ONE of the first theatre shows in the country since lockdown restrictions were eased has been staged by Clacton MP Giles Watling.

Who Killed Lady Cuckoo? was performed in the gardens of the Lifehouse Spa, in Thorpe-le-Soken, after Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were eased for outdoor theatre.

The audience was kept separated in socially-distanced bubbles from different households.

Mr Watling, best known for his role as Oswald the vicar in 1980s sitcom Bread, led the successful campaign for a £1.57 billion support package to protect the future of Britain’s museums, galleries and theatres following the lockdown.

Former actor Mr Watling starred alongside John D Collins, who is best known for appearing in the BBC sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo.

The rehearsed reading was directed by Mr Watling’s daughter Buffy, who’s twin sister Jemima took up the role of Lady Cuckoo. It also starred Luke Lane.

Mr Watling said he was pleased to see the return of theatre to the district, albeit outside and with a socially-distanced audience.

He said: “Having spent 55 years in showbusiness it was of great concern to me that the industry was going to be one of the last out of lockdown.

“The very nature of theatre is that it requires people to be closely packed together for a unique experience.

“But when the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announced that open air theatre was permitted, I thought Who Killed Lady Cuckoo, which I previously adapted with John D Collins from the book by Graham Ross, would really fit the bill.

“And where better for a rehearsed reading than in the former gardens of Lady Byng Of Vimy?

“It was intended to be a small affair, but it grew and grew.

“It was sold out with about 50 people, which was amazing, and all proceeds have gone to the Royal Theatrical Fund.

“It was probably one of the first theatre shows in the country, although I think there may have been one or two that beat us to it.

“Because of my involvement in the campaign to get the support package, I was keen to put on one of the first performances.”

The show raised more than £400 for the charity, of which Mr Watling is vice-chairman, alongside actress Samantha Bond.