For this autumn arts season, local theatres are centre stage. Here are the highlights…
It’s all happening at the ADC Theatre this season, so buckle up! From 1 to 11 September, iconic musical Grease thunders into the venue. Follow summer lovers Danny and Sandy as they navigate the trials of high school, all to the unforgettable rock ’n’ roll soundtrack that’s defined generations. The Cambridge Festival of Drama follows on 16 to 18 September, with a celebration of amateur talent, featuring seven short plays by drama groups from Cambridge and beyond. Then, from 21 to 25 September, catch Present Laughter, the most autobiographical of Noël Coward’s plays. It considers the price of fame, as theatrical impresario Garry Essendine entertains both male and female stalkers in his studio.
At both the ADC and Corpus Playroom, there’s the Cambridge International Arts Festival LABS, which promises seven days of experimental theatre and dance. Showcasing acts from across the UK, it brings together some of the most risky and boldly brilliant theatrical events on the scene. Catch it from 26 September to 2 October. Also at Corpus Playroom, Ghost Quartet is an intoxicating song-cycle with live music and strange tales of love, revenge, and spirits – alcoholic or otherwise. It runs from 26 to 30 October.
It brings together some of the most risky and boldly brilliant theatrical events on the scene
Towards the end of the season, enjoy two Chekhov plays – The Proposal and The Bear – from 9 until 13 November. A Small Family Business follows from 16 to 20 November, in which honest protagonist Jack McCracken aims to transform his criminal family’s furniture company. The season ends on a high, as usual, with the CUADC/Footlights Pantomime, featuring a very special rendition of Rapunzel. Be sure not to miss it (between 24 November and 4 December). More information and ticket details for all ADC Theatre shows can be found on the website. adctheatre.com
Similarly, over at Cambridge Arts Theatre, there’s a slew of shows coming to take you by storm. First up, from 7 to 11 September, Absurd Person Singular (Alan Ayckbourn’s comic masterpiece) presents a perfect mix of farce and black comedy. The Hound of the Baskervilles is next up from 16 to 18 September, offering a brilliantly inventive take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most celebrated adventure.
Acclaimed drama The Dresser – which will be showing from 12 to 16 October – is an evocative, hilarious portrait of backstage life, starring Olivier Award-winner Matthew Kelly, alongside Julian Clary. Then on 17 October, two decorated UK jazz musicians – vocalist Claire Martin OBE and pianist Nikki Iles – will perform a concert of songs recorded by legendary singer Tony Bennett with Bill Evans.
As the season draws to a close, Mischief Theatre’s Groan Ups finally takes to the stage from 18 to 23 October, after multiple pandemic postponements. Then, from 27 to 30 October, catch a production of David Walliams’ smash-hit story Gangsta Granny, full to the brim with fun for all the family. The autumn season at Cambridge Arts Theatre closes with Private Lives, another of Noël Coward’s stylish plays, starring the fabulous Patricia Hodge – along with the man himself, Nigel Havers. It’ll be running from 22 until 27 November. Find details for the full calendar of shows at Cambridge Arts Theatre over on the website. cambridgeartstheatre.com
As usual, there are plenty of highlights from the Junction
As usual, there are plenty of highlights from the Junction, too, but keep your eyes peeled for these shows in particular. Kicking everything off on 1 September is Ed Byrne, with his brand-new masterclass in observational comedy, If I’m Honest. And on 11 September, fellow comedy legend Tom Stade is back on the road with You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet – his irrepressible sense of mischief leading the way as always.
There’s a smattering of concerts to catch next, including The Primitives, whose brilliantly independent sound fills the venue on 19 September as part of their Crash! Bang! Wallop! tour. The Psychedelic Furs follow on 5 October, offering a night of refuge for late-1970s post-punk fans. Then, on 12 October, Scouting For Girls are on the scene for what is sure to be a sell-out show. Or, for anyone missing their daily dose of Love Island, voice of the show Iain Stirling is in the mix on 8 October, promising more hilarity following his 2018 smash-hit tour U OK HUN? X.
November is set to be similarly packed with nights to remember. This is the Kit finally get their time to shine, with a rescheduled show – performing their new album Off Off On – on 9 November. Next up, Snapped Ankles remind us of their outsider status on 11 November, with an infectious show of boundary-blending, art-rock prowess. And why not finish off the season with a night of Shame? The band are at the venue on 23 November. Find all details and ticket information on the Cambridge Junction website. junction.co.uk