St Albans Town Hall taken back to jazz age

PROMENADE theatre comes to St Albans Town Hall next month when Breakaway Theatre Company puts on its production of Ben Jonson’s play Volpone.

Set in London in 1930, it is an era when Art Deco is still the rage and live jazz and flappers provided plenty of entertainment.

Volpone is a wealthy aristocrat living a life of luxury and ease. He loves gold and his greed combined with boredom has led him to become a conman.

With the help of his highly-intelligent butler Mosca, Volpone has been playing the same hoax for three years – pretending to be terminally ill.

Numerous greedy people come to visit the “invalid” bringing valuable presents and hoping that the childless, unmarried, unattached rich man will make them his heirs.


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They eagerly await his death but Volpone is not dying – he welcomes the loot and enjoys cheating the would-be grave diggers.

The play concentrates on four “victims” of Volpone and Mosca who each want to be sole heir. They are outrageous and terrible people but very funny. Only when two innocents start to suffer does the trick seem not quite so funny.

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Volpone is a set text on the BA English syllabus of numerous universities from the coming September and the Breakaway production is a rare chance to see it as promenade theatre.

Director Emma Summers said: “This production will be funny and lively, unusual and intriguing.”

Tickets for the production which can be seen at 7.30pm each evening from Monday, July 5, until Saturday, July 10, can be purchased on line at www.breakawaytheatre.co.uk or from the Tourist Information Centre on 01727 864511 behind the Town Hall.

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