Emma Rice musical to get virtual Midlands screening

Published: 19 August 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

2019 Cast: Carly Bawden and Marc Antolin in Romantics Anonymous Credit: Steve Tanner

Midlands audiences will be able to enjoy Emma Rice’s musical Romantics Anonymous when it makes its digital debut in autumn 2020.

Performed live on stage at Bristol Old Vic, the show is to go on a virtual tour of theatres across the UK and overseas, with venues selling tickets for different nights.

Each night from Tuesday 22 until Saturday 26 September, Romantics Anonymous will be tailored to regional audiences, with “a sprinkle of local flavour added before the show begins”. Tickets can be booked at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and the Derby Theatre web sites.

Romantics Anonymous had its world première at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe in 2017 and was staged at Bristol Old Vic in January 2020. Based on the film Les Émotifs Anonymes by Jean-Pierre Améris and Philippe Blasband, it is a “delicious love story about breaking the mould and finding the courage to be happy”. It follows Angélique, a gifted chocolate-maker crippled by social anxiety, and Jean-René, the boss of a failing chocolate factory, so awkward that he relies on self-help tapes and is prone to embarrassing sweating. When the timid Angélique takes a job in Jean-René’s struggling factory, a fragile love affair gradually unfolds.

Rice, artistic director of the Wise Children theatre company, adapted the story and directs. Music is by Michael Kooman and lyrics are by Christopher Dimond.

Rice said, “I’ve devoted my life to the live experience and the collective imagination—things that have proved impossible over the past few months. Whilst nothing will be able to replace the thrill of a night out at the theatre, this live broadcast is going to be as close to that delicious experience as we can possibly make it!

“Live, fresh, fun and intimate, this will remind us of what it is to share stories, hear music and, if true love has its way, even kiss. Imagine that! We’re taking the utmost care to protect all our valued team and, for one week only, we can all experience a live performance again, get lost in a wonderful love story and remember what it was to be socially intimate!”