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Fair Em - Union Theatre

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Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CLAIRE Evans in association with The Steam Industry is presenting the modern world premiere of the disputed Shakespeare comedy, Fair Em, at Southwark’s Union Theatre – from January 10 (previews from January 8) to February 9, 2013.

The beautiful, aristocratic Em, must disguise herself as a country girl to escape persecution by William the Conqueror, but keeping a low profile is very difficult if men keep falling in love with you…

Meanwhile the invader has romantic problems of his own, when a picture of a prospective lover proves just as misleading as anything on a modern dating site!

With a host of colourful characters, a riot of mistaken identity and all the joys and perils of young love, this delightful romp through high and low society, town and country, England and Denmark, culminates in a finale every-bit as pleasing and problematic as anything in the acknowledged Shakespeare canon.

A whole host of legends has grown up around Fair Em, even that Shakespeare himself played the role of William the Conqueror.

Fair Em is directed by Phil Willmott who has just completed ten years as artistic director of the award-winning Scoop Outdoor Theatre Festival, where his credits include acclaimed productions of the Oresteia, Oedipus, Medea, Brecht’s The Mother and Lorca’s Blood Wedding.

His previous Shakespeare productions include Measure for Measure (Riverside Studios), Much Ado about Nothing (Liverpool Playhouse), Titus Andronicus (BAC), A Midsummer Nights Dream (the Ritz, Dubai) and A Winter’s Tale (Courtyard Theatre).

Fair Em continues Willmott’s exploration of Shakespearean obscurities, following the modern world premiere of the disputed Shakespeare romance Double Falsehood and last year’s rarely performed King John, which was nominated for Best Director and Best Production in the Off West End

Producer Claire Evans has been Resident Producer at the Finborough Theatre where her work includes the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Me and Juliet (winner of two Off West End Awards) and Polly Penn and Laurence Klavan’s Off Broadway silent movie musical Bed and Sofa.

Fair Em is designed by Philip Lindley, with lighting by Jason Meininger, costume design by Anna Sargent and musical direction and original composition by Nick Morrell.

Tickets: All seats £18, £15 concessions – available from the box office on 020 7261 9876 (no booking fee) or online at (booking fee applies).

Times: Tuesday to Saturday evenings at 7.30pm, Sunday matinees at 3pm (not January 13), Saturday matinees at 3pm on February 2 and 9 only. No performances on Mondays.

Running Time: Approximately two and a half hours including one interval.

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