Updated: Jan 31, 2022
A new musical from award-winning Calendar Girls creator Tim Firth has its world premiere at Chester’s Storyhouse in May.
Starring Michele Dotrice (Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, A Very English Scandal) and directed by Joyce Branagh, Now is Good is a musical comedy "about the greatest challenges currently facing humanity: how to help your children, how to fight loneliness, and where to hide your biscuits.”
When builder Ray and his son Neil embark on a renovation project, it unlocks a bank of memories – and with the arrival of some unexpected help, it also takes an extraordinary turn.
Firth explained: “I like to think shows pick their own titles. I stumbled on this phrase during my first chat with Storyhouse and in the intervening years I found myself writing a comic musical about combatting loneliness.
Not only that; it’s a story that involves one of the riskiest things ever attempted in a theatre. But we mustn’t lose our willingness to take risks to have fun. Life’s too short. Now is good… and the title is having its day.”
Frodsham-raised Firth has enjoyed a prolific writing career; this is his fifth musical, and previous hits including Calendar Girls, Kinky Boots, Neville’s Island, The Flint Street Nativity, All Quiet on the Preston Front, Our House and The Band.
Years ago, the show’s star Michele Dotrice played the long-suffering wife of the hopeless Frank Spencer in the classic hit BBC sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, but her extensive screen credits since include A Very English Scandal, Vanity Fair, Bramwell and The Way We Live Now. Recently she has been seen on stage in Firth and Gary Barlow’s The Girls, as Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest and as Mrs Wilberforce in The Ladykillers.
The new show is directed by Joyce Branagh, the West Yorkshire-based actor and award-winning playwright and director whose credits as a director include Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Sunshine Boys and many more. She can currently be seen in her elder brother Sir Kenneth Branagh’s awards-tipped feature film Belfast.
Storyhouse producer Helen Redcliffe added, “We’re very excited to be working with Tim on this fantastic new musical. Now Is Good is a tender, feelgood show filled with Tim’s trademark wit, humour and humanity – as well as some fantastic melodies. It will be a magical experience.”
Now Is Good is at Storyhouse from May 11-28. Booking opens to Storyhouse members on February 2 and tickets will go on general sale from February 4. More info here.