QuartermainestermsQuartermaine's Terms

by Simon Gray

22 September – 1 October 2016

The hero of this touching story is St John Quartermaine, a teacher at an English-language school in Cambridge in the early 1960s. Long past his prime, Quartermaine is the oldest of the teaching staff. While he oozes a kind of desperate hail-fellow-well-met bonhomie, around him swirl the rest of the faculty, confessing to him their triumphs, tragedies, lost-and-found loves and other personal concerns. To all of them, Quartermaine responds with sympathy, understanding, tact and oldworld charm. But few recognise that the school common room is his home and that they are his family.

TheAnniversaryThe Anniversary

by Bill Macilwraith

27 October – 5 November 2016

When this play first appeared, the eminent critic Harold Hobson wrote that it was ‘conceived in cruelty... and is very, very funny.’ Since the death of her husband, Mum has run the family business with an iron fist. Nobody, not even her three sons, dares to cross her. So, when she throws the annual bonfire party to celebrate her wedding anniversary, her sons prepare for an evening of fireworks, especially when two of them have to tell their mother news she will not like. But by the end of the evening the boys – urged on by their partners – rebel and free themselves from Mum’s dominating personality.

LadiesinLavenderLadies In Lavender

by Shaun McKenna

1 – 10 December 2016

It is 1936. The Widdington sisters, Janet and Ursula, have lived in their Cornish seaside cottage all their lives – spinsters who enjoy music, listening to the radio and knitting. And then, into their serene and undemanding lives comes a stranger in the form of an unknown young man washed ashore from a shipwreck. The ladies revive him, take him into their home, nurse him and eventually restore him to good health. In time, they discover that the young man is Polish and is a virtuoso violinist. It becomes clear that his future lies in the concert halls of the world. But when he leaves to fulfil his destiny, he leaves behind at least one broken heart.

TheActressThe Actress

by Peter Quilter

19 – 28 January 2017

The dressing room of a theatrical star is as full of conflicting emotions as there are on stage. And so it proves, in this delightful and light-hearted play, as the famous Lydia Martin sweeps in for the final performance of her long and glittering career. Around her are her dresser, her agent, her daughter, her ex husband, her new fiancé and the company manager, bringing with them a flurry of goodbyes, tears, insults, laughs, recriminations, kisses and regrets. On stage she takes her final bow to storms of applause before returning to the dressing room to make a final decision on her future.

HampHamp

by John Wilson

23 February – 4 March 2017

Amid the unfathomable horror of war on the Western Front in 1917, Private Arthur Hamp took a simple decision. He walked away from it. He deserted. He was caught and brought before a court martial where, if found guilty, he would be sent to face a firing squad. Asked why he deserted, Hamp replies ‘I knew for sure I couldn’t stand no more.’ Faced with the facts and this simple, uneducated, intellectually innocent man, the officers of the court knew that military law demanded the death sentence, mainly to deter other soldiers from walking away. It was quite unthinkable to execute one of their own. And were it to happen they knew they would be taking part in an act of ritual murder.

LetticeandLovageLettice & Lovage

by Peter Shaffer

30 March – 8 April 2017

Lettice Duffait is working as a guide in a run-down stately home. But while leading groups of visitors though the house, she departs from the script and treats them to flights of her lively imagination, describing colourful historical events which never really happened. The tourists love it but her superiors are less than amused when they catch her in the act and she is dismissed by her officious supervisor, Lottie Schoen. Lettice retreats to her basement flat and is surprised when, one day, she is visited by Lottie, who reveals her sympathy with Lettice’s approach to the past. Their flowering friendship nearly ends in disaster when they try to re-enact the death of Charles I but they survive and press on with their crusade to enliven history with a touch of romantic fantasy. Maggie Smith made the part of Lettice her own during a long West End run in this delightful comedy.

CommunicatingDoorsCommunicating Doors

by Alan Ayckbourn

11 – 20 May 2017

A businessman staying in a London hotel hires a call girl to perform certain tasks for him. Got the picture? Except you won’t because this is one of Ayckbourn’s most ingenious comedies and it turns out that all the man wants is the girl to sign as witness to his statement incriminating his partner in the murder of his wives. That is only the start of the surprises for when the girl opens a door in the room, she finds herself in the same room – but twenty years earlier. What’s more, the room is now occupied by one of the allegedly murdered wives who is intent on re-writing the future. Confused? You won’t be, for this is a wonderfully inventive journey through time via Alan Ayckbourn’s imagination. 

Nell Gwynn newNell Gwynn

by Jessica Swale

15 – 24 June 2017

This wonderfully entertaining comedy is a romp through the familiar story of Nell Gwynn, the orange seller who became an actress and then the long-time mistress of King Charles II. Nell Gwynn is the leading character – a bawdy, witty, charming, sexy creature who gives as good as she takes from anyone and everyone. Surrounding her are a long list of actors, writers, tarts, theatre managers, stage hands, society ladies and gentlemen – and, of course, the king himself. Altogether, a glorious picture of late 17th century London life – both low and high – plus a bit of music and dance. Altogether, a delight which we shall be taking to MInack in July 2017.