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First look: Reimagined The Birds and the Bees at New Wolsey Theatre, on tour and online

Richard McIver (Ben) and Laura Doddington (Sarah), Photo by Mike Kwasniak(1)
Richard McIver (Ben) and Laura Doddington (Sarah), Photo by Mike Kwasniak

A first look at James McDermott’s new East Anglian ‘relocation’ of The Birds and the Bees has been revealed.

The reimagined production of the hit Canadian comedy by Mark Crawford is to tour the East of England from March.

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The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich will be partnering with Norwich Theatre, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and John Stalker Productions for the tour which has been commissioned by John Stalker Productions.

Sion Tudor Owen (Earl) and Louise Gold (Gail), Photo by Mike Kwasniak(1)
Sion Tudor Owen (Earl) and Louise Gold (Gail), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Richard McIver (Ben) and Louise Gold (Gail), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Richard McIver (Ben) and Louise Gold (Gail), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Richard McIver (Ben) and Laura Doddington (Sarah), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Richard McIver (Ben) and Laura Doddington (Sarah), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Richard McIver (Ben), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Richard McIver (Ben), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Sion Tudor Owen (Earl) and Louise Gold (Gail), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Sion Tudor Owen (Earl) and Louise Gold (Gail), Photo by Mike Kwasniak

James McDermott’s new version of the 2016 Canadian play relocates the setting from modern-day Canada to North Norfolk in England’s East Anglia.

On Sarah’s East Anglian farm the honeybees are dropping like flies – just like her love life. Her husband bolted twenty years ago and she hasn’t slept with anyone since. Her middle-aged daughter Gail’s marriage is going up in smoke just like her turkey farm and neighbour Earl is fighting a losing battle with his sugar beet yield and his ‘no strings’ relationships.

Then along comes city-dwelling bio-student Ben to study those pesky poorly performing pollinators. He could probably also have a look at Sarah’s turkeys, which can’t seem to mate without a human helping hand. Perhaps some local mead and the annual Turkey Day’s Dance will sort everything out – and not just for the birds.

As the consequences of that momentous night unfold Sarah, Gail, Earl and Ben discover the best way out of a crisis is to commit to those closest to you – just watch out and don’t get stung

The cast features Laura Doddington as Sarah, Louise Gold as Gail, Richard McIver as Ben and Sion Tudor Owen as Earl.

Louise Gold (Gail) and Sion Tudor Owen (Earl), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Louise Gold (Gail) and Sion Tudor Owen (Earl), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Louise Gold (Gail) and Sion Tudor Owen (Earl), Photo by Mike Kwasniak(1)
Louise Gold (Gail) and Sion Tudor Owen (Earl), Photo by Mike Kwasniak(1)
Louise Gold (Gail) and Laura Doddington (Sarah), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Louise Gold (Gail) and Laura Doddington (Sarah), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Louise Gold (Gail) and Laura Doddington (Sarah), Photo by Mike Kwasniak(1)
Louise Gold (Gail) and Laura Doddington (Sarah), Photo by Mike Kwasniak(1)
Laura Doddington (Sarah) and Richard McIver (Ben), Photo by Mike Kwasniak
Laura Doddington (Sarah) and Richard McIver (Ben), Photo by Mike Kwasniak

The Birds and the Bees is directed by New Wolsey’s Artistic Director Peter Rowe with design by Dawn Allsopp, lighting design by Richard G Jones and casting direction by Debbie O’Brien.

The production will open the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich from 25 March – 9 April before heading on tour to Norwich Theatre (20-30 April) and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds from (3-7 May). The production will also be livestreamed for four performances during its run at the New Wolsey Theatre from 7-9 April.

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