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 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, has lived for music since the age of four. 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 through successive interviews with a psychiatrist whose quiet probing unveils the true picture.
The confusion which comes from identical twins can be the basis of wonderful 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 muddle and mayhem.
Based on letters and interviews with original Land Girls the May production, Lilies on the Land, is a revealing and wonderfully moving portrait of Britain's pluckiest unsung heroines doing their best for the war effort. We hear about the harsh reality of early hours, rough hands, mice in their clothes and backbreaking work - but looking back they say they would do it all again.
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.
Add the launch of the sixth Festival of New Writing 10x10 in January 2018, two youth groups and the hosting of visiting companies, it can be seen that the Chesil continues to bring excellent entertainment to Hampshire audiences.