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SEDOS Summer Festival - Bridewell Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Summer Festival is a three-week season, running from July 10 to July 27, 2013, at Bridewell Theatre, where Sedos is the resident theatre company.

The Festival opens with Enron, Lucy Prebble’s acclaimed play about one of the most infamous scandals in financial history. It runs from July 10 to July 14.

Director Matt Hudson said of the play:

“For me, the beauty is in how wonderfully Lucy Prebble writes, using various techniques to tell the story. Both physically and linguistically, I think she struck a brilliant balance. She brings everything from raptors to ferocious banter to the show, and particularly noteworthy is the irreverence she uses to hold a mirror up to this moment in our shared recent history.”

As for what it will be like to see Enron, Hudson adds:

“It’s going to be loud and rambunctious, emotional and a bit bizarre in places. Jeff Skilling’s journey to the top and dramatic fall is full of twists and turns. Although the story is a lot about numbers and accounting, at heart the play is a human tragedy and there are real moments of sadness among the brashness.”

The cast includes Chris Warren (as Jeff Skilling), Chris de Pury (Ken Lay), Alyse Webster (Claudia Roe), Alex Magliaro (Andy Fastow), Mark Collins, Layla Estasy, Nick Fyson, Blake Klein, Karen Lister, Judie Matthews, Emily Porritt, Benjamin Press, Oliver Shermer, Andy Smith and Jennifer Yorke.

Tickets: £13.50, £11 concessions.

Summer Festival Opening Night (Wednesday, July 10): Tickets – £16, £13.50 concessions (includes a free glass of fizz and programme).

Charity night (Thursday, July 11): 50% of proceeds donated to Angel Shed, the Sedos Charity of the Year.

The second production is Neil LaBute’s Autobahn, a provocative collection of one-act plays set within the confines of a car’s front seat. It runs from July 16 to July 20.

As director Jacqui Adams explains:

Autobahn is a collection of plays that, in true LaBute style, deal with some hard-hitting subject matter with characteristically dark humour, presenting characters that audience members can simultaneously empathise with and be repulsed by. This is a production that revels in its ambiguity, with the lines blurred between good and bad, hero and villain, aggressor and victim.

“Each of the seven plays contains only two characters, and in four of them only one person speaks – this was evidently an attractive challenge for the City’s acting community, with not only the opportunity to take on an entire monologue, but also the chance to enhance the subtext, or even drive the whole piece, without saying a word.”

The plays and cast members are:

Road Trip with Elizabeth Kingsman (Girl) and Leon Chambers (Man).

Bench Seat with Skyla Loureda (Girl) and Sam Smullen (Guy).

Funny with Katerina Georgiou (Younger Woman) and Gerry Skeens (Older Woman).

All Apologies with Rob Page (Man) and Valentina Petito (Woman).

Long Division with Andy Marchant (Man) and Paul Gibbins (Other Man).

Merge with Elizabeth Daly (Woman – passenger) and Sarah Beebe (Other Woman – driver).

Autobahn with Maria Waters (Woman) and Eddie Register (Man).

Jacqui Adams directs.

The Festival ends with the McNally, Flaherty and Ahrens’ musical A Man of No Importance, which explores friendship, theatre and forbidden love in 1960s Dublin. It runs from July 23 to July 27.

A Man of No Importance is set in Dublin in 1964, where bus conductor and Oscar Wilde fan Alfie has ambitions to stage Salome, despite the objections at St Imelda’s, where his amateur theatre group is based. When a newcomer to town, Adele, joins his passengers, he realises he has the right person for the title role and assembles his cast.

Meanwhile Alfie’s sister Lily mistakes his interest in Adele as romantic – she longs to have him off her hands so she can marry. Little does Lily realise that Alfie’s love “dare not speak its name” and the object of his affections is bus driver Robbie.

As opening night draws near, secrets spill out, threatening to shake this community to its core. However, camaraderie and the redeeming power of theatre offer a thread of hope in this story of friendship, forbidden love and finding our place in the world.

Director Matt Gould says:

“This is a superbly crafted piece by a wonderful playwright [Terrence McNally] and my favourite composing team [Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens], who wrote Ragtime, Seussical and My Favourite Year.

“I was looking for a chamber musical that would fit neatly into a one-week slot, and although the show is not well known, it deserves a wider audience. It deals with two of my favourite themes – an outsider seeking acceptance and putting on a show!”

The cast includes James Franey (as Alfie Byrne), Chloë Faine (Lily), Rick Woska, Sarah Shepherd (Adele Rice), Paul Francis, Paul Cozens, Stephen Beeny, Susan Booth, Maggie Robson, Lucy Allenby, Charlotte Price, Pete Bryans, Edward Mann, David Leigh Delport, Andrew Macpherson and Luke Renwick.

For more information or to book, visit sedos.co.uk/.