Among their stops will be the Festival of Chichester when they play Halnaker Park Cottage, Halnaker, on June 25, a chance to enjoy the Rudes’ open-air theatre in a garden setting with their new commedia dell’arte play, filled with mischief, mystery, mirth, mime, mayhem and music.
Dates also include Dial Post Village Green on June 8.
Other dates include: West Chiltington Recreation Ground on June 29; Sussex Prairie Garden, Henfield, on July 2; and Milland Recreation Ground on August 3.
All shows start at 7.30m with picnics from 6pm. Bring low-backed chairs and clothing for an English summer, warns company artistic director Pete Talbot
“We have a brand-new play entitled The Commercial Traveller. It is London, 1924, and rich and powerful tycoon and former East End barrow boy, Sir Arthur Cattermole, is not happy. His son, Gerald, whom he has spent his hard-earned brass on to go to Eton, is in love with the girl next door, the beautiful Isabelle and daughter of hard-up doctor Cornelius Truss.
“Love is a bunch of roses! Money is the thing!
“So he sends Gerald to Africa to look after his cocoa business. The young lovers, of course, are heartbroken. The days pass like falling leaves and after a year no letters have come from Gerald. Isabelle is convinced he doesn’t love her anymore, or has found someone else, so decides she will become a nun and live in Bexhill-on-Sea.
“But the widowed doctor’s housekeeper, Elsie, who has virtually mothered Isabelle, has a plan. She knows a kind, good, gentle man, a commercial traveller, who will marry Isabelle and once married Sir Arthur will have no reason to keep Gerald away. Of course, Isabelle will have none of it at first, but Elsie persuades her mistress to trust her – that this complex knot of impossibilities will be unravelled. She will eventually be happy.
“Then shockingly Elsie disappears into the London fog and is apparently found dead. Her devoted husband, Albert, Sir Arthur’s butler, is devastated. A month passes and the commercial traveller, Cecil Cornford, does indeed turn up and marries Isabelle – and then, apparently too late to marry her himself, Gerald returns from Africa incognito. His letters had been intercepted and he does still love her. Albert sets about unpicking the knot and bit by bit it is unravelled…
“Funny, romantic and moving. the play demonstrates the gritty determination to overcome an apparently-unassailable problem through absolute love.”
Pete is promising a brilliant creative team: “There is the brilliant Palli Palsson, who has been with us from the beginning and is our right arm in all things Rudes on the Road, and wonderful actress and many people’s favourite, Georgie Field.
“Returning after a few years absence is the hilarious Simon Spencer-Hyde. Then we have our discoveries from last year, the excellent Andre Refig and Miriam Swainsbury. We welcome also for his first Rudes’ tour, someone we know you will love, Andrew Cullum. Then last, but anything but the least, we have our music anchorman, Al Twist. We would also like to welcome a new stage manager all the way from Iceland, Haukur Palsson.”
Visit therudemechanicaltheatre.co.uk or call 01323 501260. Adults £16 with a range of concessions.
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