A roaring tale of family feuding and a royal knees-up at a Medieval Christmas

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Christmas with the family can be fraught, with arguments over everything from what to watch on television to who ate the last mince pie.

In Chinon, 1183, at the castle of Henry II, the rows are a little more serious and the fall-out could be deadly.

For the Dunstable Rep, it’s a tale all too familiar as they revisit the play The Lion In Winter and find that history really does repeat itself.

Director Annalise Carter-Brown said: “In our production 39 years ago, young couple Alan and Angie Goss played Prince John and his would-be bride. Now Alan is our grizzled lion opposite a friend of many years, Rona Cracknell, who plays Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. For a story about legacy, it is deliciously appropriate. Welcome to Chinon, 1183 - cold, dirty and smokey and the family Christmas from Hell.”

So if you thought your family Christmas was awkward, how about sharing a freezing castle with your mother who is newly released from prison for trying to kill your father?

Or your father and his girlfriend, who’s supposed to be your fiancée? And you brothers, who all want to take over the family business?

Throw in a visit from a hated neighbour and it is the Christmas from Hell. Or maybe just one from history.

The Rep recreate the Christmas of Henry II, his wife Queen Eleanor and his sons Richard the Lionheart, Geoffrey of Burgundy and bad Prince John at the Little Theatre in Dunstable.

The cast also includes Stephanie Overington, Joshua Thompson, Alex Brewer, Anthony Bird and Joe Hawkins.

Annalise said: “Like many plays, a new perspective can be found when it’s revisited.

“Glenn Close and Patrick Stewart took on the roles of Queen Eleanor and King Henry II in a recent revitalising TV film remake. And, along with a slightly updated script, we here at the Rep are revisiting the play too.”

From January 17 - 25 at the Little Theatre in Dunstable.