Mayhem, mystery, murder – and a magical cat


Wiltshire Creative’s autumn season has something for all tastes – from comedy to A Christmas Carol, puppetry to pantomime

Wooster (Luke Barton) and Jeeves (Patrick Warner) in rehearsal for Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense. Photograph by Ash Mills

Wiltshire Creative’s autumn programme – at its two venues, Salisbury Playhouse and Salisbury Arts Centre – is packed with stand-up comedy, children’s entertainment, drama and one of the best-loved of all pantomimes. The season curtain-raiser is a free community event at the Playhouse on Saturday 2nd September, from 10am to 1pm, with activities for children, insight into programming for the autumn, a look at the work Wiltshire Creative does as a charity and opportunities to win tickets for this year’s pantomime, Dick Whittington.

Perfect Nonsense
This autumn marks a welcome return to in-house productions at the theatre, with curtain up on 1st September for a hilarious romp with PG Wodehouse’s greatest characters, the air-head Bertie Jeeves and his indispensable valet, Jeeves. Running to 23rd September, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense has a deliciously farcical premise: Bertie Wooster comes up with a super wheeze to put on a play at a country house weekend at Totleigh Towers.
The action revolves around Bertie’s efforts to play matchmaker between his newt-fancying friend Gussie Fink-Nottle and the girl of his dreams, Madeline Bassett, with predictable opposition and disruption from Bertie’s formidable Aunt Dahlia and the appalling Sir Watkyn Bassett.
There is a cast of three – Luke Barton plays Wooster, with Patrick Warner as Jeeves and Alistair Cope as Aunt Dahlia’s butler Seppings, playing around 12 characters between them. The trio have been enjoying the rehearsal period enormously – ‘It is SO funny,’ says Patrick.

Girl on the Train
The delightful Wodehouse comedy is followed by the thriller, The Girl on the Train, based on the best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins (and subsequent film), which runs from 19th October through to 11th November.
The Girl on the Train is the story of an ordinary young woman – every day on her way to work, Rachel watches a seemingly perfect couple from the train window, dreaming of her perfect love story. Suddenly she finds herself embroiled in a dark, twisted drama, when the woman she has been watching goes missing mysteriously. Was Rachel responsible? Where did the blood come from? If only Rachel could remember the missing pieces in her memory, if only she hadn’t had too much to drink…

Panto time
The season culminates with Dick Whittington (and his magical cat), from 25th November to 7th January 2024, directed by artistic director Gareth Machin and written by Plested, Brown and Wilsher, the trio responsible for last year’s successful Cinderella.
Other autumn events at the two venues include comedy with Phil Wang, Fiona Allen. Chris McCausland, Geoff Norcott and Living Spit’s A Christmas Carol. For music fans there are perfromances from Swinging At The Cotton Club, The Unravelling Wilburys, Tom Robinson and Mad Dog McRea.


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