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The West End comes to Tunbridge Wells: Rent and A Judgement in Stone

PUBLISHED: 13:20 08 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:20 08 May 2017

Billy Cullum (centre) as Mark with the cast of Rent (c) Mark Crockett

Billy Cullum (centre) as Mark with the cast of Rent (c) Mark Crockett

Archant

You won't need to trek up to London's theatres this month, as both Judgement in Stone and Rent are on stage in Tunbridge Wells

The cast of A Judgement in Stone (c) Mark YeomanThe cast of A Judgement in Stone (c) Mark Yeoman

A new production adapted from one of the most celebrated works of the writer often hailed as the successor to Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell, is presented by Bill Kenwright at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells this May.

Widely considered one of her greatest works, A Judgement in Stone is Rendell at her thrilling best. Eunice struggles to fit in and when she joins a wealthy family as their housekeeper, the long-hidden reason for her awkwardness leads inexorably to a terrible tale of murder in cold blood – on Valentine’s Day.

A brilliant plot unravels a lifetime of deceit, despair and cover-ups which, when revealed, brings a shocking revelation almost as grizzly as murder itself.

The star cast includes award-winning TV and stage favourite Andrew Lancell, best known to TV audiences for his portrayal of villainous businessman Frank Foster in Coronation Street and as DI Neil Manson in more than 300 episodes of The Bill.

Andrew is joined by Sophie Ward, who played the ill-fated love interest of Young Sherlock Holmes and also Dr Helen Trent in long-running ITV drama Heartbeat.

The Royal spa town also welcomes movie icon Shirley Anne Field, whose breakthrough role came when she got the part of Tina the Beauty Queen opposite Sir Laurence Oliver in The Entertainer.

Anthony Costa, who shot to fame in chart-topping boy band Blue in early 2000, has since starred on stage in the lead role of Mickey Johnstone in the West End production of the long-running musical Blood Brothers, also directed and produced by Bill. The production is directed by Roy Marsden.

Ruth Rendell who died in May 2015, was an exceptional crime writer and is credited with having revitalised the mystery genre. A Judgement In Stone was also filmed twice, as The Housekeeper (1986) starring Rita Tushingham and as La Cérémonie (1995), directed by Claude Chabrol, starring Sandrine Bonnaire.

In sharp contrast, the new 20th-anniversary production of Jonathan Larson’s ground-breaking Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical Rent is following closely on Rendells’ heels.

Inspired by Puccini’s opera La Bohème, Rent won four Tony Awards, six Drama Desk Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1996. It ran on Broadway for 12 years, from 1996 to 2008, premiered in London’s West End in 1998 at the Shaftesbury Theatre and was adapted into a film in 2005.

Larson’s world is inhabited by a group of bohemian artists who struggle to maintain their friendships and their non-conformist ideals in New York’s East Village. Facing their problems head on, they make personal self discoveries and find what really matters most in life.

The much-loved score features songs such as Seasons of Love, Take Me or Leave Me, What You Own, One Song Glory, La Vie Bohème, Without You, I’ll Cover You, Out Tonight and I Should Tell You.

The new production, which stars Javar La’trial Parker as Benjamin Coffin III and Joshua Dever, who will be joining Ross Hunter as Roger Davis, Billy Cullum as Mark Cohen and Shanay Holmes, has choreography by Lee Proud, musical direction by Phil Cornwell and set design by Olivier Award-winner Anna Fleischle.

Find out more

A Judgement In Stone

15-20 May, signed performance 18 May

Rent

23-27 May, signed performance 25 May

Box office 01892 530613

www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk

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