Sewell Barn getting ready to raise curtain on Brighton Beach Memoirs

Final rehearsals are under way at the Sewell Barn in Norwich for the theatre's next production, Brighton Beach Memoirs.

Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical drama, set in post-Depression New York, opens on Thursday night.

The 100-seat theatre is based in the grounds of Sewell Park College – formerly the Blyth-Jex School – on Constitution Hill and has produced more than 200 plays since being founded in 1980.

The production director for Sewell Barn's latest show, Jenny Hobson, said: 'I absolutely love Neil Simon.

'He's witty, he's sophisticated but there's also a deeper subtext to the play that comes out more as the play goes on.' The play sees central character, Eugene, confide in the audience as he writes his journal, charting the sometimes frustrating and sometimes funny situations in which he finds himself as he moves through adolescence to adulthood.

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Jenny continued: 'Rehearsals are going really well.

'I've been delighted with the whole cast right from the word go. They've really worked very hard indeed.

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'People think that comedy is easy. Actually it's the most difficult genre. But all in all it's a really good evening out which, in times of recession, is exactly what people need.

'We think the audience will have a great time watching the production and we're really looking forward to it.'

Rehearsals are also ongoing for the theatre's subsequent productions, You Never Can Tell by George Bernard Shaw and Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, which open at the Sewell Barn in June and July respectively.

The theatre is also about to unveil its 2012-13 season of plays.

Michelle Montague, one of the theatre's joint-artistic directors, said: 'We are incredibly excited. Our new programme reflects our conviction to deliver highly varied and imaginative theatre.

'We will continue to offer a unique arena to our audiences and are confident that they will not be disappointed.'

Brighton Beach Memoirs runs between this Thursday and Saturday and then next Wednesday to Saturday, all at 7.30pm, with a 2.30pm matinee on the final Saturday. Tickets can be bought from the customer services desk at Jarrolds, on the second floor, or by phoning 01603 697248. Go to the website for further information.

- Has your amateur dramatic group got a new show coming up? Contact Local Life editor David Freezer on 01603 772418 or

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