John Lyon looks at the shows worth travelling to see during September.
Theatre Royal, Plymouth:
THE long wait is almost over and the curtain will once again rise at Devon's biggest theatre. After months of work on a £7 million regeneration project, the Theatre Royal Plymouth will reopen to reveal a newly refurbished building. And what could be better than a completely sold out show for starters, with huge audiences flocking through the doors?
The National Theatre's award-winning production of War Horse begins a 10-month, nine-venue tour of the UK and Ireland in Plymouth on September 27 for a two-week run. The stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's children's classic about a boy and his horse caught up in war has been a must-see show in London for years.
Producer Chris Harper said: "We are particularly thrilled that the tour opens in Devon, where the play is set. War Horse finally comes home."
It's a powerfully moving and imaginative story about Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned for the English front-line in the First World War.
Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides before landing in no man's land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company brings breathing, galloping, full-scale horses to life on the stage — their flanks, hides and sinews built of steel, leather and aircraft create a spectacular.
WILLY Russell's Educating Rita heralds the return of the Northcott autumn programme after the summer break, from September 25 to 28. This bittersweet comedy, made famous on film by Julie Walters and Michael Caine, hilariously explores the prejudices of a strong-minded pair in a tale of increasing mutual respect. Hairdresser Rita thinks she wants a proper education; university lecturer Frank thinks she's got no chance.
After a successful collaboration on Talking Heads, Uncommon Players continue to work with the Northcott to create another high quality production of a classic play.
Box office: 01392 493493.
Princess Theatre, Torquay:
SEPTEMBER is Agatha Christie Festival time in Torquay, her home town. And the official Agatha Christie Theatre Company performs Go Back For Murder, to coincide with the annual celebrations commemorating the crime writer's birthplace.
There's a star-studded cast in this latest play at the Princess Theatre, from September 16 to 21, including Liza Goddard (Bergerac), Sophie Ward (Land Girls), Robert Duncan (Drop the Dead Donkey) and Gary Mavers (Peak Practice).
On the musical side, the venue hosts the Glenn Miller Orchestra today, September 5. The current UK band was put together in 1988 by veteran musical entertainer Ray McVay in conjunction with Glenn Miller Productions in New York.
Europe's most successful Elvis Presley tribute artist, Lee Memphis King, will celebrate the entire career of the musical legend tomorrow, September 6. Box office: 0844 8713023.
Exeter Corn Exchange:
SIXTIES pop band The Manfreds, with original front man Paul Jones, are enjoying a 50th anniversary celebratory tour and mix their biggest hits with jazz and blues at Exeter's Corn Exchange on Thursday, September 19.
Another music legend, Maddy Prior, gigs on Monday September 30 with multi-talented instrumentalists and singers Giles Lewin and Hannah James.
Cricket commentating legend Henry Blofeld and BBC Radio's Test Match Special organiser Peter Baxter share side-splitting sporting memories on Friday, September 27.
Box office: 01392 665938.
IT'S comedy time at the Pavilions with Micky Flanagan on September 12 and 13 and Bill Bailey on September 24.
Box office: 0845 1461460.