Black-eyed Susan

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

After a two-year break and £5½m restoration programme the Theatre Royal opened in spectacular style last night.

Getting things off to a rousing start was Sir Timothy West, who gave a light-hearted prologue aimed at the audiences of the 1800s but still perhaps relevant today.

This first production of the new-look theatre was Black-Eyed Susan, written by Douglas Jerrold and was the most performed play of the 19th century.

And it was a most fitting opening night to show off the fully-restored theatre in all its glory. There were some tremendous performances, including Janet Greaves as Dolly, along with her wicked sidekick, Luke Shaw, who played Gnatbrain.

Bringing on the boos and hisses was Steven Osborne as Doggrass, but breaking everybody's heart was Susan, played by Sophia Linden. Philip Ralph simply excelled as William and had a great stage presence.

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A play which will make you laugh and bring you close to tears at times.

It was a night to remember, and the unscripted tribute to the director of the theatre, Colin Blumenau, brought a standing ovation.