to include Moby Dick, comedy from Lip Service in the form of Desperate to be Doris and children's shows such as Giraffes Can't Dance, Sarah said she thought the programme is well balanced.

She added: “This year's pantomime is proving already extremely popular and Julian Harries will be playing the dame Widow Twanky.”

For more information about the New Wolsey's Autumn Programme and to book tickets contact the box office on 01473 295900

What do you think of the New Wolsey's Autumn Programme?Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to

Here are a few of the highlights of the autumn programme at a glance

It's a Wonderful Life

Music by Steve Brown

Book and lyrics by Steve Brown, Francis Matthews

Based on the much-loved movie starring James Stewart, It's a Wonderful Life is a brand new musical receiving its world premiere at the New Wolsey this autumn.

George Bailey grows up in the small American town of Bedford Falls, dreaming of adventure and escape, but every attempt to leave is thwarted by the responsibilities of everyday life. Nearly ruined by a ruthless businessman and brought to the brink of despair, he encounters an unlikely angel. Now he gets a chance to see how the town would have changed had he never been born.

This joyful and moving tale celebrates the value of an apparently ordinary life and the invisible influence that a decent man can have on a whole community.

With a score by Steve Brown, who also wrote the music for the hit musical Spend, Spend, Spend, this heart-warming show promises to be a major musical event and will have us all believing in angels.

Performances: Thursday September 10 to Saturday October 3 at 7.45pm

Matinees: Saturday 12, Wednesday 16, Saturday 19, Wednesday 23, Saturday 26 and Wednesday September 30 & Saturday October 3 at 2.30pm

Tickets: �8.50 to �22.50

Matinee flat rate: �8.50

Early run two for one: Thursday 10 to Monday September 14 (limited availability)

Post-show talk: Thursday September 24

Captioned Performance: Thursday October 1 at 7.45pm

Audio Described Performance: Saturday October 3 at 2.30pm

Spymonkey presents Moby Dick

Directed by Jos Houben

A glorious mis-telling of Melville's epic novel.

Four actors find themselves trapped in the belly of a literary monster. As they ponder the irony of their fate they recount a story of Moby Dick, sparkling with their own fantastical flourishes. The novel's epic examination of good, evil, fate and obsession is lost on them. And then, mysteriously found on them again.

Will Ahab's thirst for revenge be unhinged by the well-meaning but staggeringly inept attentions of his crew? Now that he has found true love, is Ishmael still fated to be the sole survivor of the Pequod? How does a mermaid figurehead make babies? What does a cannibal harpoonist from Bavaria eat? Will the cameo appearance by legendary actor Awesome Whales scupper everything? And how do you make a whale throw up?

“This is one of the funniest pieces of theatre you will ever see. If there's any justice in the world, these guys will be given their own TV series.”

Time Out on Cooped.

A Spymonkey co-production with Royal & Derngate.

Performances: Thursday 8 to Saturday October 10 15 7.45pm

Matinee: Saturday October 10 at 2.30pm

Tickets: �8.50 to �19.50

Matinee flat rate: �8.50

Post-show talk: Thursday October 8

LipService in association with The New Wolsey Theatre presents Desperate To Be Doris

By Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding

A new comedy with music featuring some of Doris Day's greatest hits. Joining LipService for this Doris sing-fest is a community choir specially recruited for the New Wolsey and Darren Southworth, fresh from the West End's Spamalot.

Dean works as a buyer for a mail order nightwear firm called The Pyjama Game. At home he is a legend in his living room and sings like Doris Day. Will Dean dare to share his Calamity Jane with an unsuspecting world? When his local operatic society Out of My Range decides to stage the hit musical, Dean is suddenly thrown into the limelight.

“Sublimely silly and screamingly funny” The Independent (about LipService)

Desperate to be Doris has not been authorised or approved in any manner by anyone called “Desperate”, or “Doris” or indeed Doris Day.

Performance: Wednesday 14 to Saturday October 17 at 7.45pm

Matinee: Saturday October 17 at 2.30pm

Tickets: �8.50 to �19.50

Matinee flat rate: �8.50

Early run two for one: Wednesday October 14 (limited availability)

Post show talk: Thursday October 15

Audio described Performance: Saturday October 17 at 2.30pm

Using a physical and visual language We Can Be Heroes reaches into the heart and mind of a man who fears his life will never change. Having been an only child and living in arrested development, he employs an older brother to teach him his sibling past thinking this will bring him into a more successful social world. They embark on a journey together which shifts from a simple contract to a story of commitment, emotional responsibility and psychological danger.

A hard-hitting, hilarious story of meteoric successes from the award-winning Company FZ.

Beware of your heroes.

Performance: Thursday October 29 at 7.45pm

Tickets: �8.50 to �13.50

English Touring Theatre and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse present Roger McGough's new adaptation of Moliere's The Hypochondriac

Director: Gemma Bodinetz

Designer: Mike Britton

Lighting: Charles Balfour

Music: Conor Linehan

Sound: Jason Barnes

Cast includes: Neil Caple, Simon Coates, Toby Dantzic, Clive Francis, Jake Harders, Chris Porter, Lucinda Raikes, Brigid Zengeni

Argan is a perfectly healthy and wealthy gentleman, convinced that he is seriously ill. So obsessed is he with medicinal tinkerings and tonics that he is blind to the goings on in his own household. However, his most efficacious cure will not appear in a bottle or a bedpan, but in his sharp-tongued servant, who has a cunning plan to reveal the truth and open her master's eyes.

Britain's favourite and Liverpool's Poet Laureate, Roger McGough, dips his magic quill by adapting Moliere's sublime comedy.

The Hypochondriac was Moliere's last play and a scathingly funny lampoon on both hypochondria and the 'quack' medical profession.

ETT returns to the New Wolsey following its triumphant Far from the Madding Crowd last year.

“Anarchic, irreverent and hysterically funny” The Observer on Roger McGough's Tartuffe.

Performances: Tuesday 3 to Saturday November 7 at 7.45pm

Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm

Tickets: �8.50 to �22.50

Matinee flat rate: �8.50

Early run two for one: Tuesday November 3 (limited availability)

Post-show talk: Thursday November 5

Captioned Performance: Friday November 6

The Watermill Theatre presents Hot Mikado

Book and Lyrics Adapted by David H Bell

Music Adapted and Arranged by Rob Bowman

Based on 'The Mikado' by WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

Originally produced at Ford's Theatre, Washington DC, USA, Frankie Hewitt, producing director

Performed by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited on behalf of the authors

Directed by Craig Revel Horwood

Picture a little town in Japan where flirting is punishable by death. Unsurprisingly its citizens are finding the law rather tiresome. They appoint Ko Ko, a lowly tailor, as Lord High Executioner, himself condemned for flirting and so not likely toe execute anyone. Throw in the beautiful Yum Yum, her ardent admirer Nanki-Poo, errant son of the Mikado, and the man-eater Katisha, and you have one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most famous comic operas in all its wonderful absurdity.

Strictly Come Dancing judge, Craig Revel Horwood and tony Award-winning orchestrator Sarah Travis' electrifying show had toes tapping, fingers clicking and enjoyed nightly standing ovations at the renowned Watermill Theatre, where it ran in 2006. The original catchy G & S score is given a contemporary feel with swing, jive and sassy songs plus a little gospel and rhythm and blues thrown in for good measure.

“To say that the production is sensational is no understatement” The Stage

Performances: Tuesday 10 to Saturday November 14 at 7.45pm

Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm

Tickets: �8.50 to �22.50

Matinee flat rate: �8.50

Early run two for one: Tuesday November 10 (limited availability)

Post-show talk: Thursday November 12

Captioned Performance: Saturday November 14 at 7.45pm

The New Wolsey Theatre presents Aladdin

The wok 'n' roll panto

By Peter Rowe and Alan Ellis

Widow Twankey is in a spin, taking in laundry from the palace and running her red hot wok 'n' roll takeaway with only the witless Wishee Washee to help. When her lazy son Aladdin falls for the Emperor's beautiful daughter, Princess Jasmine, Widow Twankey packs him off with the mysterious and mesmerising Abanazer who is in Old Shanghai searching for the magic lamp of Ya Kee Poo! With a bit of help from a musical monkey, a magical genie, and you the audience, Aladdin plans to build his own palace, claim the Princess's hand and make his mum a very swanky Twankey indeed.

Served up by a handpicked company of actor-musicians, the New Wolsey's traditional Christmas banquet includes over 20 rock and soul classics including I'm A believer, I can Help, Get Ready, Born to Be Wild, Lean on Me and Dancing in the Street all played live before your very eyes. This unique fusion of traditional pantomime and classic pop forms a mouth-watering feast for all the family - book early to avoid disappointment.

Performances: Thursday November 26 to Saturday January 30

BSL Signed Performance: Saturday January 2 at 2.30pm

Touch Tours & Audio Described Performance: Saturday January 16 at 2.30pm

Captioned Performance: Thursday January 21 at 7.30pm

Blunderbuss Theatre Company presents Giraffes Can't Dance

Based on the best-selling children's book by award-winning poet Giles Andreae and illustrator Guy Parker-Rees

Gerald the giraffe was not a good dancer. Every year he dreaded the great Jungle Dance. But, one beautiful moonlit night, Gerald discovers that when we're different, sometimes all we need is a different song to dance to.

Everyone is invited to the 'Jungle Dance', so put on your glam rags and don't forget your dancing shoes!

Recommended for ages 4+

Running time: 60 minutes

Performances at the New Wolsey Studio: Saturday September 26 at 11am and 2pm.

Tickets: �6.50

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