'Sensational' Shakespeare comes to Fareham

Nigel Rigden

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A Shakespeare presentation hailed as 'sensational' by Trevor Nunn, former director of the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company, can be seen at the Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham, in February

The Rape Of Lucrece, a narrative poem about the crime and its consequences, will be performed on February 16 by Gerard Logan on a bare stage – bringing both rapist and victim to life.

Another production with even more upfront contemporary resonance will be Crime Of The Century, to be presented by dance theatre company Chickenshed (February 5) as part of the Ashcroft's spring season.

Focusing on the proliferation of knife crime, it is based on interviews with perpetrators, victims, families, surgeons, police and ex-offenders.

Lockerbie: Unfinished Business (March 11) blends dramatisation and verbatim material in telling the story of the terrorist atrocity in which 270 people were killed in mid-air in Scotland.

The show reveals a different story from the one commonly in the headlines, casting doubt on the official version of events.

Ashcroft director Annabel Cook says: 'Having a passion for performance, I am excited about this season because it includes some really powerful pieces of theatre.

'Lockerbie is particularly strong. Hearing the story essentially in the words of Jim Swire, one of the parents, moved me to tears.

'I am also delighted to have Chickenshed coming to the venue at last.

Their work integrating theatre is inspirational.'

On a more cheery note, the season also features rising stars from the prestigious Guildford School Of Acting in Gyles Brandreth's show, Zipp (March 24).

This musical revue whisks the audience through a century of Broadway and West End musicals including (it is claimed) the complete works of Andrew Lloyd Webber in 60 seconds.

A once-scandalous novel by DH Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover, will be brought to the Ashcroft stage by Hull Truck theatre company (April 28).

And among other professional productions, Others is based on a six-month exchange of letters and emails with a prisoner, a celebrity and an Iranian artist.

It offers a visual and political exploration of 'other' women and is performed by The Paper Birds who use paper, pens and envelopes to offer peepholes into strangers' worlds.

The Ashcroft programme also includes music, comedy, exhibitions, workshops and classes.

Details and tickets: (01329) 223100 or ashcroft.org.uk