SPOTLIGHT ON: Chichester’s glittering winter season

Brian Butler September 18, 2023

Chichester traditionally has a winter season full of short runs from visiting companies and one-nighters that bring some great entertainment to Sussex at both the Festival and Minerva Theatres. This year is no exception.

TV and film star Rupert Everett takes to the stage with Julian Wadham in A Voyage Round My Father from 7 Р11 November. It’s Rumpole creator John Mortimer’s autobiographical play about the awkward relationship between a brilliant ageing barrister and his son, living in his shadow.

If you like big puppets, you’ll love Life Of Pi Рwinner of five Olivier awards. It’s the story of an epic sea voyage of endurance and hope. Pi finds himself on a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a full-size Bengal tiger Рthe undoubted star of the show.

The Merchant Of Venice 1936 deals with ambition, power and political unrest which explodes into the life of London’s East End in a gender-swapping re-imagining of Shakespeare’s classic, with the money lender Shylock played by Tracy-Ann Oberman. It runs 21-25 November.

Another direct import from the West End features Liza Goddard, Matthew Kelly and Susan Shepherd in the classic farce Noises Off by Michael Frayn. It runs 9-13 January 2024 and it’s a play within a play, which follows the antics on and off stage of a touring theatre company.

More theatrical royalty arrives with Jane Asher, Clive Francis and Nicholas Le Prevost starring in Somerset Maugham’s The Circle. It runs 30 January Р3 February 2024. Lady Kitty is a society beauty who abandoned her stuffy husband and eloped with the handsome Lord Porteous. 30 years later, their life is one long squabble and their son faces the same marital fate. Will history come full circle?

If you miss 2:22: A Ghost Story in Brighton, you can catch it in Chichester as this supernatural thriller takes to the stage. It runs 6-10 February. Is the house haunted? Can the dead walk? Can you bear to watch?

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World is a pop-fuelled upbeat hit musical, based on the book by Kate Pankhurst, relative of the famous Suffragette. Schoolgirl Jade breaks away from her class to look into the not-yet-opened Gallery Of Greatness in the local museum. On the way she meets great women including Rosa Parks and Amelia Earhart.

Drop The Dead Donkey: The Reawakening hits the stage 20-24 February 2024. Some 30 years after the launch of the trail-blazing hit TV series, the Globelink news team are back and live on stage for the first time, starring actors from the original TV series, including Susannah Doyle, Neil Pearson, Jeff Rawle and Stephen Tompkinson.

Black Is The Color Of My Voice runs 20-24 February 2024. Inspired by the life of singer/activist Nina Simone, Apphia Campbell stars in the show she wrote. I first saw it online in Covid and was blown away by her performance. An absolute must-see.

One nighters include: writer/raconteur Gyles Brandreth, the choral group Fisherman’s Friends, Radio Live Рfeaturing the impromptu songs of Richard Stillgoe and the instant impressions of Alistair McGowan, the BBC Concert Orchestra with soloists in songs from Broadway and the West End, and Barb Jungr, with her incredible recreation of songs which were sung at Soho’s Marquee Club Рincluding by The Who, Jethro Tull and The Move.

Ticket information HERE