Ten things to see in West Sussex, Friday to Thursday, February 8-14

Wondering what do over the next seven days? Here are ten of the best events.

Tom Gates. Picture by Mark Douet
Tom Gates. Picture by Mark Douet

1. Trial By Laughter.

Until Saturday, February 9. Tickets from £10, Chichester Festival Theatre, www.cft.org.uk. Following the sold-out run of The Wipers Times at Chichester Festival Theatre last year, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman present their new play about William Hone, ‘the forgotten hero of free speech’. In 1817 this satirist stood trial for ‘impious blasphemy and seditious libel’. But, with political cartoonist George Cruikshank, Hone bravely fought for freedom in a truly remarkable legal case.

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2. Sourpuss.

Saturday, February 9, 11am, £7, family of four £26, The Hawth studio, Crawley, 01293 553636, www.hawth.co.uk. This children’s show is suitable for ages 3+ and there will be a free puppet-making workshop at 11.45am. A spokesperson said: “Sourpuss is a very grumpy, ginger cat. Shut out of the house he feels lost and confused, but the garden soon intrigues him. Watch his journey of discovery, learning the secrets of the great outdoors.”

3. The Noise Next Door at Sea.

Saturday, February 9, £8.50, 2pm, Worthing Connaught Studio, 01903 206 206, worthingtheatres.co.uk. The Noise Next Door is the UK’s premier improv comedy troupe and this is a show that’s suitable for the whole family. A spokesperson said: “Join our crazy crew for an adventure on the high seas as we need your help to chase down the fearsome Captain Bloodbeard.” The Noise Next Door’s REMIX show, which is only suitable for ages 16-plus, will take place at 7.30pm and costs £13.50.

4. Rain Man.

Monday to Saturday, February 11-16, 7.30pm (plus 2.30pm matinees Wednesday and Saturday), The Hawth Theatre, Crawley, 01293 553636, www.hawth.co.uk. This play is based on the Oscar-winning film that starred Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. When self-centred salesman Charlie Babbitt discovers that his long-lost brother Raymond, an autistic savant with a genius for numbers, has inherited the family fortune, he sets out to get ‘his half’.Charlie ‘borrows’ Raymond from the institution where he has spent most of his life and the two brothers embark on a trip across America. “Unfortunately, due to illness, Paul Nicholls is unable to perform in Rain Man,” said a Hawth spokesperson. “The role of Raymond Babbitt will be played by Adam Lilley.”

5. Rough Crossing.

Monday to Saturday, February 11-16, tickets from £10, Chichester Festival Theatre, www.cft.org.uk. Olivier-nominated director Rachel Kavanaugh (Half A Sixpence, The Winslow Boy) returns to Chichester to direct Tom Stoppard’s high-seas comedy. A spokesperson said:

“Two famous but desperate playwrights are stuck on an ocean liner headed for New York, feverishly trying to rehearse their latest show before reaching land, and opening night. But they are constantly distracted by their delicate composer’s attempts to end it all, having overheard his lover confess her feelings to the leading man. Add an absurdly unorthodox waiter, a mistimed lifeboat drill and a vanishing glass of brandy, and soon the sharp Atlantic winds turn to world-class gales of laughter as these colourful characters become tangled up in a typically Stoppardian string of absurd events.” The show stars John Partridge, Charlie Stemp, Issy van Randwyck, Matthew Cottle, Rob Ostlere and Simon Dutton. Songs and music by André Previn.

6. An Evening of Mediumship with Psychic Tony Stockwell.

February 12, 7.45pm, The Hawth Theatre, Crawley, 01293 553636. Compelling, detailed and humorous, Tony is the star of TV’s Street Psychic, Psychic Private Eyes and Psychic Academy. A spokesperson said: “He has a long established reputation as one of the top Intuitive Mediums delivering detailed messages with emotion, sensitivity and empathy. The evening may include psychometry, photographs readings and psychic prediction.”

7. Horsham Music Circle.

The society’s first lunchtime organ recital in the Year of Culture will be on February 12 (1pm), in the Unitarian Church, Worthing Road, given by Gerald Taylor. A spokesperson said: “In keeping with the Year of Culture’s local theme the concert showcases works by five composers with close Horsham associations. The programme starts with music by John Ireland, who retired to Sussex in 1953 when he bought Rock Mill. He died there and is buried in Shipley churchyard. Richard Hall, was a prolific composer, professor of composition and a former Minister at the Unitarian Church in Horsham.” The next composers all had connections with Christ’s Hospital: Christopher Tambling studied organ with Malcolm McKelvey who was director of Music at the school, as was C S Lang before him, whose Tuba Tune will end the recital. All are welcome. Entry is free and there will be a retiring collection. Call 01403 252602 or visit www.horsham-music-circle.org.uk.

8. Mandy Muden.

February 13, 7.30pm, £18.50, Chequer Mead, East Grinstead, 01342 324860. Acclaimed magician and Britain’s Got Talent favourite Mandy Muden offers amazing illusions, ingenious mind-reading and quick-fire comedy in her new live show. In 2007 she was the recipient of the Magic Circle Carlton Award for Comedy in Magic.

9. Barry Steele and Friends – The Roy Orbison Story.

February 14, 7.30pm, £22-£27, Theatre Royal Brighton, 0844 871 7650. Spokeswoman Laura Poncia said: “Barry Steele comes with great credentials and a genuine admiration for Roy Orbison. Following his West End debut at The Adelphi Theatre, Barry is set to put the rock back into Roy Orbison as he takes to the stage to commemorate this legend.”

10. Tom Gates.

Thursday to Sunday, February 14-17, £19.50-£21-50, The Capitol Theatre, Horsham, 01403 750220. This is a Horsham District Year of Culture Event. A spokesperson said: “Based on the best-selling books by Liz Pichon, this brand new story of Tom Gates is brought to life by the award-winning team behind Horrible Histories and Gangsta Granny and for the first time ever it’s live on stage!” This amazing world premiere will be touring the UK throughout the year.

Two stand-ups confirmed for Barnstormers’ fabulous February gig at The Capitol. Click here to find out more.