Dark mirth, death row

State v John Hayes

State v John Hayes

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State Vs John Hayes by Lucy Roslyn is part of the opening 2015 season at The Lowry, Salford Quays next Thursday.

In Huntsville prison, Texas, 1959. Elyese Dukie is on Death Row for the murder of two people. Tomorrow she goes to court for the last time. But tonight Elyese reveals the one thing she won’t tell the court or the string of psychiatrists sent to diagnose her: that she is not alone in her cell...

Psychopath, or seductress? Murderer, or manipulator? Psychiatric hospital, or the electric chair? A striking one-act, psychological thriller laced with dark humour and a first piece written for the stage by Lucy, above.

Based on extensive research into female killers and life on death row, it was first performed in Islington two years ago then went on to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Box office: 0843 208 6000 or www.thelowry.com

Following a sell-out run at the Octagon Theatre Bolton, Dave Simpson’s Blind Date returns to Joshua Brooks in Manchester next week for three performances before it receives its London premiere.

Blind Date explores the possibilities and the pitfalls of internet dating through the story of two reluctant singletons, who exaggerate their own desirability in order to attract their perfect partner.

The play began life at Joshua Brooks as part of JB Shorts, Manchester’s celebratedbiannual festival of 15-minute-plays by top television writers. After an overwhelming response the writer extended the premise of Blind Date into a full-length production.

Blind Date features Leigh actor Will Travis, Coronation Street’s Neil Beckett. Alongside some dramatic recent storylines on the cobbles, Will has just finished filming This Is England ‘90 in which he returns as Mr Squires.

He is joined here by his on/off-stage partner, Susan Mcardle who will also be familiar to Coronation Street fans as Gail Platt’s former cell-mate, Lyn Fuller.

Box office: www.wegottickets.com/bitebacktheatre.

Kids from around the region star in two productions at Preston Guild Hall’s Charter Theatre over the next week.

First, another high-energy performance from the city’s Kidz 4 Kidz who go Rocking All Over The World on Saturday night. It’s the 14th year of such performances from the not-for-profit community group, that celebrates theatre as a fun way to make friends, build confidence and entertain, while children can be proud of doing something proactive in their community.

Proceeds from Kidz 4 Kidz shows always goes to a local childrens’ charity or child in need. This latest show celebrates songs from around the world including hits from Africa, Germany and France.

Next Wednesday Penwortham’s Highfield Priory School presents its Year Four Drama production of Roald Dahl’s The Witches. This year they are also joined by Miss Burns’ Dancers from Reception Class through to Year Six.

There will be ballet, street jazz and tap dancing around Dahl’s terrifying tale of witches and triumphant children.

After its current run of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge Moving Bolton’s Octagon moves closer to home, from February 19 to March 21, with Hindle Wakes written by Stanley Houghton and directed by David Thacker.

It’s the famed Northern play depicting life, love and social expectation in a small mill town just before the outbreak of the First World War and was considered hugely controversial when first performed.

From March 26 to April 18, associate director Elizabeth Newman will take on Noël Coward’s comedy, Private Lives, a thrilling play about rekindled romance in ‘30s Paris.

The Ancient Secret of Youth and the Five Tibetans is a world premiere by international award-winning playwright Jim Cartwright, and will be showing from April 20 until May 23. It’s about three old friends who discover that elusive secret.

From June 4 to July 4 it’s the fast-paced, farcical, and fiendishly-fun Noises Off, written by Michael Frayn and directed by David Thacker. The production will be David’s last in his role as artistic director, and since it’s about the backstage shenanigans of a theatre company in the throes of ‘putting on a show’ it’s a subject he knows all too well!

Box Office: 01204 520661 or www.octagonbolton.co.uk