I always try to somehow top seeing even more theatre than I did the year before, and 2019 has possibly been one of my biggest years for theatre yet. I have lost count of how many shows I’ve seen, from plays to cabarets to West End and touring/ regional musicals, I’ve loved the variety of brilliant theatre I’ve been fortunate enough to see. But alas, we’ll be in a new year of exciting theatre before we know it so I thought I’d highlight some to watch out for in 2020 across Suffolk.
Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre is always one of my most anticipated season reveals because I admire their passion for supporting diversity, new writing and the unique. We’re fortunate to be getting Once twice! The tale of the busker and the dreamer that captured hearts in the 2019 Spring Season has managed to be getting a 2020 tour with this production, including a quick stint here from 24-29th February. If you missed it last time, don’t let it slip away this time. If you saw it and fell in love, then see it again. I sure will be!
For 2020 at the New Wolsey there seems to be a theme of classics – though perhaps with a little reinvention. Ramps On The Moon are presenting a bold, brutal and beautiful new version of Oliver Twist (25 Mar – 4 Apr) in a play adaptation of the Dickens’ classic by Bryony Lavery. Battles, murder, ghosts, and desire are strong themes in the beloved Shakespeare play Macbeth (17-21 Mar) and this Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch partnership with the National Theatre directed by Douglas Rintoul is sure to bring a great night of thrills. Micheal Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful (21-25 Apr) receives its professional premiere in this new ensemble-version adapted by Simon Reade. It tells the story of a young country lad (Private “Tommo” Peaceful) fighting a war he doesn’t understand for people he cannot respect. Not yet a classic, but equally exciting, Burke & Hare (13-30th May) sounds most intriguing. Originally created by Jenny Wren Productions and first produced by The Watermill Theatre, this is a new version by Tom Wentworth – and the poster simply reads ‘A Murderous Musical Romp’. I don’t know about you, but I’m sold.
Ipswich Regent has had a great mix of theatre in 2019, and amidst their program of music, comedy, dance and opera, they are still set to showcase a few theatre shows in 2020. The glitz and glam of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (23-28 Mar) is bound to be a great (and camp!) night out.
We Will Rock You (29 Jun-4 Jul) sold out so quickly this year, that they’ve decided to come back! For one night only, the US-hit show Friends – The Musical Parody (16 Apr) stops by, and if you’re a fan of the beloved series it’s bound to be an interesting nights entertainment.
The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is another to always have a great mix of shows – and straight after Panto they get the return of one of my favourite shows, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (24-25 Jan). If you love theatre, I strongly urge you to check out these guys as their work is both genius and hilarious. Oliver Twist (9-11 Apr) sees another regional and reimagined outing with the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds Young Company production. Three married couples, three kitchens, three Christmas parties; London Classic Theatre’s take on Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular (28 Apr-2 May) is bound to bring in a few laughs. Other highlights include community productions of Chicago (31 Mar-4 Apr, Irving Stage) and Annie (12-16 May, BSEAODS) to name a few.
It’s impossible to cover it all, but I think that’s plenty for you to be chomping on for now. I hope you all have a fabulous festive season, and if you return in January, I’ll be covering season highlights across our other regions.