Big names are heading to the Theatre Royal

Tom Conti who appears in Murder on Air
Tom Conti who appears in Murder on Air

Maureen Lipman, Felicity Kendal, Nigel Havers, Tony Robinson and Tom Conti are among the big names for autumn 2014 at the Theatre Royal Brighton.

Spokeswoman Rachel Knowles said: “The season offers a packed programme of quality drama, with some of the greatest names in theatre confirmed to appear on stage at the much loved 207-year-old venue.

“The rich variety of work to be performed next season from September to January ranges from Shakespeare to Oscar Wilde, Noël Coward, Agatha Christie and Molière, along with plays by acclaimed contemporary writers and adaptations of much loved films.

“The season opens with Agatha Christie’s Murder On Air, three gripping thrillers featuring the much-loved Hercule Poirot and starring Tom Conti and Jenny Seagrove. Equally compelling, The Small Hand, by Susan Hill, creator of The Woman in Black, the most terrifying play ever staged, visits for a week long run.

“Suspense and mystery are also at the heart of the critically acclaimed Daytona, a contemporary drama starring the hugely talented Maureen Lipman. Coming to Brighton direct from the West End, Daytona is the hauntingly-beautiful story of a long-married couple who receive an unexpected visit from the husband’s long lost brother, who has an extraordinary tale to tell.”

Reunited siblings, this time shipwrecked twins, are central to the plot of Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s comedy of mischief, madness and infatuation, brought to Theatre Royal Brighton by English Touring Theatre, whose recent productions included Eternal Love and Ghosts.

In Noël Coward’s comedy of bad manners, Hay Fever, starring Felicity Kendal and Simon Shepherd, the audience encounters the unconventional, risqué and often downright rude Bliss family during one outrageous weekend at their rural Berkshire retreat.

“Another comic masterpiece forms one of the season’s highlights,” Rachel said.

“Currently playing to packed houses in the West End, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance Of Being Earnest features Rosalind Ayres, Niall Buggy, Patrick Godfrey, Nigel Havers, Martin Jarvis, Christine Kavanagh, Cherie Lunghi and Sian Phillips.

“The riotous French farce The Hypochondriac by Molière stars Tony Robinson, one of the UK’s best loved actors. The play has been adapted by Richard Bean, the adaptor of One Man, Two Guvnors.

“We are proud to be staging Our Country’s Good, the powerful true story of a group of convicts who put on a play under the guidance of a young marine officer. The play is directed by Max Stafford-Clark, who directed the original play 25 years ago, when Our Country’s Good won a series of major awards on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The perfect pre-Christmas treat, a dazzling new production of Miracle On 34th Street The Musical will play for a limited run in December. The Full Monty, another transfer direct from London, will visit for a week in December.

“The season concludes with the hilarious National Theatre production of One Man, Two Guvnors, which runs from December 16-January 4. The National Theatre’s smash hit, which is set in 1960s Brighton, is a glorious celebration of British comedy – a unique, laugh-out-loud mix of satire, songs, slapstick and glittering one-liners.

“Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe. But Roscoe is really Rachel, posing as her own dead brother – who’s been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers. Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a job with one Stanley Stubbers – but to prevent discovery, he must keep his two guvnors apart.”

Tickets 0844 871 7650 or www.atgtickets.com/brighton.