Smiles and sadness at Sansom farewell at Royal & Derngate

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One of Willy Russell’s funniest and most poignant plays will be the final project led by artistic director, Laurie Sansom, before he leaves Royal & Derngate to take up a new role at the National Theatre of Scotland.

The play, One for the Road, will feature a cast of Michelle Butterly, Con O’Neill, Nicola Stephenson and Matthew Wait. The play is a 1980s comedy by a writer responsible for such well loved classics as Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, as well as the hit musical, Blood Brothers.

The story focuses on a character named Dennis, on the eve of his birthday, making a desperate attempt to ditch the trappings of his newly acquired middle class life.

‘Imprisoned’ on a new housing estate and surrounded by Tupperware parties, Richard Clayderman fans and garden gnomes, Dennis yearns for his youth of road trips and music festivals. Once neighbours Roger and Jane arrive to help celebrate his birthday, it is not long before he reaches breaking point.

As the day spirals out of control, it becomes clear that the mindless vandalism inflicted on the estate may not be down to local teenagers after all, and his wife and friends may not be quite what they seem.

A Made in Northampton production, One for the Road forms part of Royal & Derngate’s Comedy Gold season, a series of three classic comedies from top British playwrights. It will be followed by Alan Ayckbourn’s Mr Whatnot and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

One For The Road will start tomorrow and run until February 23. Tickets cost from £13 to £28 and can be booked by calling 01604 624811 or logging on to