Loading Events

Coming Soon

Kinds of Kindness (18)

July 18th - July 19th

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on 16th July 2024 at 12:00 am

One event on 18th July 2024 at 12:00 am

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark

July 18th 10:30 am

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:30 am on Thursday, repeating until 18th July 2024

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark II

July 18th 1:30 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 1:30 pm on Thursday, repeating until 18th July 2024

Summer Term ’24: The Big Jig

July 18th 6:45 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 6:45 pm on Thursday, repeating until 18th July 2024

Event Calendar

Calendar of Events

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

S Sun

4 events,

Treasure (12A)

Treasure (12A)

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Parents & Wobblers (Monday)

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Chance to Dance

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Chance to Dance Flow

3 events,

Recurring

Hard Miles (12A)

Recurring

Four Little Adults (18)

3 events,

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark Xtra

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Parents & Wobblers (Wednesday)

7 events,

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark II

Recurring

Four Little Adults (18)

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: The Big Jig

Recurring

Hard Miles (12A)

3 events,

The Bikeriders (15)

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Gentle Dance

Mozart: The Magic Flute

1 event,

3 events,

Recurring

Theatre Tours

Recurring

Wilding (PG)

3 events,

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Parents & Wobblers (Monday)

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Chance to Dance

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Chance to Dance Flow

4 events,

What the Butler Saw

The Bikeriders (15)

Recurring

Wilding (PG)

Recurring

Hounds (15)

4 events,

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark Xtra

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Parents & Wobblers (Wednesday)

7 events,

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark II

Recurring

Wilding (PG)

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: The Big Jig

Recurring

Hounds (15)

4 events,

A Quiet Place: Day One (15)

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Gentle Dance

Oye Santana

4 events,

Kinds of Kindness (18)

Money For Nothing

3 events,

Rhythm of the Dance – 25th Anniversary

4 events,

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Parents & Wobblers (Monday)

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Chance to Dance

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Chance to Dance Flow

3 events,

Kinds of Kindness (18)

Recurring

Here You Come Again – The New Dolly Parton Musical

7 events,

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: CHANCE TO DANCE II

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark Xtra

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Parents & Wobblers (Wednesday)

Legend: The Music of Bob Marley

8 events,

Kinds of Kindness (18)

Recurring
Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark II

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: The Big Jig

NT Live: Present Laughter

Tony Blackburn: Sounds of the 60’s Live

5 events,

Fly Me To The Moon (12A)

Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Gentle Dance

blur: to The End (15)

6 events,

Inside Out 2 (U)

Recurring

The Lion That Lost its Roar! in Priory Park

-

Changing Places Awareness Day

Play/Create Workshop

2 events,

Recurring

Inside Out 2 (U)

2 events,

Recurring

Inside Out 2 (U)

2 events,

Fiddler on the Roof

3 events,

Recurring

Inside Out 2 (U)

2 events,

Twisters (12A)

Twisters (12A)

3 events,

Midlands Short Film Club: LGBTQIA + Stories (15)

3 events,

Pride: 10th Anniversary Screening (15)

Desert Hearts (18)

2 events,

Recurring

Inside Out 2 (U)

2 events,

Recurring

Inside Out 2 (U)

2 events,

Recurring

Inside Out 2 (U)

2 events,

Recurring

Inside Out 2 (U)

3 events,

Despicable Me 4 (U)

Recurring
Recurring

Summer Term ’24: Gentle Dance

3 events,

The Real Ken Dodd, The Man I Loved

2 events,

Event Search

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Party Games! by Michael McManus

June 25th - June 29th

 

AN YVONNE ARNAUD ORIGINAL PRODUCTION

Party Games! 

Starring Matthew Cottle, Debra Stephenson and Ryan Early

A hilariously acerbic new comedy by Michael McManus, the writer of Maggie & Ted, directed by Joanna Read.

Starring Matthew Cottle (of BAFTA nominated BBC sitcom Game On and Channel 4’s hit comedy The Windsors), Debra Stephenson (Bad Girls, Coronation Street) and Ryan Early (Coronation Street, The Archers), Party Games! puts political leadership on the ledge and goes inside the chaos of government to see whether advisers do advise and if ministers can decide.

This is the UK, 2026, John Waggner newly elected leader of the hastily formed centrist One Nation Party presides over a hung parliament, a discontented electorate and striking cheese makers.

He and his power-hungry MPs must cling onto authority through whatever shaky means possible. Can one man, a Svengali spin doctor and some dodgy data unite the country? And what role can his wife, the King and a large spider play in keeping the lights on?

 

***** ‘an exciting new play with humour running through from beginning to end.’
‘Matthew Cottle skilfully plays the Prime Minister.’
‘McManus gives us a revealing insider’s view of government that will have you belly laughing throughout.’
Fairy Powered Productions

 

**** ‘a light-hearted yet thought-provoking political satire’
‘The design is simply exceptional’
Adventures in Theatreland

 

‘Joanna Read’s pleasingly ebullient, brightly coloured production’ The Telegraph

‘The always watchable Matthew Cottle gives all’ The Times

‘Party Games! bears the power play and insider knowledge of a Yes, Prime Minister’ The Times

‘Whip smart and half a life time around politics, Michael McManus has the keenest eye for political intrigue and humour.’ David Cameron

 

Age Guidance 12+



Photo Cedit: Craig Fuller


ACCESS PERFORMANCE:

The performance on Wednesday 26th June at 7.30pm is BSL interpreted.  For the best view of the interpreter please choose low numbered seats towards the front right-hand side of the Stalls (as you face the stage).  For further information or advice please email zoeH@malvern-theatres.co.uk or contact the Box Office on 01684 892277 (Monday – Saturday, 10.30am-8pm).


POST-SHOW TALK:

There will be a post-show talk on Thursday 27th June (7.30pm performance) with writer Michael McManus. FREE ADMISSION to ticket holders.

Details

Start:
June 25th
End:
June 29th
Event Categories:
, , , ,

Venue

Festival Theatre
Grange Road
Malvern, WR14 3HB

Other

Price:
Wednesday & Thursday Matinees £34.72, £32.48, £29.12, £25.76 & £22.40
Tuesday -Thursday Evenings & Saturday Matinee: £36.96, £34.72, £31.36, £28 & £24.64
Friday & Saturday Evenings: £39.20, £36.96, £33.60, £30.24 & £26.88
Members discounts apply
£2 concessions (over 60s /unwaged) Under 26s £16.80
Price includes 12% booking fee
Show Times:
Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th June Eves 7.30pm; Wed, Thurs & Sat Mats 2.30pm

Event Reviews

  • Showtime! John Phillpott

    JUST in case you’ve been asleep for the last five weeks, I have something to say that might rouse you from your slumbers – a rather momentous event is occurring next Thursday. Yes, really.

    That being the case, the staging of this play at Malvern might be construed as being rather appropriate.

    There can be few writers better qualified to create a political satire than Michael McManus. It’s said that the best work is created by those who write about what they know, and this arguably applies to the former aide to the politically powerful.

    Or so one might think. There’s no doubt that he’s slithered about in the same swamp as big beasts Margaret Thatcher and Edward Heath, so he should theoretically have first-hand knowledge.

    Mind you, it probably takes one to know one. Watching this play, I was left with the distinct impression that, while on the surface he lifts the lid, to some extent he’s pulled his punches.

    Perhaps better not annoy the political class too much, just in case I ever want to return to the fold. It takes one to know one.

    That said, we the audience – and of course also the electorate wearily anticipating the big day – were possibly glad the barbs didn’t rip too much flesh, while at the same time some of us might have occasionally reflected on the tellingly prophetic lyrics of that great Who number Won’t Get Fooled Again.

    So - what’s in store for us? A second referendum on Brexit to get the right result? Or maybe even a third if the Great Unwashed screws up again? The partial privatisation of the NHS – oh no, not our NHS!

    One thing won’t change though. The blobs in the Civil Service are the ones who will continue to really run the country. Business will be as usual, make no mistake.

    All right, McManus gets a few laughs here and there, perhaps the best being the gag revolving around a tarantula spider called Theresa. All the same, there is a sense of grim resignation in the auditorium on this wonderful Malvern midsummer night which arguably keeps things a tad subdued.

    Matthew Cottle as Prime Minister John Waggner seamlessly reprises his window cleaner role in The Windsors, clearly an amalgam of John Major and some anonymous grammar school master from way-back-when who’s just been hit by an ink pellet fired from the direction of Jones minor.

    He’s the leader of the One Nation Party, which although having a populist title, seems anything but all that popular.

    Meanwhile, the chalk dust and mortar board feel is further emphasised by a series of flatulence gags, which I thought completely irrelevant and random. Aged 12, I would have laughed like a drain, but being no longer that age, I felt these were just ploys to get the guffaws. Of course, this being Malvern, the roof was raised every time a trumpet rattled the rafters. Silence in class!

    There are strong performances from Jason Callender (Luke), Debra Stephenson as deputy prime minister Lisa Williams, while Natalie Dunne as Anne never fails to mop the boss’s fevered brow and generally cluck about in his vicinity.

    However, my favourite character by a Westminster mile was Seth, played with chip shop levels of grease by Ryan Early. He’s the real power behind the throne, the spin doctor with a Liam Gallagher swagger that almost eclipses his North London nastiness. I can’t imagine who that’s based on. Maybe you know.

    Wading through a morass of predictable pokes at the political class, there is however, one rather ominous portent of what the future might hold for us plebs.

    So, meet Medianne, featuring the voice of the aforesaid La Stephenson. Bearing in mind that this play is set a couple of years into the future, she is a visitor from a world of artificial intelligence in which our species may well be losing the plot.

    For rather than being the servant of the human race, she is actually its mistress, a demonic digital Medusa who dictates the course of all events, to be unquestioningly executed by flesh and blood governmental robots.

    And that is certainly no laughing matter. So roll on next Thursday... let's get it over with.

  • Fairy Powered Productions - Courie Amado Juneau

    A political comedy on tour in late June 2024… the timing is almost too perfect – it’s as if someone had insider knowledge about the timing of this current General Election. And if you enjoyed that Have I Got News For You inspired ribbing you will love this play.

    As pointed out in the programme, writer Michael McManus used to be a Tory aide. It shows. The “One Nation” fictional party of this comedy is obviously inspired by the “one-nation conservatism” concept of recent years.

    Matthew Cottle plays newly minted PM John Waggner, catching the buffoonery, tendency to get distracted by earthly pleasures when serious matters need attending to and lack of political savvy (clearly inspired by Boris Johnson) to a tee. His subtle but hilarious use of cake at one point was worth the price of admission on its own and perfectly displayed his exceptional comedy pedigree. A delicious performance!

    Anne, wife to the PM, was obviously a Carrie Johnson take off and Natalie Dunne was pitch perfect in the role. Very much the grounding force that her husband needed, she also had some witty and insightful lines to relish. Seth (Ryan Early) was clearly modeled on puppet master extraodinaire Dominic Cummings and his interplay with the ladies orbiting the PM was insightfully handled and suitably Machiavellian. Debra Stephenson as Deputy PM Lisa gave us a commanding presence to round out this splendid triumvirate.

    The rest of the cast were also exceptional; Krissi Bohn (as Civil Servant Candice), William Oxborrow (as Chief Whip and other roles (leader of the SNP was a highlight) and Luke (Jason Callender), all giving our playwright the opportunity to show the ruthlessness of politics where friends are dispensed with once necessity trumps loyalty and also the grinding inevitability of Westminster’s machinations. Just like Yes, (Prime) Minister all those years ago, this play is viciously cutting in it’s authenticity. Quite an achievement and one that is as entertaining whether you have an interest in politics or not. Bringing the satire up to date, AI, social media and technology are spotlit and – very possibly just like the real thing – have a pivotal role to play in proceedings.

    The set was a rather inventive concoction from designer Francis O’Connor; a large Union Flag stylized backdrop that highlights events coming apart at the seams in a most subtle, witty and telling manner.

    Real life figures like Diane Abbot make surprising cameos, which gives the work a kind of parallel universe feel. But, then, when we consider the political landscape of the past 14 years perhaps it’s not so fanciful after all. And did the play successfully lampoon the tomfoolery and missteps of the current election cycle? You bet!

    Although this is a hard hitting satire that is thought provoking, it is done in such a light and frothy way that it’s a sheer delight to watch. The genuinely laugh out loud script fizzes along at a fair old rate leaving one wanting more – for many the polar opposite of the current election campaigns. If you’ve had enough of politics and politicians at the moment this will be just the tonic you need to help you survive until the 5th July. Hilarious stuff and unreservedly recommended.

  • A View from Behind the Arras - Jane Lush

    This is a hilariously acerbic new comedy by Michael McManus the writer of Maggie and Ted directed by Joanna Read.

    The play stars Matthew Cottle, as John, Debra Stephenson as Lisa and Ryan Early as Seth.

    Other cast members include Krussi Bohm as Candice, Jason Callander as Luke, Natalie Dunn as Anne and William Oxborrow as Chief Whip. Also in the cast are Shaun Chambers, Alistair Chrisholm, and Erica Tavares Kouassi.

    The year is 2026. John Waggner, played in typical prime ministerial fashion by Matthew Cottle is the newly elected leader of the hastily formed centrist One Nation Party, presiding over a hung parliament, a discontented electorate and striking cheese makers.

    He and his power hungry MPs must cling on to authority through whatever shaky means possible, and we get a glimpse into the complete chaos of government.

    There are recognisable traits of government ministers we’ve all seen regularly on daytime TV over the last few years with familiar and poignant references to lockdowns, curfews, Brexit and other ineffective strategies that we have grown to accept as the norm.

    The prime minister does not help the situation by failing to read papers that are sent to him, despite the constant attempts of his wife Anne played by Natalie Dunn to keep things in order. He is also dyslexic, mistaking words like logistics for log sticks and nuclear for unclear, not a good trait in a Prime minister. (To add to this he had no Sky TV as a child!)

    Things come to a head when it is reported that the King’s car has hit a protester, and the government are at a complete loss as to what to do.

    Thrown into the mix also is the PM’s updated version of Alexa, Medianne, who makes ominous predictions, outrageous statements and often answers back.

    This strong and versatile cast work hard to create the behind the scenes mayhem of this utterly disastrous One Nation party, under the leadership of a completely incompetent prime minister with no sense of direction, and the utter mayhem which ensues.

    This light-hearted but thought provoking satire runs to 29th June.

  • The View From The Stalls - Pete Phillips

    A bang up to date satire on political life

    The Gods must have been looking down favourably when Michael McManus’s new comedy Party Games! was scheduled to do its UK tour. Just a few weeks in and the country, unexpectedly, is going to the polls for a General Election. Which is what this comedy is all about. Set slightly into the future, the traditional parties have all but been eliminated leaving the newly-formed One Nation party to take up the challenge of running the country. The trouble is, it all looks rather familiar…

    The new Prime Minister John Waggner (played by Matthew Cottle) is something of a buffoon, who can hardly believe that his party is in power, albeit needing an alliance with the SNP, and is likely to spout Latin at any moment. Sounds familiar? It should do, as McManus has many years of political experience under his belt and so is well placed to present to us a version of what we guess really does go on behind the closed doors of politics. So alongside him is his trusty but devious Chief of Staff and Spin Doctor Seth (Ryan Early) who would travel to Durham for an eye test without a qualm and his wife Anne (Natalie Dunn) who at least attempts to keep everything on an even keel. His Deputy is played by impressionist Debra Stephenson who is also the voice of the Alexa-soundalike Medianne with the rest of the PM’s political team made up of Krissi Bohn, Jason Callender William Oxborrow and Shaun Chambers. Most of the politicians of note from the past few years are mentioned in the script in one way or another – some of them becoming the name of a tarantula which has deadly consequences…

    With so many real-life incidents to potentially include, it must have been a rare treat for the author to be able to choose from such ripe pickings. And the script is always evolving in a similar way to Drop The Dead Donkey did just before transmission. References are kept bang up to date, the latest mentions being for the date-of-election betting scandal whilst the script also includes, pantomime-style, references to both Great Malvern and Worcester. And a few farts for good measure!

    The after-show chat with both the author and Joanna Read, the show’s Director, gave the audience the welcome opportunity to delve further into the origins of the show and how it has developed since it first started touring in ways which could not have been imagined during the initial writing stage.

    You might think “it couldn’t happen here”. Watch this space over the next week or so!