From an epic starring just four people to a colourful family day out, there's plenty to enjoy...
Ben Hur, Rugby Theatre, April 6 to 13
Even those who haven’t seen Charlton Heston’s remarkable performance as fictional Biblical hero Ben Hur will probably be familiar with the blockbuster film – it features incredible chariot races, a thrilling sea battle and a cast of thousands. Now the talented team at Rugby Theatre is bringing the epic story to the stage – with a cast of just four. It’s a comic retelling of the epic tale which sees the quartet of actors – Tom Browning, Philip Evans, Gary van Sluiters and Danielle Stephenson – somehow playing legions of toga-wearing Roman citizens, centurions, charioteers and galley slaves. The play is written by Patrick Barlow, who also penned the award-winning comedy The 39 Steps, which was a critical success at the Henry Street venue in 2011. Director Simon Burne said: “I’ve been honoured to work with an amazing cast who have worked so hard to bring all the characters to life. Their energy, commitment and creativity have been a real privilege to witness. I was still laughing at the end of rehearsals and the cast are still inventing things now!” Artistic director Robert Sloan said: “I was lucky enough to be at one of the final rehearsals. It’s utterly bonkers and very silly, and there are some damn fine characters. If you liked The 39 Steps, The Hound of the Baskervilles or Reduced Shakespeare Company then this will be right up your street.”
Rugby Comes Together, Benn Hall, Rugby, April 6
International singer-songwriter Tally Koren, Rugby Philharmonic Choir, the Cadet Corps of Drums and Ego Guitar Orchestra are among the performers at this night of entertainment to raise funds and help promote armed forces charity SSAFA and Coventry & Warwickshire Mind – causes supported by the mayor of Rugby, Tom Mahoney, who will be in attendance. Other acts include Lorna Dea, Kieran Taylour, The Invisible Friends and Tamil Dancers.
Daffodil Sunday, Newnham Paddox, April 7, 11am to 4pm
The annual family day out returns amid carpets of daffodils, with woodland and lakeside walks. See displays of woodturning, enjoy music from the Dunchurch Band, the Ocho Rios Steel Band, listen to the Villagers’ Choir, the Rugby Male Voice Choir and the Revel School Choir. Visitors can also look round the vintage tractors and cars, and children can have a donkey ride and see the alpacas.
Details: 01788 833993
The Mousetrap, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, April 8 to 13
Agatha Christie’s legendary whodunit comes to Coventry next week, starring Gwyneth Strong, best known for her roles as Cassandra in Only Fools and Horses and as Geraldine Clough in EastEnders.
Sarah McQuaid, Rugby Library, April 4
Recently honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ards International Guitar Festival in Northern Ireland, the Madrid-born, Chicago-raised, Cornwall-based singer/songwriter plays piano, electric guitar and drums and is known for her remarkable voice.