Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Bonfire Night

So that's it for another term. There is no meeting on Monday 5th of April, it being Easter. But we are back on April 12th with a play written by me. It's entitled Bonfire Night, and is a black comedy about murky goings-on in the English countryside. It will star Anthea Courtenay, Chris Prior, and making his long-awaited return, Richard Evans. Please come along.

April 12th is Bonfire Night. Be there.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Charlie Is My Darling

The winter season ends on a typically upbeat note on March 29th with the reading of a piece by P-P veteran Peter McKelvey. Members with extremely long memories may remember ( I don't, I wasn't around back then ) that Charlie Is My Darling has been given a showing at P-P before. Or rather its first act did. Then it was a tremendous hit, and Mr. McKelvey has finally picked up his quill and written the second act. On Monday we'll be getting the complete, unexpurgated version.

It's a "somewhat surrealist take on Charles Dickens", we are old and should run for approximately 80 minutes. There is a cast of three: Philip Philmar, Cheryl Anderson and Peter Picton.

That ought to whet your appetite. Sticklers for the original programme may have noted that Nightmare in the Garden of Eden by the same Mr. McKelvey was originally planned for this evening. That is now undergoing something of a rewrite, but will no doubt be rescheduled soon. It's got a great title, if nothing else.

The Summer Showcase

Before last night's entertainment there was a meeting of the P-P Committee which agreed that we should put on another Showcase at the King's Head, Islington this year on the same lines as previously and that we should aim for Sunday 18 July as our preferred date.
Our producer will be new member Ninaz Khodaiji, with Peter Thompson as her assistant.
The three plays which are to be included are 29 by Peter Vincent, Tango in the Dark, by David Carr, and The Book-lovers by Kevin Mandry.
Well done in particular to Eamon McDonnell who chaired the selection panel with his customary elan, and to Peter Thompson for pushing for Ninaz to sort this out. Well done to, to our three writers, without whom etc.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Bare Bones Night

Ah, the dilemma! Next Monday brings us a new play by Peter McKelvey ( more about that shortly ), but there is a clash for ardents students of theatrical excellence, as our very own Leanne Davis is performing that night at the monthly Bare Bones Night, at the Old Red Lion in Angel.

Among the many delights that evening, Leanne will be doing a monologue called "We Heard a Screech" written especially for her by Jack Thorne ( a writer for Skins, Shameless, Cast Offs and The Scouting Book For Boys).

The show plays twice a night, at 7pm and 830pm, and was sold out last month so book in advance to ensure a seat. It's £9 an advance ticket, £10 on the door.

Saturday, 20 March 2010


Bede Blake is one of the rising stars in the P-P firmament. He first came to global attention winning the round adjudicated by our Presidents, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, of the Last Laugh sitcom prize. Since then he's regularly bombarded us with sitcom pilots and ideas, always scoring highly, with Failure is an Option winning the John Grange Cup a few years' back. Now, at long last, one of his scripts has made it to the screen. P-P never debuted Shelfstackers, so here's the chance for all of us to make its acquaintance. It's a half hour comedy for teens, and "is set in urine-tinted regional supermarket Grogans and follows the interminable shifts of four frustrated teens on the bottom of the store’s tribal pecking order: shelf stacking. Presiding over them, like an incorrigible monkey, is their guileless manchild of a store manager, a poster-boy for what happens when careers go bad. And added to this is an unseen corporate management, somewhere in Basingstoke, making increasingly desperate PR decisions that must sound great in the board room but are positively crackpot when put into practice on the shop floor."

One interesting piece of casting is Jennifer Saunders' daughter Beattie as one of the leads. Watch it and enjoy. If it does well it could go to series. It's on this coming Saturday, 27th March at 12.25. p.m. on BBC2, at the same time as Football Focus. Take it from me, this will be a lot funnier.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Russians Are Coming

Monday March 22nd is Competition Time - ten pieces battling it out on the above theme. Not my idea, so not surprisingly it was extremely well-subscribed. At least two pieces were turned down, so come along on Monday to see the ones that made it. Here's a trailer for a movie of the same name ( well close, it was actually called the Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming, which was pretty over the top. Then again it was a pretty over the top film. )

UPDATE: As usual, another triumphant evening. A slightly more detailed review will be contained in the next programme. Well done too, to the winner, whose name escapes me.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Claim and Shame

Monday 17th of March brings us a new play by journalist, historian, and playwright Francis Beckett. I say new, but, unusually for us, this play has actually been produced. Last December at the 503. But, not untypically of Francis, this is extremely topical, being a satire on the expenses scandal that kept us all amused during the summer.

"Newly elected Labour MP Meg Jones finds herself in the front line of the expenses scandal, while her husband falls for a classic newspaper honey trap. Their lives and their marriage disintegrate before the relentlessly cruel headlines. But was it their fault – or are they convenient scapegoats for much bigger fraudsters? The financiers who surround them were having their own troubles, and the journalists who exposed them were not so clean as the liked to sound".

That's what it was about last time. Come along on Monday to see how much has changed.

Come As U R

Those of you with long memories - and quite a few of you with short ones - will remember Come As U R, by Eddie Coleman, which brought the house down at the King's Head in the winter showcase.

So successful was it that it's being given a proper production at the Landor theatre in darkest Clapham. Same cast, same director. That is, Pete Picton, Caroline Langston, Tim Gambrell, and Lynne O'Sullivan, directed by Amber Homes. So, it's a totally in-house production. A jolly comedy about wife-swapping. It doesn't get much better than that.

Being a one act play, Eddie is doubling it up with "Houston, We Have a Problem", which stars another P-P alumnus Victoria Johnston and begins thus:

"David returns home from a business trip with a surprise for his mother....a wife. But Dora is not best pleased with her son’s choice.

Can David convince his mother that Gemma is the one? And will Dora find space in her heart to accept her?"

I'm going on Thursday, so come and join the coach party! Tickets are ten pounds, concessions are eight. It only runs from Tuesday 16th to Sunday 21st, so be warned, time does fly.

The Little Prince

Anybody free on Saturday afternoon? Fancy a visit to the Rudolf Steiner House in Baker Street? Well, newish member Matthew Dexter is doing a "Storytelling performance of "The Little Prince" by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, at 3.p.m.

Prices are £7.50 for adults, £5 for children.

In case you didn't know it, and I've got a copy somewhere on my book shelves, it is a "gentle and funny story, perhaps for children, but appealing to the child in all of us. The adventures of a little prince who sets out to discover the universe, who meets quaint and quirky characters and creatures on various planets, and finally on the Earth.

A 'mystery story' suffused with esoteric Christianity in a way that can speak to audiences today: with a lot of humour".

So, go check it out.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Grace and Adaptability

On March 8th we have a "one-off TV/film comedy which takes an irreverant - but affectionate - dig at costume drama/literary adaptations" - or so writes Roger Mayhew, who wrote the piece, so he should know.

Roger continues: "The story centres around the Barnett family who have the task of hitching their 4 daughters and one son to suitable partners. There are the usual traumas along the way, a host of familiar characters and some surprises too. A large cast (13) of PP regulars - and some new faces. I hope members will find it fun".

It should indeed. Roger has been one of our most prolific writers of recent years, and he doesn't just write them, he gets them read at other venues, and had a famous production at the Kings Head of Kitchen Nights a year and a half ago. So, Monday March 8th. Be there.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Don't Worry About Me - the tv premiere

You will no doubt remember The Pool, which received its world premier at P-P four years ago. It then got turned into the movie Don't Worry About Me directed by TV star, David Morrissey. I've been charting its London Film Premieres and numerous appearances since, and now it's getting its tv debut - on BBC2 at 11.45 on Sunday night, just after the premiere of "In the Loop", which means it might get a pretty sizeable audience.
I haven't seen it, but I'll be setting the Humax in case I find I have to start propping up my eyelids with matchsticks.
Anyway, here's an interesting explanation by one of the screenwriters about how it all came to pass.

UPDATE: You have a few more days where you can watch it here. And if you missed it when it went out, and on the i-player, you can buy the DVD for a mere tenner. Or, if you're a cheapskate, you can enter this competition and try and get it free. ( Answer, Liverpool ). So, you've no excuse.