The Royal Shakespeare Company’s acclaimed 2014 pairing of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing (or Love’s Labour’s Won) will arrive in London this Christmas, following runs at Chichester Festival Theatre and Manchester Opera House. Most of the 22-strong original cast will return and the productions will once again be directed by Christopher Luscombe, designed by Simon Higlett with music composed by Nigel Hess.

A Post- war house party setting for Much Ado About Nothing.

A Post- war house party setting for Much Ado About Nothing.

Lisa Dillon will play Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Lisa recently starred as Moll in The Roaring Girl and as Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew, both at the RSC, and opposite Stephen Mangan as Lisa in Birthday at the Royal Court. On television, she is best known for her role as Mary Smith in Cranford. Edward Bennett reprises his roles as Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.

Edward made his name when he took over the title role in Hamlet from David Tennant at the Novello Theatre in 2008. His recent theatre credits include Photograph 51 with Nicole Kidman in the West End, and the National Theatre’s One Man, Two Guvnors on tour. Chichester Festival Theatre: September 24 to October 29, 2016. Tickets available from Manchester Opera House: November 23 to December 3, 2016. Tickets available from Theatre Royal Haymarket: December 9 to March 18, 2017. Tickets available from www.

Hound joins wildlife pack

The new Wind in the Willows musical is on its way.

The new Wind in the Willows musical is on its way.

The cast of the new musical adaptation of The Wind in the Willows has been announced, with comedian, actor and presenter Rufus Hound heading up the band of roguish animals as Mr Toad. Joining him will be Irish actor and singer Fra Fee as Mole, Downton Abbey’s Thomas Howes as Ratty, Shrek and EastEnders’regular Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel and Sophia Nomvete as Mrs Otter.

The production is based on Kenneth Grahame’s much-loved book of the same name, which has been read by generations over the past 100 years. The Wind in the Willows musical has been adapted for the stage by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. On his casting as Mr Toad, Rufus Hound said: “I – like so many of us – was weaned on The Wind in the Willows, so this is an incredibly special opportunity.

Bringing these adventures to a brand new audience is almost as exciting as a gleaming new motorcar. Roll on rehearsals! Poop poop!” The production will premier at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from October 8, and dates at The Lowry in Salford and the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton will follow, prior to opening in London’s West End. To find out more visit www. windinthewillowsthemusical. com

Pride & Prejudice airs again

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s acclaimed production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, adapted for the stage by Simon Reade, returns this year to close the 2016 Summer Season ahead of a major UK Tour in September. The play was a sell-out in 2013 and returns on the back of this success, and will become the third production by the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre to go on tour. Felicity Montagu will play Mrs Bennet. Possibly best known for playing the long-suffering PA Lynn in I’m Alan Partridge, Felicity was most recently seen playing Mrs Mainwaring in the 2016 film remake of Dad’s Army. Visit the website for more details

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