CLASSIC comedies, a celebrated mystery and thoughtful drama are all brought to the stage during Chesil Theatre Winchester’s new season.

The opening show in September is Noël Coward’s well loved Blithe Spirit. One husband, two feuding wives, one from each side of the grave, an eccentric medium and there is more than a hint of mischief in the air. Coward’s witty dialogue sparkles as Madame Arcati surprises herself by unleashing forces over which she has no control.

The Hound of the Baskervilles, one of Sherlock Holmes most baffling cases, follows in November. This is a gloriously funny makeover by Steven Canny and John Nicholson, of one of the Sherlock Holmes most baffling cases. Only he, with the faithful Dr Watson, can unravel the complexities surrounding the death of Sir Charles Baskerville who has been found with the paw prints of a gigantic hound beside his body.

Stephanie, a virtuoso violinist, lives for music. She and her composer husband appear a golden couple until she is struck down by multiple sclerosis and has to adjust to a completely new way of life. The January play, Duet for One by Tom Kempinski, tells the story .

Identical twins can be the basis of chaotic comedy. Carlo Goldoni’s timeless, The Venetian Twins in March is a superb example as the men arrive in Venice in search of love but each with no idea the other is there. With one dashing and intelligent, the other naive and dim the scene is set for an evening of mayhem.

Based on letters and interviews with original Land Girls the May production, Lilies on the Land, is a moving portrait of Britain’s pluckiest unsung heroines doing their best for the war effort.

The season ends in July with an ingenious adaptation by Alan Bennett of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. The delightful story, published in 1908 and a firm favourite ever since features Badger, Ratty, Mole and Toad (of Toad Hall) and their lives on the riverbank in the Wild Wood is told with a contemporary slant.