New Year variety with Dorchester Arts

FROM an evening exploring David Bowie’s Berlin years to a woman who is the National Trust’s greatest super-fan, from an all-star jazz ensemble to poignant wartime letters, the new season at Dorchester Arts has music, theatre and entertainment for all tastes and ages.

If you are one of the millions who loved (and still watches) the American sitcom Friends, don’t miss Friend: The One With Gunther, on Saturday 25th. Comic Brendan Murphy, whose previous successes include a Las Vegas season with Potted Potter and Best of Edinburgh parody The Crown Dual, brings his brilliant performing skills to condense ten seasons of the show into one hour, as seen through the eyes of chief barista Gunther.

In her show, National Trust Fan Club, on Wednesday 29th, Helen Wood takes the audience on a whirlwind tour of National Trust properties and outdoor spaces around Britain. With stories, historical anecdotes, poetry, sketches, selfies and scones she follows her quest to become the Trust’s ultimate super-fan.

Bowie, Berlin and Beyond, on Thursday 30th, is an evening of music and film for jazz fans, Bowie fanatics and “inquisitive minds from age eight to 108,” following in the imaginary footsteps of David Bowie and his Berlin years, when he experimented with the ambient world of Brian Eno, free improvisation and the minimalist works of Philip Glass. There will also be a series of short experimental archive and contemporary films.

The February line-up at the Corn Exchange includes contemporary dance with Joli Vyann, folk with Windborne: Song on the Times, guitar-accordion duo Craig Ogden and Milo Milivojevic and philosopher-comedian Mark Thomas.

A particular highlight will be Posting Letters to the Moon, on Friday 21st, in which husband and wife Simon Williams (Justin in The Archers) and Lucy Fleming read from the wartime letters between Lucy’s parents, Brief Encounter star Celia Johnson and her explorer and writer husband Peter Fleming (brother of James Bond creator Ian Fleming). The letters paint a vivid picture of their experiences during the war and give an insight into working with Noel Coward and David Lean.

In March, the programme includes comedian Dom Joly, folk musicians the Churchfitters and Steve Knightley with a solo show, Pass Notes, Arrows and Traps Theatre in the Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde, and AsOne Theatre in Mary Anning: The Mad Woman of Lyme.

Visit www.dorchesterarts.org.uk for more information and bookings.

Pictured: Friend, The One With Gunther; and Posting Letters From The Moon.