A Chester theatre company is to stage a classic dark comedy that caused controversy when it was first produced back in the 1960s.
Tip Top Productions, based at The Forum Studio Theatre in Chester, will stage cult classic The Killing of Sister George at the theatre from from Wednesday, October 25-Saturday, October 28 at 7.30pm with a matinee performance at 2.30pm on Saturday, October 28.
Written by Frank Marcus in 1964, it was later adapted into a successful film version by Lukas Heller starring Beryl Reid and Susannah Yorke as the two main characters, June and Childie.
Seen as controversial when first produced in the 1960s, the play deals with the breakdown of the volatile same sex relationship between actress June Buckridge (Sister George in the fictional BBC radio series Applehurst) and her lover Alice ‘Childie’ McNaught.
With her popularity ratings falling, June’s world crumbles around her as she faces the prospect of saying goodbye to the much loved radio character she has become famous for, as a result of which, her relationship with Childie may never be the same again.
The play’s director, Chester-based actor and writer Mark Newman, said: “In the soap, June’s character is a much loved district nurse, doing good deeds and healing the sick of the village; in real life, June is a cigar chomping, gin guzzling bully.
“In the film, the suggestion that she is in a lesbian relationship with Childie is much more explicit and caused quite a stir at the time.
“Thankfully today, opinions have changed and people are less likely to be shocked by a same sex relationship than they were in the 1960s.”
Mark added “With the introduction of Mercy Croft into the mix, June and Childie’s relationship becomes even more volatile and leads to some subtle twists as to how the characters are perceived by the audience.”
Mark has brought on board talented local actor Stuart Evans as assistant director and they have assembled a cast featuring some of the company’s most popular actresses.
Marian Newman (Shirley Valentine, The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband) plays actress June ‘Sister George’ Buckridge, Fiona Wheatcroft (Useless Beauty for Tip Top and numerous productions for Chester Little Theatre) is her young lover Alice ‘Childie’ McNaught, Sally Dillon (The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband, Blithe Spirit, Bette and Joan) plays no nonsense BBC executive Mrs Mercy Croft and Pippa Redmayne (Cheshire Cats, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice) is Madame Xenia, June and Childie’s neighbour and clairvoyant medium who June calls on for card readings and guidance as her world start to crumble.
Rehearsals have also started for the staging of a new British musical which parodies the likes of Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
The Great British Soap Opera runs at the theatre from Wednesday, November 8-Saturday, November 11 and is directed for Tip Top by the creator of Chester’s very own Wizard School, Phil Cross.
The show follows the lives, loves, secrets and lies of the cast of fictional TV soap Victoria Square as they vie for fame and try to keep their darkest secrets firmly in the closet and out of the tabloids.
Full details of The Killing of Sister George and all upcoming shows and events at the Forum Studio Theatre can be found at www.chestertheatre.co.uk where tickets can also be booked online. Alternatively, contact the box office on 01233 341296.