Ventriloquism to drama in new season

Opening with a triumphant West End musical, the summer season at Worthing Theatres promises a sunshine-infused mix of productions ranging from celebrity ventriloquism to psychological drama.

Worthing Theatres spokeswoman Gemma Nethersole said: “Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers (May 30-June 4) combines a pulse-quickening storyline with memorable music, a theme running throughout the new season in which music and drama-lovers can look forward to plenty of variety.”

Original artists this summer include soul icon PP Arnold (June 23), global legend Tony Christie (July 2), The Grimethorpe Colliery Band (July 9) and 60s legends including The Searchers (August 5), The Tremeloes (October 8) and The Hollies (October 13).

The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain (September 2) make a return after selling out their previous two concerts in Worthing, as does The Glenn Miller Orchestra (August 21). There are also two celebrations of the music of Benny Goodman with Pete Long’s All-Star Goodmen Orchestra (July 15) and BBC Big Band (October 28) plus Dennis Locorriere (June 17), Marty Wilde and the Wildcats (October 15) and Joe Longthorne (November 2).

Drama this season begins with the poignant comedy Five Blue Haired Ladies Sitting On A Green Park Bench (June 27-July 2) starring Anne Charleston, Lorraine Chase, Shirley Anne Field and Anita Harris.

It is followed by Ray Cooney’s farce Not Now Darling (August 30-September 3) which stars Are you Smarter Than Your Ten Year Old?’s Damian Williams.

Dr Who’s Colin Baker, Emmerdale’s Peter Amory and Duty Free’s Neil Stacy star in the new adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ novel The Woman In White (September 13-17).

Meanwhile late summer will be filled with psychological intensity with a new adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s horror story The Pit And The Pendulum (September 20-24), Peter Shaffer’s disturbing classic Equus (September 29-October 1) and Joan Littlewood’s Oh What A Lovely War (October 11-15).

Lightening the mood are comedians throughout the season. Cheeky Cornishman Jethro (June 24). Also coming up are Ken Dodd (August 6) and Joe Pasquale (August 7). Ventriloquist Paul Zerdin (August 19) brings his friends Sam, Albert and Baby to Worthing while ever-outrageous Jim Davidson (August 26) and Freddie Starr (October 20) prepare to shock and entertain with their crude, comic stand-up. Concluding the comedy will be award-winning Edinburgh Fringe, television and film star Omid Djalili (October 27).

For the children, there are Mr Benn (August 17-18), High School Mania (August 25) featuring songs from High School Musical, Camp Rock and Glee, Rudyard Kipling’s classic The Jungle Book (August 25-27) and The Mr Men and Little Miss Party (August 30)

The season will also feature a new season of concerts by Worthing Symphony Orchestra (September 18 onwards), plus tribute artists including Amir Sharma in Jackson Live (June 25) and Lee Memphis King in One Night of Elvis (July 8). Paul Daniels (October 14) will be performing magic with Debbie McGee.