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Mark Billingham and My Darling Clementine at Birmingham Rep

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Crime writer and country music duo team up for theatre show
Crime fiction and country music collide in a new theatre production that visits the Birmingham Rep on November 10.

The Other Half is an original story by award-winning Birmingham-born crime writer Mark Billingham, inspired by the Americana-tinged music of city-based husband-and-wife duo Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish, aka My Darling Clementine.

my darling clementine
Country music couple: My Darling Clementine

Set in a rundown Memphis bar, the 60-minute tale consists of three couples telling their very different stories. At The Rep Mark will read the story and My Darling Clementine will provide the music.

Mark featured the songs of his My Darling Clementine in his latest novel, The Bones Beneath, but The Other Half will be the first time they have worked together.

Mark Billingham
Crime writer: Mark Billingham

"I've written a good deal about the unusual horrors that can befall people but when you listen to these songs you realise that everyday life contains so much powerful drama and ordinary tragedy,'' he says.

''I wanted to write about the fact that love can do a lot more damage than hate and the songs of My Darling Clementine describe that perfectly, so it's a thrill to be working with Michael and Lou.

"The Other Half is about people looking for something, so there's hope too and there's always the possibility of redemption. Let's not forget that I'm a crime-writer so I may sneak a murder or two in there as well…"

Michael Weston King, whose own book, The Complete Lyrics And Other Writings, comes out in 2015, reflects: "Some of the finest song-writing storytellers have come from country music - Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Hank Williams - writers of dark tales of everyday life, vignettes of heartache. These writers and their ideals are what we held dear while making the My Darling Clementine albums, so it is especially rewarding to see our songs being used to follow on in that storytelling tradition."

my darling clementine
Dark tales: My Darling Clementine

The writer of the 'title' song, Lou Dalgleish, adds: "When I wrote The Other Half for our debut album I had no idea it would become the title for a new, exciting collaboration with Mark. It is such an honour to know that he felt inspired to write a story around our songs.''

Mark Billingham is best known for his series of novels featuring D.I. Tom Thorne. A television series based on the books starred David Morrissey as Tom Thorne.

My Darling Clementine have released two acclaimed albums, How Do You Plead? (2011) and The Reconciliation? (2013).

The Other Half's three UK performance dates:

November 7: Biddulph Town Hall;
November 10: Birmingham Rep Theatre;
November 11: The Islington, London.
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Why? Crime and country music collide.
When: November 10, 2014
Phone: 0121 245 2072
Where: Birmingham Rep Theatre
Cost: £15
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