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From Downton Abbey to Coronation Street, Theatre Royal has it covered!

PUBLISHED: 10:58 02 November 2019

A Taste of Honey focuses on a mother-daughter relationship with themes of families living in poverty on the margins of society, single parenthood and a mixed race relationship    Picture: Marc Brenner

A Taste of Honey focuses on a mother-daughter relationship with themes of families living in poverty on the margins of society, single parenthood and a mixed race relationship Picture: Marc Brenner

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Two great British classics, featuring some of the UK's best-loved performers, are heading for the Norwich Theatre Royal stage, giving audiences a window into social history from two very different but funny and moving stories.

A Woman of No Importance follows the story of a house party attended by a host of upper-class guests who share character flaws and a penchant for outrageous behaviour   Picture: Robert DayA Woman of No Importance follows the story of a house party attended by a host of upper-class guests who share character flaws and a penchant for outrageous behaviour Picture: Robert Day

Two 'national treasures' with strong local links will appear at Norwich Theatre Royal from Monday until Saturday, November 9, as Liza Goddard and Roy Hudd take to the stage in Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance.

Hot on their heels the following week from Tuesday to Saturday, November 12-16, is the National Theatre's A Taste of Honey, starring West End leading lady Jodie Prenger, who came to fame when she won the role of Nancy in the West End production of Oliver! through the BBC television series I'd Do Anything.

A Taste of Honey is destined to go straight into the West End after it has finished its Norwich run, so this is a chance to catch a sensational production of this iconic drama.

Heading up the cast in A Woman of No Importance is Liza Goddard, who lives in north Norfolk, and is well-known for roles in Bergerac and Wild West, as well as being a distinguished stage and movie actress. She is also a former President of the Hawk and Owl Trust which has a base at Sculthorpe.

Liza Goddard will head up the cast in A Woman of No Importance   Picture: Robert DayLiza Goddard will head up the cast in A Woman of No Importance Picture: Robert Day

Her co-star, actor and entertainer Roy Hudd lives in Suffolk and has enjoyed a long career on stage, TV and radio and is also loved for his long-running BBC Radio 2 satirical show, The News Huddlines.

The play is directed by Dominic Dromgoole, the former artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe. His revival production for the critically-acclaimed Spring Theatre is in period dress, evocative of the sumptuous look of Downton Abbey, and chronicles Wilde's story of a house party attended by a host of upper-class guests who share character flaws and a penchant for outrageous behaviour. The playwright's legendary waspish wit and masterful language will give audiences plenty to chuckle about as the play explores the innocence and morality of the Edwardian age.

Oscar Wilde is thought to have penned the sharply satirical play during the period of his life in the early 1890s when he lived temporarily at the Hotel De Paris in Cromer and also at a rented farmhouse in the Felbrigg area. The play also makes use of a local place name with Lady Hunstanton hosting the party at the core of the play and the setting being Hunstanton Chase.

Fast forward several decades, and the National Theatre's A Taste of Honey brings us into the 1950s. Shelagh Delaney's taboo-breaking play is directed by award-winning theatre and opera director Bijan Sheibani, with design by Olivier Award-winning Hildegard Bechtler, and it features a live onstage band playing a mix of blues and jazz laced with Jodie Prenger in fine voice.

A Taste of Honey questions and comments on class, race, gender and sexual orientation in mid-20th century Britain   Picture: Marc BrennerA Taste of Honey questions and comments on class, race, gender and sexual orientation in mid-20th century Britain Picture: Marc Brenner

The actress is well-known to Norfolk audiences for her portrayal of Shirley Valentine at the Theatre Royal in September 2017 and Kelly in Fat Friends in March 2018.

A Taste of Honey offers an explosive celebration of the vulnerabilities and strengths of the female spirit in a deprived and restless world, and is set against a backdrop of working-class life in post-war Salford.

Questioning and commenting on class, race, gender and sexual orientation in mid-20th century Britain, it became known as a 'kitchen sink' drama, part of a new genre revolutionising British theatre at that time and giving rise to television soaps such as Coronation Street. Judged as radical for the period in which it was written, five decades later it remains relevant today.

The play focuses on a mother-daughter relationship with themes of families living in poverty on the margins of society, single parenthood and a mixed race relationship which was then considered as controversial. Its sharp and delightfully blunt Northern humour is wrapped up in a heart of gold.

Exclusive EDP reader offer: Top Price Bands A and B seats for A Woman of No Importance and A Taste Of Honey at Norwich Theatre Royal for just £25, saving up to £8.50 per seat. T&Cs apply. Contact the Box Office on 01603 630000 for more information.

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