WHEN soap star Carli Norris was offered a stage role in ghostly chiller Turn Of The Screw, there was no way she was going to turn it down.

“I remember reading the book when I was young and I was fascinated by it,” says the actress who has appeared in EastEnders, Hollyoaks, Holby City and Doctors. “Then last year I saw the poster for Turn Of The Screw and I said to my husband ‘We must go and see that, it’s a really good story’.

“I’m fascinated by all things Gothic horror and I thought it’d be interesting to see a live interpretation of the novel. Then I got the part of The Governess.”

Turn of the Screw comes to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from Tuesday (24 April) to Saturday 29 April.

Carli Norris stars in Turn Of The Screw.   Picture by Robert Workman

For the full story, see the 19 April edition

PLAYWRIGHT Gail Louw blends a universal story about fathers and sons with the music of Johannes Brahms in her new one-man drama, Being Brahms, at the Mill Studio at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre on Friday and Saturday, 4 and 5 May.

For the full story, see the 19 April edition

THE songs of Dusty Springfield have been used to create new musical Son Of A Preacher Man, which heads for Woking’s New Victoria Theatre from Tuesday (24 April) to Saturday 28 April, starring EastEnders actress Michelle Gayle and Corrie regular Alice Barlow.

For the full story, see the 19 April edition

EXPECT tassels, burlesque, music and comedy as Guildford Fringe presents The High Octane Club Burlesque & Cabaret at the Electric Theatre on Saturday 28 April.

Ruby Deshabille

For the full story, see the 19 April edition

EDINBURGH resident and Canadian tour-de-force Tom Stade is back with more dates on his I Swear tour.

Tom Stade and I Swear will arrive at Camberley Theatre on Wednesday (25 April).

For the full story, see the 19 April edition

IN TODAY’S world of the social media witch-hunt, Arthur Miller’s 1953 play The Crucible is as relevant as ever.

It tells how the people of 17th century Salem are whipped into a bloodthirsty frenzy by a series of escalating misinterpretations after a group of teenage girls are accused of dancing devilishly in the woods.

The Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre: Interval will bring The Crucible to the Mill Studio at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from Thursday to Saturday, April 26 to 28.


KENNETH MacMillan’s tragic and romantic ballet Manon will be broadcast live at various cinemas, including the Ambassadors, Woking, on Tuesday 3 May at 7.15pm.

Manon depicts the powerful and obsessive love between Des Grieux (Vadim Muntagirov) and Manon (Sarah Lamb).

The dramatic story moves from Paris to New Orleans to Louisiana with twists and turns as the lovers suffer a series of traumatic events from which they seek to escape.

The ballet was choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan, who took inspiration from the bestselling novel by the 18th-century writer Abbé Prévost. The score is made up of music by Massenet, including his famous Elégie as the theme for the lovers.

Manon lasts about 2 hours 35 minutes and includes two intervals.

Please note that Manon contains scenes of an adult nature, including sexual violence.

For more information or to find a cinema near you visit: www.roh.org.uk/cinema

Sarah Lamb as Manon and Vadim Muntagirov as Des Grieux (©2014 ROH. Photographed by Alice Pennefather). Image by AKA (©ROH, 2017)

Jo Ben Ayed as Hassan and Raj Ghatak as Amir. Picture by Betty Zapata

The Kite Runner, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford

IT’S a huge a challenge to take an epic book, which has already spawned a stunning film, and condense it for the stage.

Capturing the atmospheric backdrop of an Afghan childhood, the swirling emotions of racial bigotry and monstrous betrayal, followed by hectic alienation in America and the epic passing of generations – all on a spartan stage – is virtually impossible. Somehow, Giles Croft’s production does it.

Khaled Hosseini’s original story is brought to life through the narration of Amir, played by Raj Ghatak, the privileged son of a rich but widowed Afghan businessman. He playfully tells of his early years learning to walk, talk and fly kites alongside his boyhood friend Hassan.

The two youngsters are inseparable but it’s an unequal relationship as the ethnic Hazara boy is actually the servant of the spoilt Pashtun, Amir. The fanatically loyal Hassan is eventually betrayed in the most horrible way by the narrator before he flees Afghanistan for the US with his father at the time of the Russian invasion.

The play faithfully follows the book as the central character marries Soraya, the daughter of an Afghan general, before being given the chance to “make things right” by returning to his home country, by now in the brutal grip of the Taliban.

This interpretation of Amir seems a weaker, more flawed character than his literary counterpart and the real star of the show is Jo Ben Ayed’s Hassan. The pathos portrayed by his many cringing glances, timid pleading and baleful stares is utterly gripping. Ayed has few words but doesn’t need them, as he proves that acting is about so much more than diction.

The leading pair are given sterling back-up by a cast mercifully bereft of star names – Gary Pillai is a commanding presence as Amir’s father Baba, Soroosh Lavasani’s brutal bully Assef is a truly nasty piece of work, while Karl Seth manages to bring some light relief to this harrowing tale in three different roles.

The tale is told on a bare stage transformed with the aid of minimal backdrops and a few projections. The kite flying is given impetus by the cast’s use of handheld wind machines and the overall atmosphere is pure Kabul thanks to the live tabla playing of Hanif Khan, which creates drama as well as adding an aural flavour of Central Asia.

The themes of personal betrayal, growing up and family tribulations are all successfully weaved together and this production goes farther with simmering, topical undertones of racism, the desperate plight of refugees and the huge difficulties they face even when they reach a safe haven. The irony of a mainly white, middle-class audience cheering an immigrant for successfully outwitting red tape to bring a Muslim child to the West may be lost on some but gave me a cynical chuckle.

In short, if you liked the book, you’ll love this.


Mayflower Theatre, Southampton 24-28 April


OSCAR Wilde’s An Ideal Husband will be broadcast at the Ambassador’s cinema, Woking, on Tuesday 5 June at 7.15pm. This is the third play in the Classic Spring Theatre Company’s year-long Oscar Wilde Season at the Vaudeville Theatre and will be broadcast live by satellite to 420 cinemas across the UK and Ireland.

Directed by Jonathan Church, this entertaining and still topical play brings an act of political sin into the heart of the English home. As an ambitious government minister, Sir Robert Chiltern’s smooth ascent to the top seems assured until Mrs Cheveley appears in London with damning proof of his previous financial chicanery. The talented ensemble cast includes real-life father and son Edward (The Audience, West End; The Day of the Jackal, ITV) and Freddie Fox (The Judas Kiss, West End; Cucumber & Banana, Channel 4; E4), Olivier Award-nominated Frances Barber (Silk, BBC; Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare’s Globe), Olivier Award-winner Nathaniel Parker (This House, West End; Wolf Hall, West End & Broadway), Sally Bretton (Not Going Out, BBC; King Lear, Shakespeare’s Globe) and Susan Hampshire (Forsyte Saga, Monarch of the Glen, BBC).

Cinema tickets for the season are now on sale at OscarWildeCinema.com

FOLLOWING its performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony in November last year, Vivace Chorus returns to Guildford Cathedral with another firm favourite – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

Beethoven’s setting of Friedrich von Schiller’s poem Ode to Joy has become one of the most recognised pieces of music in the world, and is currently in Classic FM’s Hall of Fame top 10.

This monumental work will be paired with Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. Commissioned for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and first performed in 1930, this is an energetic, engaging and exciting work in three short movements – the two works together making for a truly memorable musical journey.

Vivace Chorus with the Brandenburg Sinfonia. Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse

Guildford Cathedral on Saturday 19 May at 7.30pm.

Book online: visitguildford.com or vivacechorus.org

Tourist information: 01483 444333