Sidmouth Summer Play Festival opens with a gripping thriller - and a Royal stammer

PUBLISHED: 10:51 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:01 19 June 2019

Jeremy Todd, Rachel Fletcher-Hudson and Claire Louis Amias in Suddenly At Home. Picture: Jonny Clines

Jeremy Todd, Rachel Fletcher-Hudson and Claire Louis Amias in Suddenly At Home. Picture: Jonny Clines

Jonny Clines

"Your ticket entitles you to a whole seat, however, you'll only need the edge of it!"

Jeremy Todd and Claire Louise Amias in Suddenly At Home. Picture: Jonny ClinesJeremy Todd and Claire Louise Amias in Suddenly At Home. Picture: Jonny Clines

The first play of the summer season at Sidmouth's Manor Pavilion Theatre opens on Thursday, June 20.

Francis Durbridge's tense thriller Suddenly At Home runs until Wednesday 26.

When Glenn Howard decides to murder his wealthy wife he works out a complicated but seemingly foolproof plan, designed to provide him with an alibi and cast suspicion on his wife's former lover. Everything appears to be going well, but Glenn has not expected an opponent like the astute Inspector Appleton. Director Patric Kearns said: "I think we have got together a stellar cast for the opening play. I directed the Durbridge play last year and I can promise the audience an equally thrilling evening this time round. In fact I think Suddenly At Home is, perhaps, Francis Durbridge's best play. Like last year, your ticket entitles you to a whole seat, however, you'll only need the edge of it!"

Suddenly At Home is the first of twelve plays to be presented at The Manor Pavilion Theatre this summer. Paul Taylor Mills is now in his seventh year of producing the season.

Jeremy Todd and James Pellow in Suddenly At Home. Picture:  Jonny ClinesJeremy Todd and James Pellow in Suddenly At Home. Picture: Jonny Clines

"Francis Durbridge is a favourite playwright of the Sidmouth audience," he said. "They love a good thriller and Durbridge is considered one of the maters of this genre. It will be an exciting evening of theatre and I am confident that it is a great choice for the opening play. The team is really looking forward to getting started and presenting a wonderful summer of theatre."

The second play of the festival is The King's Speech, running from Thursday June 26 until Wednesday July 3.

Based on the 2010 Academy Award winning film starring Colin Firth, it tells the story of Bertie, Duke of York, who is thrust onto the world stage as King George VI after his brother's abdication. With the Nazi threat looming and civil unrest at home, royal secrets explode around Bertie as he struggles to find his voice - literally - as King.

In Sidmouth Bertie is played by regular festival actor Chris Casey, and another regular, Paul Lavers, plays Lionel Logue, the maverick Australian speech therapist brought in to help him overcome his stammer.

Chris Casey.  Picture: Claire Grogan PhotographyChris Casey. Picture: Claire Grogan Photography

Director Robert McWhir said: "The King's Speech presents many challenges for the actors. Not only are they playing well known, historical figures, like George VI and Winston Churchill, but they also have to deal with some of the most controversial and important moments in British history during the 1930's - the abdication crisis and the declaration of war. I know the actors are very excited about the play and we can't wait to get started."

The Sidmouth Summer Play Season consists of 12 plays, running until September. For further details and to book tickets, visit the Manor Pavilion Theatre website.Box office 01395 514 413

Paul Lavers, who plays Lionel Logue in The King's Speech. Picture: Claire Grogan PhotographyPaul Lavers, who plays Lionel Logue in The King's Speech. Picture: Claire Grogan Photography

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