A ‘MADCAP’ play based on the ill-fated wives of Henry VIII is first on the bill at the newly reopened Rugby Theatre – almost two years after the first dress rehearsal.
Six Dead Queens and an Inflatable Henry opens next week, blending history, satire and cabaret in an outrageous tale of three Catherines, two Annes and one Jane.
The theatre closed due to the pandemic just hours before the play’s opening night in March 2020.
Director David Allen said he was ‘excited and thrilled’ at the prospect of re-opening the theatre.
He said: “The show had reached its final dress rehearsal as we had to close our doors, and it was a mixture of disappointment and upset as the hard work seemingly had gone for nothing.
“But the time has given me an opportunity to make the piece slicker, with more up-to-date references, and the cast – two of whom are new – have come back full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm.
“The show is funny, dramatic, moving and in some cases completely bonkers!”
Played by local actors, the six queens are trapped together in eternity and forced to share one husband, and one bed, upon which they sing, dance and fight to assert themselves as the true queen. As each accepts the challenge of being her true self, enemies are transformed into comrades, and the women band together to raise a raucous royal coup against their flaccid inflatable spouse.
David added: “Insanity is present throughout – but not without tinges of pathos and grief.
“All the historical references are accurate, although some of the up-to-date quips we may have taken a few liberties with. And yes – Henry will make an appearance.”
The Henry Street venue, which turns 78 this year, has undergone a major refurbishment during its two years away, with a new-look bar, improved facilities and a more inclusive social space.
The theatre has announced its line-up of live performances and films for the year ahead.
Six Dead Queens and an Inflatable Henry will be followed by the moving wartime story of a young evacuee in Goodnight Mister Tom (April 8-16), while film screenings begin with the 2021 version of the classic musical West Side Story (March 18-19).
Six Dead Queens and an Inflatable Henry – which contains adult themes – starts on March 5 and runs until March 12.
Visit www.rugbytheatre.co.uk or call 01788 541234 for tickets.