Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s new acting ensemble were joined by other members of staff on the riverside lawn in front of the famous Theatre in the Hills for the launch of Flights of Fancy, PFT’s 61st Summer Season of plays and musicals.
Flights of Fancy celebrates the extraordinary power of the theatrical imagination. All six shows in the Season delight in putting the fantastical, the outlandish and the all-but-impossible on stage, in wildly entertaining, but widely differing guises.
The Season opens on Friday18th May with the smash-hit sci-fi musical comedy Little Shop Of Horrors. Already proving a big hit at the Box Office, with interest from audiences far and wide (including school and drama groups, who have been snapping up tickets like . . . well, fly traps), this ludicrously funny, toe-tapping send-up of 1950s ‘creature feature’ movies will launch the Season with a bang! And just wait until you meet Audrey Two . . .
Hot on its heels, PFT is thrilled to be staging the Scottish premiére of Patrick Barlow's Olivier- Award-winning version of The 39 Steps, which opens on May 24th. Still playing to packed houses in London’s West End, this hilarious adaptation of the classic Hitchcock spy movie is nothing if not ingenious and inventive . . . perhaps even a little mad. After all, the versatile and highly energetic cast of four play 139 roles between them!
There’s then a sharp change of mood with Rope, one of the most celebrated stage thrillers of all time. Opening on 31st May, Patrick Hamilton's chilling depiction of an apparently motiveless murder is a masterclass in suspense, relieved with the blackest of comedy. Do you have a nose for murder? Then join us on a rainy night in London at the end of the Jazz Age . . . and prepare to have your nerves stretched - like a rope - to breaking point . . .
After PFT's great success with Snake In The Grass in 2007, Flights of Fancy features another of Alan Ayckbourn’s comedy-thrillers. Combining breathtaking imagination and sheer comic genius, the award-winning Communicating Doors - a tale of hotel rooms, homicidal spouses and time travel - opens on 5th July. Inspired by everything from film noir to The Twilight Zone, this is Ayckbourn at his very best: fast, funny and wholly entertaining!
J. M. Barrie’s delightful and touching comedy-drama Dear Brutus follows on 9th August. Set in 1917, this funny, whimsical reinvention of A Midsummer Night’s Dream offers the guests at a summer house party a second chance at life . . . with wholly unexpected results! Fizzing with Barrie’s characteristic wit and imagination, this will be a stylish and magical Midsummer treat for anyone who has ever wondered: “What if . . ?”
And finally, we move into the Autumn with the new PFT Classic slot, which each year will feature a revival of one of PFT's most popular past productions. And for the first Classic, we’ve chosen one of the best-selling shows ever at PFT: the sublimely funny Arsenic And Old Lace. A madcap farce with a murderously good pedigree, this great American comedy about the lunatic Brewster family will be the perfect afternoon or evening’s entertainment!
May 18th, 8.00pm: Little Shop Of Horrors, directed by John Durnin (preview)
May 24th, 2.00pm: The 39 Steps , directed by Richard Baron (preview)
May 31st, 2.00pm: Rope directed by Richard Baron (preview)
July 5th, 2.00pm: Communicating Doors, directed by John Durnin
August 9th, 8.00pm: Dear Brutus, directed by John Durnin
October 3rd, 8.00pm: Arsenic And Old Lace, directed by Richard Baron (preview)
This year’s ensemble boasts several familiar faces from recent Seasons: Dougal Lee returns for his 11th Season at PFT after his critically acclaimed performance as Henry Higgins in last year's My Fair Lady, whilst we’re delighted to welcome back David Delve – Dougal's memorable partner in crime in 2010's Kiss Me, Kate - for another PFT Season.
Kate Quinnell (the 2010 and 2011 Leon Sinden Award-winner) also returns for a 3rd successive year, following her widely celebrated performances last year as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady and Ida in See How They Run!
Robin Harvey Edwards, who had a whale of a time in 2011 playing (amongst other roles) Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady and Sir Gregory Butt in Dr. Angelus is back for his 8th consecutive Season, whilst Jacqueline Dutoit, who delighted audiences last year with her wildly dotty portrayal of Miss Skillon in See How They Run!, also returns for her 8th Season.
And finally, anyone lucky enough to find one of the multitude of large, helium filled balloons that were launched into the air today, will discover that they have won two free tickets to see a PFT production this Summer. So keep an eye out on the skies above: you never know when your chance to win free tickets might come sailing by . . . !