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Niamh Bracken - Pitlochry Festival

Thu, 10 May 2018

NIAMH BRACKEN has begun rehearsals for Pitlochry Festival Theatre's summer season. She will be starring as Velma Kelly in CHICAGO which runs from 25th May - 20th October. Alongside this, she will be playing Kathleen Skinner in BEFORE THE PARTY (from 19th July - 11th October) and Harriet in QUALITY STREET (from 7th June - 12th October).

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CHICAGO

Chicago. The Roaring 20s. The Jazz Age. And for the homicidally inclined, a new career option beckons - celebrity!

When ambitious chorus girl Roxie Hart murders her no-good lover and convinces her hapless husband, Amos, to take the rap, it looks like case closed... until Amos discovers that Roxie hasn’t been entirely straight with him and rats her out...

Awaiting trial at the Cook County jail, Roxie meets infamous show girl and “Merry Murderess” Velma Kelly, who’s the darling of the tabloid press. Why? Because femme fatales and cold-blooded killings sell papers!

Roxie quickly learns that the justice system is just another branch of showbiz: to make it to the top (or get acquitted), you need the best connected agent (or hot-shot lawyer) in your corner - like charismatic counsel for the defence, Billy Flynn.

With Billy selling the press a very different version of Roxie’s crime, Roxie soon becomes the toast of Chicago and knocks a decidedly unhappy Velma off the front pages – only for another sordid murder to steal Roxie’s limelight...

So what now for Roxie and Velma? How can they grab the headlines - again! - and get their careers back on track?

The longest-running American musical in Broadway and West End history, Chicago returns to its vaudeville roots in a spectacular PFT production that promises wit, pizazz and red hot jazz...

Featuring the largest live band ever to appear in a Summer Season musical and a multi-talented cast of 16, Chicago is truly a show to die for!

 

BEFORE THE PARTY

The Second World War is over and it’s time for the Skinner family to try to reclaim the pre-eminent social position they occupied before the “unpleasantness” began. And armed with invitations to a top notch garden party, on a sunny summer’s day in 1949, things are looking up... as long as sufficient petrol can be found to ensure the Skinners arrive in style... 

For aspiring politician Aubrey and his ditzy wife Blanche, everything must go smoothly – and the sudden return from Africa of their recently widowed daughter, Laura, promises to be the icing on the cake. Because even if their middle child Kathleen is somewhat bitter and twisted, and their youngest daughter Susan has a habit of overhearing precisely what she shouldn’t, Laura’s sense of duty and responsibility will readily compensate for her siblings’ deficiencies.

Except that when Laura arrives, she’s not only inappropriately dressed for a young widow in mourning, but more alarmingly, she’s accompanied. By a young man. And when Laura reveals to her family a shocking secret about her husband’s death, there a danger that the Skinners’ social ambitions may be about to go up in smoke... 

Based on a short story by Somerset Maugham, Before The Party is an acerbic, stylish and hilariously barbed portrait of the middle class adjusting to post-war life.

 

QUALITY STREET

1805: sisters Phoebe and Susan Throssel live in a little house on Quality Street, the main thoroughfare of a provincial English village, where an amorous sergeant is drumming up recruits for the Napoleonic Wars. 

The 22-year-old Phoebe has become acquainted with a doctor, Valentine Brown, and she seems set to be saved from the ignominy that comes with having to don an ‘Old Maid’s Cap’. Indeed, the gossips are certain Phoebe will receive a proposal – and they don’t even know that Phoebe has let Valentine kiss her! But then, as the snow falls, the good doctor breaks some unexpected news: he has enlisted, and is off to the wars. 

Ten years pass and the sisters fall on hard times, struggling to run a school for ‘genteel’ children and to make ends meet. Now in her 30s and resigned to spinsterhood, Phoebe, resentfully, wears her cap.

Returning a dashing, decorated hero, Captain Brown revisits the little house on Quality Street – but, horribly, he no longer recognises the woman with whom he once stepped out with. Can the school mistress recreate the Phoebe of her youth and capture the heart of the seemingly blind soldier? Or will he finally open his eyes to who she really is?

Premièred in 1901, Quality Street was a huge hit in London’s West End (and yes, inspired the chocolates!).