Bath premieres, chillers, dramas, musicals, comedies and dance

AS the bright lights and vibrant colours of the pantomime fade, Bath Theatre Royal starts its 2020 season with a real chiller, complete with warnings to those of a nervous disposition.

The arrival of Ghost Stories, on stage from Tuesday 14th to Saturday 18th January, starts an exciting season at the beautiful theatre. It continues with Yasmina Reza’s dissection of parenting in Paris, God of Carnage, starring Elizabeth McGovern (Downton’s Lady Cora), on from 20th to 25th January.

A week of dance, from Sunday 26th January to Saturday 1st February, brings St Petersburg Ballet in The Nutcracker and the Richard Alston Dance company’s Final Edition tour to Bath (pictured by Chris Nash).

Before a season at the Duke of York’s in London, the triumphant summer production of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, with its sublime Mad­ame Arcati manifestation by Jennifer Saunders, returns to Bath Theatre Royal from 4th to 8th February.

The spring season continues with thrillers Dial M for Murder and The Cat and the Canary, and musicals Six (based on the legendary lives of the wives of Henry VIII ),  Once Legally Blonde and Buddy.

The world stage premiere of an adaptation of the Kay Mellor TV hit Band of Gold is in Bath from 16th to 21st March, followed by comedy and social satire What’s In a Name.

Onwards from April the programme includes Michael Pennington in a new production of The Tempest, Matthew Kelly in Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art and Wise Children’s Malory Towers, on tour.

Matthew Kelly returns to Bath, with Julian Clary, in Ronald Harwood’s The Dresser, on stage from 21st to 26th September, and Nigel Havers stars as Elyot Chase in Coward’s Private Lives, from 1st to 10th October.

In the Ustinov Studio, the intimate space behind the grand old Theatre Royal, the year starts with the UK premieres of Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses, from 6th February to 7th March, and of Kate Attwell’s Testmatch from 2nd to 9th April.

The performers and companies visiting the Ustinov in the early months of 2020 include the third part of James Rowland’s trilogy, Songs of Friendship, Sajeela Kershi, Peter Duncan talking about his playing Dame (at Poole), Peter McEnery in a solo performance about Dean Walter Hussey, bishop of Chichester, and composer Leonard Bernstein.

Locally-based New Old Friends open their new show Crimes, Camera, Action, at the Ustinov from 12th to 28th March.

Pick up the full programme from your library, arts centre or theatre – Elizabeth Mc Govern is on the front – or visit the website

Watch out for regular updates and full listings on The Fine Times Recorder.