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Drama, comedy, history and music come to the Merlin in July!

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AUTHOR Andrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning novel ‘Small Island’ comes to life in an epic new theatre adaptation. 

Experience the play filmed live on stage as part of the National Theatre Live’s 10th birthday and broadcast at the Merlin on Thursday 4th July at 7 pm. Small Island embarks on a journey from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury. 

The play follows three intricately connected stories. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK. A company of 40 actors take to the stage of the National Theatre in this timely and moving story. Tickets are £16, £10.50 concessions and the running time is 170 minutes.

On Friday 5th July at 7.30pm, Tom Binns presents Ivan Brackenbury and other characters. Writer and comedian Tom Binns’ unique and original comedy shows have been described by The Times, Telegraph and Time Out as “comedy genius” and he’s the star and creator of his own Friday night BBC1 comedy series, Hospital People and 8/10 Cats Do Countdown’s favourite on Channel 4. With a run-time of 90 minutes with interval, tickets are £16.50 and £14.50 concessions.

Outdoor theatre on a summer’s evening is always magical and Miracle Theatre’s ‘A Perfect World’ on Tuesday 9th July at 7 pm features a feisty young woman who ventures into a Boys’ Own world of undiscovered jungles, treasure maps, campfires and penknives on an action-packed adventure.Leading her team of quarrelsome explorers she stumbles into a bountiful paradise, whose inhabitants seem entirely peaceful, productive and fulfilled. Is this tranquil place the best of all possible worlds? Or is it all too good to be true?

On Thursday July 11th there are two chances to catch Jazz Wizards with the Mark Lockhart Quartet at both 4 pm and 7.30pm, featuring British jazz legend, Mark Lockheart, and Frome’s very own Dave Smith on drums. The common ground of improvisation and a deep regard for the jazz tradition has brought these special musicians together on a journey of sonic explorations, heavy grooves and intricate melodies. Tickets are £12.50 and £10.50 concessions.

Keen local historians won’t want to miss ‘Old Somerset and Wiltshire on Film’, on Friday 12th July at 7.30pm, presented by David Parker. David has worked for many years in television production and specialises in illustrated talks, particularly, about re-discovered archive recordings, particularly with a West Country theme. He has appeared in many festivals with illustrated talks on Laurie Lee, the Flying Scotsman, World War Two and more. In this presentation, David has unearthed some fascinating footage on Somerset and Wiltshire which will amuse and engage. There will be a chance to ask questions afterwards. Tickets are £12, concessions £10.

Finally, recorded live at Glyndebourne in 2016, a screening of Rossini’s Barber of Seville brings a varied Festival week to a close. Mischief and mayhem run riot in Rossini’s most popular comedy. Figaro, the renowned barber, has a cunning that knows no bounds. His playful energy is brought to life in director Annabel Arden’s sparkling and springing production. This is also another chance to catch Danielle de Niese who plays the determined Rosina. Tickets are £16 and £10.50 and the running time is 180 minutes.

Pictured: Small Island.

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