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First look: The Wicker Husband at Newbury's The Watermill Theatre in rehearsals

022. The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography

A first look at the return of The Wicker Husband at Newbury’s The Watermill Theatre in rehersals has been revealed.

Originally due to run in 2020, the pandemic forced the show to close on its original opening night.

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It will return to the venue from 11 March, running to 26 March 2022.

060. The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
044. The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
043. The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
041. The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
037. The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography

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, the folk-inspired new musical tells the timeless tale of the outsider.

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?

Joseph Alessi will play ‘Cobbler’, Gemma Sutton will play ‘Ugly Girl’, Olivier Award winner George Maguire as ‘Wicker Husband’ and Angela Caesar as ‘Cobbler’s Wife’.

015. The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
014. The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
003. The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
008. The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
020. The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography
The Wicker Husband. The Watermill Theatre. Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography

Further cast includes Jonathan Charles as ‘Innkeep’, Claire-Marie Hall as ‘Innkeep’s Wife’, Jack Quarton as ‘Tailor’ and Davina Moon as ‘Tailor’s Wife’ and Julian Forsyth as ‘Old Basket Maker’.

They’ll be joined by Jon Whitten as on-stage band playing the Hammered Dulcimer, Rachel Barnes also as on-stage band, and Pat Moran as onstage Musical Director.

Nisha Anil and Sebastian Charles will be the puppeteers of The Wicker Husband, with Tom Norman as Swing.

Paul Hart, Artistic Director said: “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.”

The show will feature handcrafted wicker puppets created by Puppetry designer and director Finn Caldwell. The Wicker Husband has set design by Anna Kelsey, choreography by Steven Harris, lighting design by Hartley T A Kemp, sound design by Ella Wahlström, with Gregory Clarke as Associate Sound Designer. Musical direction is by Pat Moran, with Gareth Aled as Associate Puppetry Director.

For tickets and more information, visit watermill.org.uk

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