Christmas may be over and the winter nights getting colder but temperatures are about to soar and pulses quicken at a Chester Theatre as the curtain rises on a passionate tale of love, lies and lust.
Chester Little Theatre in Gloucester Street, Newtown is the venue for Chester Theatre Club’s staging of “Passion Play” by Peter Nichols who is perhaps best known for the 1977 play “Privates on Parade” which was was turned into a hugely successful film in 1982.
With its themes of love and obsession, “Passion Play” deals with the subject of marital infidelity in a unique way. The story of middle aged couple Eleanor and James – happily married for twenty-five years and their much younger friend, Kate, a sexual predator who has designs on James, the play cleverly reveals what Eleanor and James are feeling and thinking through their alter egos – Nell and Jim, alternative versions of James and Eleanor, who voice the private thoughts, desires and deceptions of the two main characters. With it’s overtly sexual themes, Passion Play is an adult play in every sense as Nichols tears away the lies and deceits of an apparently contented marriage and the characters reveal their true colours.
Playing the young femme fatale Kate is Laura Monkhouse who most recently appeared in “Breaking The Code” at Chester Little Theatre whilst James, the object of her desires is played by local Actor Mike Deakin who has appeared in numerous plays and musical theatre roles over many years for local companies including Tip Top Productions and Chester Operatic Society. Mike most recently appeared with Chester Operatic at St Mary’s Centre as Gomez Addams in the Addams Family Musical.
Playing opposite Mike is Chester Theatre Club stalwart Fiona Wheatcroft. Fiona most recently appeared at Chester Little Theatre alongside Passion Play’s Director Mark Newman in “The Real Thing” by Tom Stoppard. In 2014, Fiona created the role of Helen in “Useless Beauty”, Mark Newman’s debut as a playwright which premiered at The Forum Studio Theatre in Chester for Tip Top Productions.
Playing their alter egos, Jim and Nell are newcomer Ryan Rothwel and Sally Dillon. Ryan who is making his first appearance with Chester Theatre Club performed extensively whilst at University including as Lord Henry Wotton in Will Self’s adaptation of “Dorian Gray” in 2012 which he reprised at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Wrexham based actress Sally Dillon who has appeared in numerous production with companies including Grove Park Theatre in Wrexham and Tip Top Productions. Most recently Sally played charlady Mrs Swabb to great acclaim in the hilarious “Habeas Corpus” by Alan Bennett at Chester Little Theatre.
Playing the role of Agnes, a very bitter and recently widdowed friend of Eleanor and James is popular local actress Marian Newman who most recently appeared alongside Sally Dillon in Habeas Corpus. Marian’s other roles include “Shirley Valentine” in Willy Russell’s acclaimed play of the same name at The Forum Studio Theatre and as Susan in “A Bed Among The Lentils” part of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads at Chester Little Theatre. Marian also directed “The Sociable Plover” a two hander featuring Mark Newman in productions at The Forum Studio Theatre in Chester and Chester Little Theatre.
“Passion Play” (recommended for age 15 and over) is being staged at Chester Little Theatre from Saturday 16 January until Saturday 23 January, with performances commencing at 7.30 pm. Tickets are £9.00 and £7.50 concessions on the first Saturday, Monday and Tuesday evenings. For full details of the play and all upcoming events at Chester Little Theatre go towww.chestertheatreclub.co.uk and click on How to Book, or telephone TicketSource 0333 666 3366. Booking charges apply.
submitted by Paul Crofts
Photo 8547.jpg shows: The cast and crew of “Passion Play” at Chester Little Theatre. From l-r Back row (standing) Paul Crofts, Jess Toyne, Haluk Saglam, Marian Newman(Agnes), Sally Dillon (Nell) Ryan Rothwell(Jim) and seated, Mike Deakin(James), Laura Monkhouse(Kate) and Fiona Wheatcroft (Eleanor).
Photo 8285.jpg shows:Kate (Laura Monkhouse) seduces James(Mike Deakin) whilst his alter ego Jim (Ryan Rothwell) looks on in a scene from “Passion Play” at Chester Little Theatre.
Photo 8460.jpg shows: Seductive:Kate (Laura Monkhouse) exploits tensions between James(Mike Deakin) and Eleanor (Fiona Wheatcroft) as their alter egos JIm(Ryan Rothwell) and Nell (Sally Dillon) look on in a scene from Passion Play at Chester Little Theatre.
Photo Credits: Steve Cain at EventphotographySC.
3 Attached Images