FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: Eddie back with New Theatre Productions at West Dean Gardens

Festival of Chichester
Festival of Chichester

Eddie Lintott is going to be on stage pretty much all evening on his return to New Theatre Productions.

And that suits Eddie perfectly.

“When you are rehearsing, it makes your evening more meaningful!” says Eddie, who lives in Stedham. “You don’t sit around waiting for your part.

“And once you are on stage and warmed up, it’s easier just to stay there rather than worrying about entrances and exits!”

He does, however, have to worry about the fact that he is in two plays for the price of one - the two being one half of the usual summer offering from the company.

A fixture during the now-defunct Chichester Festivities, New Theatre Productions seamlessly slip into the new Festival of Chichester in their usual West Dean Gardens slot in the Gardens’ Pergola Open Air Theatre.

The Tempest, Shakespeare’s tale of revenge, romance and reconciliation directed by John Hyatt, will run on July 1, 3, 5, 9, 11 and 13.

It will alternate with a comedy double bill of Hidden Meanings by Michael Snelgrove and Tom Stoppard’s classic The Real Inspector Hound, directed by Carol Hicks, with performances on July 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 – the days on which Eddie will come into play.

Eddie did Dandy Dick with the company around five years ago. Three years ago, he gave a memorable performance in The Browning Version; two years ago, he was back in Habeas Corpus.

“I remember the last night with Habeas; we were about 20 minutes late starting. It was such a lovely evening, and people were sitting with their picnics, and there were so many people there that they were having to bring up extra chairs. We were watching from the wings – not that we have wings there!”

Last year, Eddie didn’t do West Dean, but he’s delighted to be back for 2013.

The Stoppard sees Eddie playing one of two critics who become involved in the action of the play they are reviewing: “When it opened in 1968, Richard Briers played the part that I am playing, which is slightly poignant as he has just died. I have only ever seen the play once before, in the Minerva Theatre at Chichester a few years ago.

“I remember reading that the play was Stoppard’s dig at the critics who meet beforehand to decide what they are going to say!

“I am playing Moon. It is difficult to pin him down. He goes off into flights of fancy, as indeed does the other.”

For Eddie, part of the attraction is that he is teaming up with Roger Menhennett again for the first time since they appeared on stage together at the Festival Theatre in the community play Devil’s Dancing Hour more than ten years ago.

They will also share the stage in the other half of the double bill, Hidden Meanings by Michael Snelgrove: “It’s a bit of a murder mystery. It’s a farce. It’s really all about who killed the body. There are several claims, and I am watching on. Roger plays the Sherlock Holmes character, and I play the Watson. We have a Holmes/Watson scenario, and then it goes back to reality, but Holmes is still playing it as if he were still Sherlock Holmes!”

Tickets for both shows are £10 and available at the gate on the night. Performances start at 7.45pm. Tickets also available from www.festivalofchichester.co.uk or 01243 813595 or Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO19 1PX (open Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm).