This year the Watford Palace with be home to the world premieres of four new theatre productions featuring social injustice, the British Asian drag queen community, Watford Football Club in the 1984 Cop Final and an adaptation of a classic by Dodie Smith...

Watford Observer:

Good Dog by Arinzé Kene - Photo by Dan Patrick Hipkin (TEAfilms)

Set during the early noughties, good dog chronicles growing up in a multicultural community, and the everyday injustices that drive people to take back control. Because even the most patient among us can’t wait forever.

Told by the star of Netflix’s Crazyhead, BBC 1’s Eastenders and Channel 4’s Youngers, Arinzé Kene returns to writing for theatre for the first time since God’s Property in 2013.

Coming from artistic director Natalie Ibu’s tenure, good dog is being co-produced in association with Watford Palace Theatre. It opens there, running for six performances, before touring nationally for two weeks.

February 14 until February 18.

I Capture the Castle by Teresa Howard - Photo by Richard Lakos

Set in the Bohemian England of the 1930s, Dodie Smith’s worldwide bestselling classic is a warm and sharply funny coming-of-age story.  The script by Teresa Howard (Grock (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Possessed (a new musical play with Steven Edis)) tells the story through the eyes of seventeen year old narrator Cassandra, opening with the famous line: “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”

Cassandra is writing a diary about her eccentric family: her irritating elder sister Rose; her unconventional stepmother Topaz; her orphaned admirer Stephen; and her novelist father James, who hasn’t written a word in years.   They are behind with the rent for the tumbledown castle that seemed so romantic when they moved in. The roof is leaking, it never stops raining and the family is surviving on oatcakes and eggs.  But the new landlord is a wealthy young American, with an attractive younger brother, and spring is in the air.  Perhaps things are about to change.

The musical is based on the iconic novel by Dodie Smith, and co-produced with the Octagon Theatre Bolton and Kevin Wallace Limited, in association with Deborah Ward, being directed by Watford Palace’s own artistic director Brigid Larmour.

March 31 until April 22.

Watford Observer:

Miss Meena and The Masala Queens by Harvey Virdi

A new piece inspired by the British Asian drag queen community, created in consultation with LGBTQ community, will uncover the untold stories of men who choose a female persona by night. Behind the sparkling costumes and big Bollywood style lip-sync dance numbers Miss Meena & the Masala Queens will reveal a very human story about the meaning of family.

Director Pravesh Kumar said today “I’ve always planned that Rifco would tour a play that puts LGBTQ issues at the centre of the story. As a British Asian theatre-maker, it's always been really important to me that we continue to tell untold stories and give unrepresented voices a platform and make work that provokes as well as entertains.”

May 5 until May 13.

Watford Observer:

Elton John’s Glasses by David Farr

This 20th anniversary production returns to where it premiered in 1996, before moving to the West End and starring Brian Conley. The director for this Watford comedy about sibling rivalry, football and unlikely friendships is yet to be announced.

It’s 1996 and two brothers are about to meet for the first time in years. Dan is chasing a dream of musical stardom, and isn’t going to let the odd hiccup stop him. Like having no singer. And no instruments.

Bill is having his own personal crisis with only a VCR for company brooding over the death of Watford FC’s hopes of glory at the infamous 1984 Cup Final, thanks to a certain notorious pair of glasses...

The timing of Dan’s arrival is far from ideal as Bill’s just about to welcome his regular match day visitor Julie. Throw in Amy a young girl looking for a kick around on the street and the farcical chaos quickly unwinds.

September 27 until October 21

Watford Palace Theatre, 20 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1JZ. Details: 01923 235455