Thursday, 25 November 2010

About Xmas & Unrestricted Visits

November 29th brings us a double bill by newbie writer Carolyn Eden. No, not that Carolyn Eden, this Carolyn Eden.

"Carolyn Eden hates writing. Worse than writing is editing. Worse than writing, editing and cutting is, of course, not writing. She quit smoking on 5th October 2005. Her current hobbies are eating and dieting",
we are told. She is also known as, as an actress, Carrie Cohen. Anyway, I've read both pieces. They're shortish radio plays, both coming in at about half an hour, and I have to say they're rather good. Well, I don't have to say it, but I'll say it anyway. Because they are.

Come along on Monday, and see if you agree.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Sweeney Todd

Being a self-effacing chap, Philip Philmar doesn't like to brag about his close personal friendship with Hollywood superstar film director Tim Burton. Partly because it doesn't exist. But he has featured in at least two of his movies, and in Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, he actually got to speak. And he did more. A whole lot more, as you will find out if you turn on your tellybox on Saturday night when it gets its network premiere on Channel Four at nine thirty five.

Here's a taster. ( gettit? )

Get your popcorn now.

Best of Enemies

Remember this, by Julia Collier? It got a reading in July last year, and now it's gone to full production.

"The Golden Age of Hollywood is revisited in this dark screwball comedy of two bitchy gossip fuelled reporters as they face off on the chat show from Hell. No really, from Hell. As they are brought face to face with the devilishly charming host Ed Vocatti, they must learn to take account of the damage that their muck raking has caused, and the lives they have ruined".

Press night is tonight, November 23rd, though it's already sold out, at the Landor Theatre, 70 Landor Road, Clapham North, London Sw9 9PH, and the box office is 020 77377276. It runs till Saturday 27th, with a matinee that day as well. It's directed by Ed DeCesare and Matthew Partridge.

It's the first half of a double bill, so that's double your entertainment. Be there or be square.


Anyone miss Katherine Way's latest contribution to Doctors? The episode Hex can be found here, on the i-player for the next week.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

All I Want for Christmas

What do you want for Christmas? The New Jamie Oliver book? A lifetime subscription to Sky Sports? Or maybe even an Ipad. Well we know what Katy Darby wanted, and her wish has been granted. It's a full production of All I Want for Christmas. We last saw Katy in September when we had a reading for her high-scoring musicless musical ( you had to be there ) Girlfriends. Well here's one she co-wrote earlier. Being as it's on at the Jermyn Street Theatre I reckon that qualifies as a West End Premiere. Hats off to Katy. It was actually done as a one act play at P-P, at the Horse and Groom. But since then it's been expanded, and songs have been added, co-written by Luke Bateman. All in all, it's another major achievement in a stellar year for productions by P-P writers.

Desperate for a perfect Christmas, Tone hires escort girl Irina to pose as his girlfriend when he goes to his parents for Christmas Day. But tensions soon rise and secrets spill in this black comedy about obsession, the search for happiness, and why It's A Wonderful Life is the most important film ever made.

Katy Darby and Luke Bateman are winners of the 2010 Mercury Sounds Of England Competition.

( I didn't know that. Ed )

"Twisted, thought-provoking and outrageously funny ... the perfect antidote to the usual saccharine fare that fills London's theatres over the festive season." Desmond O'Connor

"Darby and Bateman are the real thing" BBC 2

Jessica Martin, Andrew C.Wadsworth with Erica Guyatt and Rob Hughes

Tuesday to Saturday 8.00pm Saturday & Sunday matinee 4.00pm

Tickets: £16.00 £12.00 concessions

Not suitable for children under 12

Call the Box Office for further information on: 020 7287 2875

Competition - End of the Line

Monday 22nd November is competition time, and the theme this term is The End of the Line. It was so over-subscribed that I can exclusively reveal that my entry missed the deadline. No worries, as I wasn't too keen on it. However, there are ten that did. So what will we get? A black comedy about a scary animal being caught by a fisherman? Or a doom-laden horror movie about a train full of zombies drawing into a deserted railway station?

Come along on Monday to find out.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Tipperary & Peasoupers

It may be a long way to Tipperary but if you come along to the Phoenix on Monday 15th November at 7.45 you can hear the radio play named after the place, written by, if not our oldest, certainly our wisest member, Peter McKelvey. Peter's even got into tweeting now, and has also been undergoing a seemingly successful, body transplant, which may explain his recent non-attendance at P-P.

At any rate, Tipperary is a thirty minute piece, and will be closely followed by another, similar length play, Peasoupers. Is one about Ireland, the other about London, back in Victorian times?

Come along on Monday, and find out.

Monday, 8 November 2010

The Irish Wake of Paddy McGrath

After its triumphant, sellout turn at the Camden Fringe in August, our very own Nicola Hollinshead returns in The Irish Wake Of Paddy McGrath which plays at the London Irish Centre, Camden, Nov 9-11 @ 8pm (with 2 pm matinee Nov 11) for three days, four performances.

TICKETS @ £10 (£5) from 0207 226 0524 or here ( via PayPal)

The writers of this play decided upon an Irish wake. But a wake with a difference! After all, Ireland is the only country in the world where the craic never ends even when a wake is over. This one is set in an Irish village where most of the community living there seem to be descendants of patients from a Dublin mental home. People like Martha; the nosiest neighbour you will ever come across and Shamus who would win awards for being Ireland’s greatest idiot. Also witness Bridget, eight months pregnant and single mum of ten kids, dance the night away. If you have never been to an Irish wake then you have to see this one for it tops any wake ever held. Wakes will never be the same after this, with top class actors like the one and only Eileen Pollock (best known as Lilo Lil in the BBC comedy "Bread") as Fanny McBride, a character who turns up at the wrong wake.

The Irish Wake of Paddy McGrath is liberally laced with foot-stomping traditional music, dance and song from a talented cast of eedgits from Ballydaff village.

AGM Minutes

Present: John Morrison (ch), Peter Thompson (sec), Tony Diggle (tr), Peter Briffa, Maryse Addison, Daniel Dresner, Colin Pinney, Debbie Maya, Sally Eyl, Geertje Dunning, Tony Killaspy, Peter Francis-Mullins, Eamon McDonnell, Lynne O’Sullivan, Peter Vincent, Victoria Johnston, Stephen Coe, Ajay Gohill, David de Keyser, Ninaz Khodaiji, Bill Gordon, Giles Armstrong, Mary Conway, Belinda Blanchard, Eddie Coleman, Silas Hawkins
Apologies: Tim Gambrell, Niall Spooner-Harvey, Anthea Courtenay, Chris Prior, Phil Philmar, Roger Mayhew, Denise O’Leary
Chairman’s remarks
John welcomed a good attendance and congratulated members on a productive year and many successes including a very good Showcase at the King’s Head and strong participation in the Camden Fringe. But our recent venue changes had been disruptive and scripts had been in unusually short supply. He hoped that the Phoenix Arts Club, which we could use without paying rent, would enable us to get on with marketing our business and improving the recruitment and retention of younger members. Victoria was to be congratulated on introducing us to this attractive venue (applause).
Minutes of AGM 2 November 2009 were approved
Treasurer’s report
Tony reported that our end of year balance (£1619.56) was at a record high, despite having spent over £300 on leaflets, and increases in the cost of insurance and visiting speakers. On the other hand recruitment and retention of new members had been extremely poor. We needed to consider how to bring in young writers and actors. Peter V and Victoria suggested that the Monday night attendance fee of £2.50 was a turn-off, whereas £2 would be acceptable. Victoria also suggested that we should be willing to allow people from the Industry to make occasional attendances as guests without having to join as members [Tony D said that he was willing to be flexible about this]. John suggested that we return to this discussion later in the evening.
Programme Secretary’s report
Peter Briffa confirmed that there had been a general shortage of scripts this year and that plays that were booked well ahead sometimes failed to materialise. He had therefore had more difficulty than usual in filling the programme (32 scripts read instead of the usual 36) and had to allow scripts in where advice of a mentor was absent or had gone unheeded. Comments from the floor suggested that the mentoring system was not well understood (although the explanatory leaflet Getting Your Act Together is on the P-P website) and that although good mentoring advice is given writers are often unable or unwilling to do a rewrite in the time available or to lose a place in the programme (that Peter B would find it hard to fill). John concluded that the mentoring system was sound: the problem was the shortage of scripts.
Election of officers and members of executive committee
The following serving officers were elected by a show of hands for a further term:
Chair John Morrison (p Peter Thompson, s Colin Pinney)
Secretary Peter Thompson (p Tony Killaspy, s Bill Gordon)
Treasurer Tony Diggle p Belinda Blanchard, s Giles Armstrong)
Programme Secretary Peter Briffa (p Peter Thompson, s Eddie Coleman)
Competitions Sec Lynne O’Sullivan (p Peter Thompson, s Stephen Coe)
Awards Sec Giles Armstrong (p Peter Thompson, s Peter Briffa)
Publicity Officer Ninaz Khodaiji was elected on the proposal of John Morrison, seconded by Peter Thompson,
Casting Secretary Victoria Johnston was elected with acclamation on the proposal of John Morrison, seconded by Peter Thompson and with promises of support by Belinda and Daniel. The handover by Anthea will be finalised over Christmas
The following serving Committee members were elected en bloc, on the proposal of John Morrison, seconded by Peter Thompson: Belinda Blanchard, Daniel Dresner, Roger Mayhew, Eamon McDonnell, Peter Vincent.
John expressed the gratitude of the society for the contributions made over the years by others on the Committee (Silas Hawkins, Chris Prior, Niall Spooner-Harvey, Elizabeth Yuill) who were not seeking re-election. Tony Killaspy was elected to join the Committee on the proposal of Peter Vincent, seconded by Peter Thompson.
Christmas Party arrangements
The Christmas Party will be at the Phoenix Club on 13 December 2010 and a buffet will be provided (for which Tony D will pay £200). Lynne will organise the entertainment and would welcome scripts and offers to perform. Giles reminded award-holders that their trophies need to be returned to him in time for presentation to the new winners.
Guest speakers
Amongst the new names put forward were Tony Jordan (Eddie Coleman can introduce) and Stephen Dee. Also Ninaz favoured a workshop evening (or afternoon) and will put a worked-up proposal to the programme secretary. John Morrison has it in mind to invite the organiser of the Camden Fringe Festival to give us a talk.
Showcase 2011
Another King’s Head Showcase was a well-supported option for 2011 but John mentioned putting our funds into productions on the Fringe or at Fringe Festivals (possibly in collaboration with others) or at the Phoenix Arts Club (which would ask for no more than a share of the Box office take) or at the Courtyard where Tim Gill might be able to allow us a rent-free week in the Spring. Following an inconclusive discussion John said that the various possibilities would be considered further in Committee. In order to assist the consideration of different options Peter V and Eamon were invited to go through the 32 scripts presented this year and report to the Committee as soon as possible in January.
Any Other Business
Returning to the general issue of recruitment and retention, a number of suggestions were made
• Belinda is reactivating P-P Facebook, with Victoria and Peter B (and others?) as administrators, to publicise P-P’s ongoing programme and activities
• We should be more welcoming to people coming for the first time
• Authors should see that a cast list is always provided
• Visitors who have not been before should be invited to provide an email address as well as a name when paying their attendance fee
• The selection of someone to chair the Monday night discussion should not take place on the night but a week before
• Tim Gill has a database of unsuccessful entrants for the Kings Cross Playwriting competitions and a way may be found of interesting the authors in P-P
• An open competition for short plays (eg suitable for the Camden Fringe Festival) was suggested, with prizes to attract interest from outside the membership. But the administrative processes are onerous and there was no enthusiasm for it.
Monday night attendance fee
The proposal that Monday night attendance fees should be reduced to £2 from 1 January next year was put to the vote and carried by 10 votes to 6 with a large number of abstentions.
Peter Thompson 2 November 2010

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

One More Round

No relation to the little known movie, One More Round is another of Roger Mayhew's experimental pieces. As Roger explains: "It's set at a bar; 4 guys who meet regularly after work. Cast each given a full character description and all given a sequence of entrances, exits and topics to discuss. Each character has an issue in their life.
I would audio record the session and then work up the full play afterwards with the 4 actors - intending then to stage it with that cast. Not yet got a title but for working purposes lets call it 'One More Round' ".

Sounds different to say the least.

Saturn's Return

Those of you who were wondering whatever happened to Richard Evans need wonder no more. He's been away, rehearsing for Saturn's Return, which gets its UK debut tonight at the Finborough Arms. Here's a review of it from the USA from a couple of years' ago, just to whet your appetite. 75 minutes without an interval, and it runs to November 27th.