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Batty take on The Scarlet Pipstrelle comes to Diss

PUBLISHED: 09:36 29 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:36 29 December 2018

Julian Harries, Dougal Lee and Ben Waring in The Scarlet Pipstrelle, Common Ground's Christmas show coming to Diss. Picture: Julian Harries

Julian Harries, Dougal Lee and Ben Waring in The Scarlet Pipstrelle, Common Ground's Christmas show coming to Diss. Picture: Julian Harries

Archant

With their love of genre send-ups, it’s no surprise that Julian Harries and Pat Whymark are raiding their love of classic cinema and period literature in their Diss-bound Christmas holiday production, The Scarlet Pipstrelle.

The Scarlet Pipstrelle, Common Ground's Christmas show, coming to Diss. Picture: Common Ground TheatreThe Scarlet Pipstrelle, Common Ground's Christmas show, coming to Diss. Picture: Common Ground Theatre

Suffolk’s iconic Christmas show creators, who also write the Eastern Angles Christmas Show, have come up with a batty tale about knitting circles and the French revolution which arrives at Diss Corn Hall on January 5.

Co-writer and director Pat said: “This year, the frame of the story is set against the backdrop of the East Ipswich Ladies Crochet Society’s weekly meeting. They have decided to do a Christmas entertainment to raise funds for the local bat conservation group – but revolution is in the air.

“Through the magic of crochet, they take us back to Paris, 1793 and the French Revolution. Heads are rolling, and no-one is safe from the roving finger of fate, the thumb of tyranny and the wrist of injustice. But help is at hand for the victims of The Terror, in the form of that dashing master of disguise and echo-location, The Scarlet Pipistrelle, a mysterious Englishman, who has already undertaken several rescues of condemned aristocrats. Who knows, perhaps this time, he might actually succeed.”

The cast of The Scarlet Pipstrelle, Common Ground's Christmas show, coming to Diss. Picture: Julian HarriesThe cast of The Scarlet Pipstrelle, Common Ground's Christmas show, coming to Diss. Picture: Julian Harries

As with all Harries and Whymark shows, the script is just the starting point and much of the laughter is worked up in the rehearsal room where the actors play with the material in order to get the maximum fun out of any situation said co-writer and director Julian Harries, who was recently in Diss playing The Ancient Mariner in the previous Common Ground Theatre Company production.

Joining Julian is Dougal Lee, Estrid Barton and Emily Bennett, who joins the company for her third production, after last year’s Sherlock Holmes & The Hooded Lance and The Mariner.

Pat adds that the beauty of working with actors who know one another is that they can work quickly and don’t have to spend time establishing a rapport. But, she says that it is also important to have new blood amongst the cast as well and Emily Bennett has introduced them to a new actor Ben Waring who impressed them on audition. “Emily herself was a real find last year, especially musically, she is just so quick. She comes up with music on the spot and she is a great actress as well.”

• The Scarlet Pipstrelle is at Diss Corn Hall on January 5, 4pm and 7.30pm, £14 (£7 under-21/income support), 01379 652241, disscornhall.co.uk

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