The Wicker Husband opened at the Watermill Theatre on Friday 11 March, returning to the Newbury theatre in Berkshire after its premature closure two years ago due to the pandemic. Just one week left to see this “beautiful and bewitching” musical – with two-for-one tickets – until 26 March 2022. Time to get booking!
The folk-inspired new musical follows the tale of the so-called ‘Ugly Girl’. In a superficial world, where beauty is only skin-deep, she is ostracised by the shallow townsfolk because she doesn’t fit in.
The Ugly Girl becomes the envy of her neighbours when the mysterious Old Basketmaker makes her a strong and loving husband woven from living wicker. As bitter rivalry and jealousy threaten to tear the community apart, the townsfolk embark on a cruel and destructive plan to ruin her happiness.
Directed by Charlotte Westenra, with Book by Rhys Jennings, Music and lyrics by Darren Clark and based on an original short story by Ursula Wills, this folk-inspired new musical tells the timeless tale of the outsider and was the winner of the inaugural MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award in 2016 celebrating new British musical theatre writers. It was also included in the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s 30th Annual Festival of New Musicals in New York.
Darren Clark said:
“The Wicker Husband was one of many shows that closed in 2020 due to the pandemic and sadly many of those will never get the chance to be performed again. We feel so incredibly fortunate that the Watermill Theatre continues to put its faith in our story and for its continued perseverance and commitment to supporting quality work by new British writers. We simply cannot wait to share it with you at the stunning Watermill with this extraordinary cast.”
The show features handcrafted wicker puppets created by Puppetry designer and director Finn Caldwell whose credits include War Horse (West End & International), Life of Pi (Sheffield Crucible) and The Grinning Man (Bristol Old Vic & West End), with highly skilled puppeteers from Handspring, War Horse and Good Chance, bringing The Wicker Husband to life.
There is a Relaxed Performance on Saturday 19 March at 2.30pm. Relaxed performances offer a more informal way of enjoying live theatre. These performances are for anyone who might find it challenging to be in a conventional theatre environment, for whatever reason.
Get two-for-one tickets for The Wicker Husband with thanks to the National Lottery’s Love Your Local Theatre scheme. When purchasing a ticket for the show during the month of March, patrons get another ticket free, courtesy of the National Lottery. For more details and terms and conditions, visit watermill.org.uk/love_your_local_theatre.
Production photography by Helen Maybanks.