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The Other Half at The Theatre, Chipping Norton: Wednesday, June 10

PUBLISHED: 12:33 19 May 2015 | UPDATED: 12:36 19 May 2015

The Other Half – The Theatre, Chipping Norton

The Other Half – The Theatre, Chipping Norton

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Clare Mackintosh talks to Mark Billingham about his latest novel and forthcoming collaboration with Americana band My Darling Clementine at Chipping Norton Theatre...

The Other Half – The Theatre, Chipping NortonThe Other Half – The Theatre, Chipping Norton

Fans of Mark Billingham’s bestselling crime novels will know that music is a long-running theme throughout his books. His latest novel, The Bones Beneath, features Mark’s favourite contemporary country artists, the American duo My Darling Clementine. Mark will be appearing at Chipping Norton Theatre on Wednesday, June 10 with a unique collaboration with My Darling Clementine, called The Other Half. The evening is part of the Theatre’s ‘Wild Nights’, where audience members pay what they think the show is worth. Clare Mackintosh talks to Mark about what we can expect from the evening.

So what is The Other Half about?

The show is a collaboration between myself and a fabulous Americana group called My Darling Clementine. I have written a story based around a number of their songs and we perform it live in a piece that is part play, part gig and part storytelling. It’s a story about love, loss and – of course – murder, all set in a run-down bar in Memphis and told through the eyes of a faded Vegas showgirl who now works as a waitress and lives her life vicariously through the customers she serves every day. Each of them has their own tale to tell...

How did this collaboration come about?

Tom Thorne, my fictional detective, is a huge fan of country music because I am. A while ago, a friend suggested I check out this great band called My Darling Clementine because I would love them. I did, and my friend was right. So they were name-checked in the next Thorne novel, whereupon they got in touch and suggested we work together. So, the idea for The Other Half was hatched and here we are a year later, touring this show and about to release the album, which features guest appearances from David Morrissey (who played Thorne on TV) as well as iconic singer-songwriter Graham Parker and the wonderful Brodsky Quartet. I’m thrilled with how everything has turned out.

What can people expect when they come to see the show?

I genuinely believe that this is a unique evening out at the theatre. Of course there will be great music, but the songs are very much part of the story itself. I introduce these characters and their stories are started or completed in these amazing and powerful songs. Oh, and I get to sing myself which is a treat for EVERYONE!

Who will The Other Half appeal to?

Well, obviously it will appeal to anyone who is a fan of crime fiction, but also to anyone who loves great music and, in my experience, they are often the same people.

What’s a ‘Wild Night’?

These are special evenings at Chipping Norton theatre when what is being presented is a little out of the ordinary. People who come along do not pay any fixed ticket price but instead pay what they think the show was worth afterwards. It’s a fantastic idea and really encourages people to go along and see things they might not have thought about. Our show is definitely something a bit different, but I know people who come along will be very pleased they did.

Why crime and country?

I’ve always thought that they go together brilliantly. Loss, pain and murder are of course at the heart of all great crime fiction but those things are also the dark seam that runs through the very best country music. It’s a marriage made in heaven. That said, this is actually a story about love, because love can do a great deal more damage than hate and I wanted to write about what it does to three different couple who are trying to find happiness and to Marcia, the character at the centre of the story who believes that she has lost her only chance to find it. Above all, what the best crime fiction does is tell a great story and that is also what the songs I love do. My Darling Clementine are not just great singers and songwriters, they are great storytellers, and working together, we’ve come up with a show that has taken all of us in a new and hugely exciting direction. It’s a show to die for!

*************

See The Other Half on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at The Theatre, Chipping Norton. Call 01608 642350 or reserve your ticket online: http://www.chippingnortontheatre.co.uk/index.php?p=whatson&id=2744

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