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By This is Dorset  |  Posted: March 26, 2010

A dramatic scene from The Mermaid Princess, at Poole Lighthouse next week.

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Innocent tuft

RICHARD Herring, who grew up in Cheddar where his father was headmaster of Kings of Wessex School, returns to the Brewhouse Theatre next Wednesday in his newest solo show, Hitler Moustache.

Reclaiming that iconic Schnurrbart for comedy, he muses on whether racists are closer than Liberals to believing that all people are the same, and why that innocent square inch of facial hair has taken the blame for Nazism.

"It's wickedly clever," says The Guardian, and it starts at 8pm.

Bloody quest for home

GEORGE Mann, who was named the best solo performer on last year's Edinburgh Fringe, comes to the Ustinov in Bath next week with three performances of his solo show, Odyssey.

Subtitled One Man's Bloody Quest for Home this is Greek myth retold as you've never seen it before. Odyssey is the story of one man's epic quest to reunite with his family and seek bloody revenge on those who wronged him.

It is performed in Bath from 1st to 3rd April.

Children's favourite

PETE Hillier, better known as Boogie Pete, star of the CBeebies show Boogie Beebies returns to The Brewhouse on Easter Saturday with two shows for the family.

At 11am and 1.30pm he'll be performing favourite routines from the television show, including Go, Go Mango, Hey Monkey and Ocean Motion.

Boogie Pete Live is an interactive performance, encouraging children to get out of their seats and dance. There is also magic and some silliness as the audience learns new songs and dances. Boogie Pete encourages movement and gives a memorable introduction to the performing arts.

Stein and Toklas

THE 90-seat Brewery Theatre in Bristol hosts the world premiere of The Love Song of Alice B Toklas, running from next Wednesday 31st March to Sunday 11th April.

Written by Bristol playwright Briony Waite for the Femmes du Monde theatre company, the play celebrates the lives of the notorious and highly original writer Gertrude Stein and her life partner Alice, author of the Alice. B. Toklas Cookbook, which contains her famous recipe for Hashish Fudge.

It is set in rural France in 1938, an increasingly dangerous place and time for this Jewish lesbian couple. This witty and moving play follows the two women (played by Trish Ferguson-Jay and Prue Willmott) as they reminisce, with humour and no few squabbles, about their shared and individual memories of the salon they developed in Paris and their friendships with Picasso, Apollinaire, Matisse and Braque in pre-war Paris.

Femmes du Monde is a south-west based company producing high quality theatre which seeks to encourage and develop local and regional writers, actors, directors and theatre practitioners. The company focuses on new writing which represents and values the experience of women

Performances at the Brewery, near the Tobacco Factory in Bedminster, start at 8.15. There are no performances between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Legendary performer

DES O'Connor had his own television show for more than 45 years, setting a world record.

He has recorded 36 albums, recently celebrated his 78th birthday, and claims to be the only O'Connor ever to have had a bar mitzvah.

Local audiences can see this legendary performer on stage at Yeovil Octagon next Thursday 1st April at 7.30pm.

More Coward at Bath

HOT on the heels of Private Lives, Robert Bathurst and Belinda Lang bring Noël Coward's autobiographical comedy Present Laughter to the Theatre Royal in Bath next week.

Flamboyant and self-obsessed actor Garry Essendine is about to embark on an African tour, and he's gathered his entourage around on the eve of his departure. But a few unexpected guests arrive to ensure that his plans are scupperred.

Garry's extra-marital affairs are legendary, and he is unable to turn off the charm, so all sorts of unlikely people fall prey to his outrageous behaviour. The only people who can manage him are his ex-wife Liz and his loyal secretary, and they team up to ensure he gets on the liner, as planned.

On the evening in question his flat is besieged by friends, lovers and interlopers from whom he cannot extricate himself.

Robert Bathurst, well known to television and theatre audiences from Cold Feet, Joking Apart, Hornblower, My Dad's the Prime Minister and the recent BBC serialisation of Jane Austen's Emma, plays the egocentric Garry.

Belinda Lang both directs and takes the role of long-suffering secretary Monica, with Serena Evans as Liz and Virginia Stride as the peculiar housekeeper Miss Erikson.

The roles of the infatuated ingenue and her bombastic mother, the jilted actress and the obsessive would-be playwright, as well as various friends, are taken by Emma Davies, Clive Arrindell, Tim Bouverie, Rikki Chamberlain, Dorothea Myer-Bennett and Tim Wallers.

Present Laughter is at Bath from Monday 29th March to Easter Saturday 3rd April.

Laughter in the Rain

THE musical of the Neil Sedaka story, Laughter in the Rain, comes to the Hippodrome in Bristol next week from Monday 29th March to Saturday 3rd April.

Sedaka's career has spanned six decades and dozens of hit singles, making him one of the 20th century's greatest pop icons. He's been inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, has a street named after him in his "hometown" of Brooklyn, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

His career started in the innocent 1950s and his pop hits, including Breaking up is Hard to Do, Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, Solitaire, Calendar Girl, Amarillo and Laughter in the Rain, provided the musical backdrop for a generation.

His first hit Oh Carol, was written for his then girlfriend, Carole King. Laughter in The Rain is the story of his triumph against the odds.

Fox and Trollope

EDWARD Fox will be at Bath Theatre Royal this Sunday, 28th March, with two performances of his solo show An Evening with Anthony Trollope.

Compiled and directed by Richard Digby-Day, the show gives a dramatic insight into Trollope's life, portraying the great novelist through extracts from his best-known works interspersed with accounts from his autobiography.

Trollope's novels, written in the mid 19th Century and set mainly in his imaginary county of Barsetshire, portray a well-observed, ironic and human picture of Victorian life. His inspiration was taken from many cities and towns in the south west, notably Exeter and Salisbury, near where Edward Fox lives.

Among the characters that the popular actor brings to life will The Warden Septimus Harding, Dr Grantly, The Bishop and Mrs Proudie, and the famous hypocrite Mr Obadiah Slope, all from The Barchester Chronicles.

Performances at Bath on Sunday start at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. GPW

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