The Watermill Theatre has announced its Spring 2022 season with The Wicker Husband and Our Man in Havana musicals.
Running from January to May 2022, the new season at the Newbury venue will also feature new comedy Spike, based on the life of Spike Milligan, from Ian Hislop and Nick Newman.
The Watermill has also announced Becca Chadder and Talitha Wing as the new Playwrights in Residence, mentored by Watermill Associate Artist, Danielle Pearson.
Artistic Director Paul Hart said today: “It’s been a long road since The Wicker Husband, a piece that is so perfect for The Watermill’s stage, opened and was forced to almost immediately close, in March 2020. With its beautiful score, and incredible puppets, I can’t wait to welcome back the whole team for this remarkable show.
“And our commission of a new musical version of Our Man in Havana, will be performed for the first time, finally making it to our stage, after production was halted by the pandemic.
“I’m also excited to be working with Ian Hislop and Nick Newman again, bringing the world premiere of their brilliant new play about the comic genius that is Spike Milligan and his creation of the iconic Goon Show, to The Watermill stage.”
Find out more about the shows forming the new season below!
Spike (27 January – 5 March)
Base on the life of Spike Milligan, this new comedy by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman delves into the inner workings of one of our most unique and brilliantly irreverent comedy minds. Spike will be directed by Watermill Artistic Director Paul Hart, with design by Katie Lias. Full creative team and casting will be announced shortly.
It’s the booming fifties, and Britain is in the clutches of Goon mania as men, women and children across the country scramble to get their ear to a wireless for another instalment of The Goon Show. While Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers get down to the serious business of becoming overnight celebrities, fellow Goon and chief writer Spike finds himself pushing the boundaries of comedy, and testing the patience of the BBC.
Flanked by his fellow Goons and bolstered by the efforts of irrepressible sound assistant Janet, Spike takes a flourishing nosedive off the cliffs of respectability, and mashes up his haunted past to create the comedy of the future.
Will Spike’s dogged obsession with finding the funny elevate The Goons to soaring new heights, or will the whole thing come crashing down with the stroke of a potato peeler?
The Wicker Husband (11 – 26 March)
The Wicker Husband returns to the Watermill following its premature closure in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Directed by Charlotte Westenra, with Book by Rhys Jennings, Music and lyrics by Darren Clark and based on an original short story by Ursula Wills, this folk-inspired new musical tells the timeless tale of the outsider. Full casting is to be announced.
In a superficial world, where beauty is only skin-deep, meet the so-called ‘Ugly Girl’.
Ostracised by the shallow townsfolk because she doesn’t fit in, the Ugly Girl becomes the envy of her neighbours when the mysterious Old Basketmaker makes her a strong and loving husband woven from living wicker. As bitter rivalry and jealousy threaten to tear the community apart, the townsfolk embark on a cruel and destructive plan. Will the Ugly Girl’s happiness be ruined forever?
Our Man in Havana (7 April – 21 May)
A world premiere musical adaptation of Graham Greene’s iconic novel by Ben Morales Frost and Richard Hough. Directed by Amy Draper, designed by Kat Heath, with Eliane Correa as co-orchestrator and Musical Director, the production was originally programmed as part of The Watermill’s Spring 2020 season but had to be postponed by the pandemic.
It’s 1958 and Havana is on the brink of revolution. All day and night, the streets are filled with dancing and the shadows are filled with criminals. In the midst of the warm tropical air, an English vacuum cleaner salesman lives a quiet life running a modest business, raising his teenage daughter Milly and collecting miniature whisky bottles.
Just as Milly’s love of shopping reaches new heights, James Wormold receives an offer from the British Secret Intelligence Service that is too good to refuse. What Wormold lacks in sleuthing experience, he makes up for with imagination. Nothing stays quiet for long in Havana and his life is soon turned upside down when the fictional events of his intelligence reports start to come true!
Tickets can be booked online at watermill.org.uk from 3 November for Friends of the Theatre while general on sale starts 9 November.