Tales of hangmen real and imaginary hit the stage

Hangmen: Deborah Addicott, Nick Roughton, and Tom Cooke by Rosey Purchase
Hangmen: Deborah Addicott, Nick Roughton, and Tom Cooke by Rosey Purchase

The award-winning black comedy Hangmen, written by British-Irish author Martin McDonagh, is the next challenge for the Arundel Players.

Directed by Gill Lambourn, Hangmen opens on June 10 and runs for six nights at the Priory Playhouse in London Road, Arundel.

Gill said: “The play is set in a small Oldham pub, which is run by the chief executioner, Harry Wade, who is the second-best hangman in the country and who is something of a local celebrity. The plot follows events over a two-day period during 1965 during which hanging is abolished in the UK.

“Harry, played by Nick Roughton, gives a controversial interview to the local paper. A menacing, but oddly attractive stranger from down south arrives by the name of Mooney (Adrian Kenward). He works his charm on Harry’s wife Alice (Deborah Addicott) and their Elvis-mad teen-age daughter, Shirley (Jamie Craker), with totally unexpected, darkly hilarious results. The play also focuses on the rivalry between Wade and Albert Pierrepoint (Barry Jarvis), known to be the best and certainly most prominent British hangman and features the disturbing lifestyle of Harry’s assistant hangman, Syd (Steve Wallace). All members of the cast except Pierrepoint are fictitious. Harry is based on Pierrepoint’s long-time assistant, Harry Allen, who took over as chief executioner when Pierrepoint left the service.

“This may sound a depressing subject matter, but Hangmen is brilliantly written illustrating the very best black humour. I hope that our audiences will appreciate the skill of Martin McDonagh’s script, which does contain some adult language.

“McDonagh says his writing is influenced by Quentin Tarantino, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, all known for their dark humour and menacing characters. His most recent West End production was the hugely 2018 successful revival of The Lieutenant of Inishmore, starring Aid-en Turner of Poldark fame.”

Performances start at 7.30pm from June 10 to 15. Tickets for Hangmen at The Priory Playhouse, London Road, Arundel, BN18 9FA cost £12 and are available from the box office on 07523 417926. To book online visit www.arundelplayers.org.uk and follow the link or go to http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/arundelplayers.

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