ARTHUR Miller follows Anton Chekhov who follows a clutch of Carry On stars in the wonderfully eclectic autumn/winter season at the People’s Theatre.
The accomplished amateurs like to set themselves a challenge and they have certainly done that with Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick, which opens the new season at the theatre beside the Coast Road, in Heaton, Newcastle.
Terry Johnson’s hit play takes us behind the scenes of the Carry On phenomenon, calling upon actors to bring to life Barbara Windsor, Kenneth Williams, Sid James and the rest.
Ms Windsor, of course, is still with us and the word inimitable springs to mind.
Someone’s going to have to imitate her, though, and it’ll be interesting to see how she does.
Fortunately the script is so full of great one-liners that it will probably carry the cast through to a final ovation.
The Olivier Award-winning comedy opens the season from September 22-26.
Then come The Cherry Orchard (October 13-17), in a translation by Michael Frayn, and Arthur Miller’s All My Sons (November 10-14) – a double dose of classic drama over two months.
If you missed David Hare’s exposé of shortcomings on our railways when it was performed professionally at Live Theatre a few years ago, there’s a chance to see the People’s tackle it in The Studio Upstairs .
Hare collated first hand accounts of all sorts of people involved in a series of train crashes and gave them to actors to read out.
It is a simple but powerful piece of work, showing how people’s lives can be changed forever by seemingly innocuous things – and also showing how a big bureaucratic machine can steamroller human emotions.
It’s a kind of stage docu-drama and well worth seeing from November 24-28. The panto (December 12-20) is Sleeping Beauty by Philip Meeks.
Then the new year brings an Agatha Christie whodunit, Black Coffee, with the great Inspector Poirot on the case of the mysterious murder of a top scientist, Sir Claud Amory. That’s on from January 19-23.
Last but not least is Bryony Lavery’s play Frozen, a bleak psychological drama about the disappearance of a 10-year-old girl.
The play, to be performed in The Studio Upstairs, was premiered in 1998 and was nominated for a Tony Award in the Best Play category.
Visit www.peoplestheatre.co.uk Box office: (0191) 265-5020.