BUCKLE up for an evening of laughter and intrigue with a first full read through of The Mandrake — which is due to be premiered at Penrith Playhouse next year.

Set to take place on Wednesday, 20th November, from 7pm, the read through evening will provide an opportunity for anybody interested in being part of the Penrith Players’ production to find out what it’s all about.

There will also be a fun workshop afternoon on Sunday, 24th November, from 2pm to 5pm, at which participants will get the chance to bring a scene of the play to life with Andy Keogh, who will be directing the production, which is also set to include live music. All are welcome to come along.
The Mandrake (La Mandragola), originally written by Niccolò Machiavelli, has been translated by Mike Head and adapted for the stage by Kevan France, with the support of North Cumbria Scriptwriters (NCS).

It tells the story of Callum, who is a master of persuasion. He says he can sell anything to anyone — even a pair of jeans to Jacob Rees-Mogg. But the thing he really wants is to bed Lucy, a girl he had a schoolboy crush on. The trouble is she is now married.
On hearing there is trouble in paradise, as both Lucy and her husband are desperate to have children but have had no luck in conceiving, Callum hatches a cunning plan.

Originally from Bolton, Kevan, aged 70, was headteacher at Cockermouth’s Fairfield Junior School for 20 years before taking retirement. He now lives at Allithwaite, near Grange-over-Sands, and has been a member of NCS for about 10 years.

During the past decade, he has had a play produced on the radio, as well others which have been performed at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake, and at Wigton and Penrith. Of The Mandrake, Kevan said he “loved the idea”. He said it was only since he retired that he had “shoved his head above the parapet” of writing for audiences beyond those of his school productions. “The whole Mandrake project has been a huge pleasure and a challenge which I have relished,” said Kevan.

The Mandrake is due to be performed at Penrith Playhouse, behind Morrison’s supermarket, from 15th to 18th April, next year. For more information email andykeogh100gmail.com.