SHAKESPEARE’S enchanting tale of mischievous fairies, coarse-acting commoners and Athenian lovers, is a recipe for mirth, mayhem, mystery and magic.

There is a 1930s theme to Maskers theatre Company’s version of Shakespeare’s classic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is brought to the grounds of Hamptworth Lodge for ten days from Wednesday.

Think of the beautiful stylised Jack Vetrianno painting The Singing Butler for the Athenians; the rude mechanicals are a bunch of Lowrystyle factory workers trying to put on their play within a play and the fairies are circus performers and clowns with mischievous antics and colourful costumes. 1930s dance band music features throughout the show giving a touch of nostalgia to the storytelling.

The audience is able to arrive early and picnic in the stunning grounds.

Tickets are available from 023 8071 1818 or nTHERE’S murder in mind at a vicarage in the Itchen Valley. No need for the congregations to worry however, as the deadly deed is a crucial episode in the Southwood Players third open-air production Murder at the Vicarage a classic mystery by Agatha Christie which was the first to feature Miss Marple.

Lavinia Owen takes on the role of Jane Marple, who is able to solve difficult crimes not only because of her shrewd intelligence, but also through her knowledge of human nature.

Charlie Seligman and Noel Thorpe Tracey are appearing as the curate and the vicar with Maddy Woosnam playing the vicar’s wife.

Profits from this year’s show will be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Itchen Valley Churches, the Winchester Cathedral Girls choir and the Chesil Theatre Development Appeal.

The production will run from Thursday to Saturday at Southwood House in Itchen Abbas.

See nDAVID Hare’s The Breath of Life – a darkly comic two hander about morals and mortality – opens at the Chesil Theatre tonight and runs for a week.

The Breath of Life covers the lives of two women over the course of a day and a night.

Madeleine Palmer lives on the Isle of Wight, and Frances Beale has come to visit her. They are both in their 60s. Madeleine (played by Ros Liddiard) is a retired museum curator, while Frances (played by Mary Mitchell) has recently found success as a writer.

Although the two women are the only ones to appear in the play, there is another strong presence: that of Martin; a lawyer, he was married to Frances and had an affair with Madeleine. Now he has found a new woman and moved with her to Seattle. Over 24 hours Madeline and Frances argue, make-up and share their experiences of this man who has been pivotal in their lives.

Tickets: nFOOTLIGHTS Youth Theatre are making a return to Romsey’s Plaza Theatre with a new production of the musical Sweet Charity, opening on Tuesday.

More than 40 youngsters aged between seven and 18 will star. Eighteen-year-old Natalie Thorn takes the title role. Director David Tatnall and musical director Martin Paterson have now collaborated on more than 20 productions.

Sweet Charity runs until Saturday.

Box office: 01794 512987.