Mercury Theatre to Continue Made in Colchester 2014 Season with YOU CAN ALWAYS HAND THEM BACK, 13-28 June

Mercury Theatre to Continue Made in Colchester 2014 Season with YOU CAN ALWAYS HAND THEM BACK, 13-28 June

The Mercury Theatre continues its hugely successful Made in Colchester 2014 season with the UK premiere of the heart-warming, laugh-out-loud comedy You Can Always Hand Them Back.

A comedy of songs and stories, the play, penned by Roger Hall with music and lyrics by Peter Skellern, You Can Always Hand Them Back made its World Premiere in New Zealand in 2012. This production, directed by Andrew Brakewell, has never before been seen in the UK, and is a celebration of the heroes of any family - the grandparents.

Kath and Maurice, self-confessed old-duffers, are settling into a comfortable retirement. For Kath, however, there is just one fly in the ointment - she wishes they heard more from the kids. Well, that's all about to change with the arrival of four nappy-wearing terrors!

Taking on the role of Kath will be Kate Dyson. Kate has an extensive history with the National Theatre appearing in productions including Death of a Salesman, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The London Cuckolds and Peter Hall's original production of Animal Farm. Her most recent appearance in the West End was as Mrs Eynsford Hill in Trevor Nunn's production of My Fair Lady.

Joining Kate on stage in the role of Maurice is Paul Greenwood. A regular with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Paul's theatre credits also include Twelfth Night and Inadmissible Evidence at The Royal Court and the No 1 UK Tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in which he played The Grandfather. Paul is best known for playing PC Michael "Rosie" Penrose in the TV sitcom Rosie.

For the past fifty years Peter Skellern has been a prolific composer and performer sustaining a reputation for evocative melodies, infused with a gentle romanticism. His wholly idiosyncratic musical vision has encompassed everything from brass bands to the classics of Fred Astaire, from television mini musicals and theme tunes. He studied the piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating as a concert pianist. After various jobs including two happy but unsuccessful years as a member of The March Hare pop group, he wrote and recorded the worldwide hit You're A Lady. Over the ensuing years he had several hit singles and albums including Astaire in 1980 and Oasis (with Julian Lloyd Webber and Mary Hopkin) in 1984. Peter's latest LP, Stardust Memories, features some of his favourite ballads of the 1920s and '30s. During the '70s and '80s he appeared on many television programmes including three television series of his own, Happy Endings perhaps being the most remembered. He composed theme music for several television series including Flesh and Blood, The Life and Times of Henry Pratt, Me and My Girl and The Local. For three years in the '70s he worked on BBC Radio 4's Stop the Week writing topical songs, which is how he first became aware of Richard Stilgoe who was doing much the same on TV for Nationwide. They first performed on the same stage, though separated by several other acts, at the 1982 Royal Variety Performance. In 1985 they began an eighteen year collaboration as Stilgoe & Skellern touring their hugely successful two-man show.

Director of You Can Always Hand Them Back, Andrew Brakewell said:
"We all have or have had grandparents, and more and more of us are experiencing the joys, the journey and the delights of seeing grandchildren grow, change and emerge from the cocoon of childhood and adolescence as fully functioning adults. There is a little sadness there too, and I hope that we are able to touch the hearts of audiences with the recognition of our short tenancy. However, the authors have set down so humorously and accurately the moments, the feelings, the hopes that so many of us experience who have the privilege of being grandparents - the photographs, the nonsense language and the construction of the 'travel cot' made by Martians with instructions written by someone from Star Trek!"

Listings information
You Can Always Hand Them Back
Friday, June 13 to Saturday, June 28
Evening performances 7.30pm, matinees on Saturdays and Thursdays 2:30pm
Tickets from £10 to £25 / 01206 573948.

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