From spectacular sights to laughs galore, there's lots to do...
Luton town centre, June 24 and 25
Imagine Luton promises to be the town’s biggest ever outdoor festival, with all kinds of impressive theatre, dance and circus experiences, offering something for everyone.
Expect to stumble upon quirky theatrical characters, acrobats flying through the air, a human jukebox, a roaming New Orleans brass band, high-energy dance acts, a mysterious smoking man, stilt-walkers, fantastical mechanical cycle machines and more.
St George’s Square will come to life with a headline night-time show by Gorilla Circus, featuring daring highwire and flying trapeze feats. The festival will bring acclaimed national and international artists to Luton as well as showcasing the best homegrown Luton talent.
Five local companies or artists will create new dance and theatre performances including Next Generation Youth Company, Full House Theatre, House of Absolute, Kadam and The Basement Bunch, all involving participation from local schools and giving a platform to over 100 young people from the town. Its backers include Luton BID.
Rock of Ages, Griffin Players, Luton Library Theatre, June 22 to 24
Prepare for a big, brash and energetic tribute to classic rock, courtesy of the Griffin Players. Rock of Ages is set at the tail end of the 1980s in Hollywood, where lycra, lace and liquor flow freely at one of the Sunset Strip’s last legendary venues. Amid the madness, aspiring rock star and resident toilet cleaner Drew longs to take the stage as the next big thing.
But the rock and roll fairy-tale is about to end when German developers sweep into town with plans to turn the fabled Strip into just another capitalist strip mall.
The show features the music of hit bands Styx, Europe, Poison, Whitesnake and more. The Griffin Players are no strangers to rock musicals, having produced a highly acclaimed production of the Who’s Tommy several years ago.
Barnstormers Comedy, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, June 22
Three leading comics promise laughter aplenty and midsummer mirth galore. The regular Barnstormers night will host David Ward, Chris Kent and Dominic Holland. David Ward is a friendly, upbeat comic with a cynicism that gives his comedy a unique gentle bite. Fluid, quick thinking and with an original take on life, David is much sought-after as both a great comedian and compere. Hailing from Cork in Ireland, Chris gave up his day job as an electrician to pursue his calling in comedy. He emerged onto the Irish comedy scene in 2009 after winning the Bulmers Nuttin’ But Funny competition. In 2015 Chris made his UK TV debut on Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central. Dominic Holland is one of the country’s most respected stand-up comedians –a Perrier Best Newcomer and Nominee at the Edinburgh fringe, he has performed five individual one man shows and continues to tour the country and beyond.
4 THEATRE SCREENING
Peter Pan – Encore Screening, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, June 25
All children, except one, grow up. When Peter Pan, leader of the Lost Boys, loses his shadow, headstrong Wendy helps him to reattach it. In return, she is invited to Neverland, where Tinker Bell the fairy, Tiger Lily and the vengeful Captain Hook await. A riot of magic, music and make-believe ensues. The National Theatre production is presented here on the big screen.
Das Boot, Hat Factory Arts Centre, Luton, June 23
Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot is Germany’s contribution to Luton’s World Cinema Season. The 1981 classic depicts the claustrophobic world of a Second World War German U-boat and reiterating the dictum that ‘war is hell,’ no matter which side you look at it from and where the battle is located. Though not an immediate financial success, the film was nominated for six Academy Awards, two of which - for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay - went to Petersen himself. The epic was ranked at 25 in Empire magazine’s The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema in 2010.