Henry VIII, Noel Coward and A Monster!

Here we are a new year and decade begins! I’m ready for even more exciting theatre to sink my teeth into throughout 2020, and I hope you are too for there are plenty of good things coming our way.

One show bound to spread some excitement across the region is Blithe Spirit, starring the legendary Jennifer Saunders. 2020 seems to very much be the year for her, as she tours with the show prior to a West End run, then moves swiftly onto Sister Act at the Eventim Apollo in London – so if you’re a fan, you’re in luck. To those who may not know, Blithe Spirit tells of Novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth, who are haunted by his past relationship when an eccentric medium (Madame Arcati – as played by Saunders) inadvertently conjures up the ghost of his first wife at a séance. When she appears, visible only to Charles, she’s determined to sabotage his current marriage and life, and it all gets a little complicated.

It’s a Noel Coward classic and can be caught at the Cambridge Arts Theatre (10- 15 Feb) and Norwich Theatre Royal (24-29 Feb) ahead of a London run. Interestingly, there’s a star-studded film adaptation coming our way soon too. However, get to the theatre as it’s bound to be an entertaining evening.

A Monster Calls is another classic doing the rounds, also stopping at Cambridge Arts Theatre (24-28 March) and Norwich Theatre Royal (21-25 April). Based on the piercing novel by Patrick Ness, the story is vividly brought to life on stage in this award-winning adaptation. Thirteen-year-old Conor and his mum have managed just fine since his dad moved away, but now his mum is sick and not getting any better. His grandmother won’t stop interfering and the kids at school won’t look him in the eye. One night, Conor is woken by something at his window – a monster has come walking, telling Conor tales from when it walked before. When it’s finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his deepest fears. A Monster Calls offers a dazzling insight into love, life and healing.

New shows continue to rise with the likes of SIX – the musical concert show telling the story of each of Henry VIII’s ex-wives – coming to the Norwich Theatre Royal (14-19 July) and also visiting Southend Cliffs Pavilion (7-12 April) too. Don’t miss your chance to join the Queens in their reign. Alongside its West End success and ahead of the exciting film scheduled for release, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is gearing up for its first UK tour which stops at Norwich Theatre Royal (1-6 June). Inspired by a true story, it tells of young Jamie New, the sixteen-year-old from Sheffield who wants to go to his school prom in a dress – but will people be able to accept him for who he is? Shows like this are great for inspiring, educating and encouraging a younger generation of theatregoers, which is crucial in keeping the buzz of theatre alive.

Even after all that, I’ve only scratched the surface of what is on our doorsteps in East Anglia. There is a brilliant Spring/ Summer season in our region. If you are able to, do get out to your local theatres and help keep theatre alive. You never know what little unexpected gems you may find. I’d love to know which shows you’re excited about or hear about any shows I may have missed, so feel free to reach out on social media and let us know!