From a broadcasting favourite to stirring music, there's much to enjoy...
Danny Baker: Good Time Charlie’s Back, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, May 11
He’s found himself at the forefront of popular culture and forged a career as one of Britain’s most acclaimed broadcasters.
And now audiences at the Grove Theatre in Dunstable can enjoy a night in the company of Danny Baker when he visits the venue with stories from his life.
Baker’s extraordinary career began in 1977 when he started writing for the punk fanzine, Sniffin’ Glue. He went on to write for the New Musical Express, placing him at the forefront of popular culture and in the company of some of the world’s biggest and most notorious stars.
He started his TV career in 1980 at London Weekend Television, later presenting countless programmes and becoming a regular on panel shows. Baker was a writer on Chris Evans’ TFI Friday show, as well as contributing material for presenters such as Angus Deayton and Jonathan Ross. He also wrote the script for the Concert for Diana in 2007, staged at Wembley Stadium in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. And he has won numerous awards for his radio shows, which have included 606 on BBC Radio 5 Live, stints working with Danny Kelly on 5 Live and Talk Radio, long-running shows on LBC and his current Saturday morning show on 5 Live.
The Comedy of Errors, TADS Theatre, Conger Lane, Toddington, May 11 to 19
The intimate atmosphere at the TADS Theatre is just right to bring the Bard’s famous words alive. Director Sue Sachon – also a Shakespeare scholar – is on a mission to make his works accessible. This early play is full of action and energy and mistaken identities. “It’s basically a Shakespearean farce’, says Sue, “But, as ever, with a bit of a twist that makes it memorable.” It’s suitable for families and children, as there’s a fair bit of slapstick humour and a colourful story. Sue added: “In the past, we’ve had people come along to watch who have ‘hated doing Shakespeare at school’, and they’ve gone away having completely changed their minds”. This fast-moving story of two sets of identical twins – parted at birth and then brought unexpectedly together – causes comical confusion when a wife takes the wrong husband home to dinner, servants take orders from the wrong masters, and goods are delivered to the wrong people.
With an abbess, an exorcist and a Duke all trying to unravel the crossed wires, who knows where it will end...
Happy Jack, The Little Theatre, Dunstable, May 11 to 19
A comical and touching play about the 60-year marriage of a couple in West Yorkshire is taking to the stage, courtesy of Dunstable Rep. Happy Jack is written by the celebrated playwright, John Godber, and is inspired by his own grandparents and their relationship through good times and bad.
The play tells the story of this working class family with snippets of their lives together: the love, sadness, anger, joy and conflict. Balancing humour with some tougher realities, the play highlights the lives of working miners and the terrible legacies that many of them were left with long after leaving the pits.
The British Theatre Guide said of the play: “There’s a truthful, timeless quality to this little piece of Yorkshire’s social history that isn’t showing its age at all.”
Mary Gauthier, Bear Club, Luton, May 11
Songs inspired by the real-life struggles of military veterans will take centre stage at this special concert. Following last year’s intimate sell-out concert at the venue, Mary Gauthier returns with violinist Michele Gazich to perform music featuring songs from the new album, Rifles & Rosary Beads.
The heart-wrenching songs were written over four years at the Songwriting with Soldiers workshop, where Mary worked hand-in-hand with veterans to open up debate and awareness on an array of health issues.
5 COMEDY MAGIC
James Phelan, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, May 12
James Phelan presents a night of light-hearted, prank-focused magic using audience participation.