Friday, 7 December 2012

Christmas Party

Is is that time of year again? It does come around so quickly these days, doesn't it? As ever there is a packed evening of poetry whimsy and song, with contributions from Anthea Courtenay, Silas Hawkins, Julia Collier, Peter Thompson singing (?!), Colin Pinney, Phil Philmar, Janice Day, Jethro Dykes, Debbie Maya, and then the panto, Bondarama, written by Tim Gambrell. There is even some prize-giving. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without them.

Fun starts at 7.45.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Catwalk - the results

Peter Thompson writes:

"It was perhaps too much to expect all the entries for the CATWALK competition to be about models in the fashion industry. Some were, although written from a somewhat absurdist angle, but others took the word CATWALK as the name of a new restaurant, an old night club and a dark alley. Angela Higson’s CAT WALK unfortunately over-ran but it had some good jokes about a protective mother spoiling her son’s chances with a girl she deemed unsuitable. Was mother the cat in this piece? She was certainly manipulative. Cliff Chapman’s DEDICATED FOLLOWERS seemed to be a classic catwalk story of a young male model waiting to go on although seriously under the influence. Gradually we learn that this is not a fashion show: he is in a cell and is about to be executed, unless his girlfriend can save him, which she can. Goodness! 150 points .Next up with 205 points was Eamon McDowell’s aptly titled MODEL MADNESS, in which everything went wrong because of the personal assistant’s booking the stars for the wrong day. Above that in the final order was a charming little story of a cat and a mouse, abandoned by the house-owners, who realise that they need to work together to survive; happily they end up walking off into the sunset paw in paw: 224 points for THE MISFITS by Peter Vincent.

In fourth place with 242 points was SHORT CUTS by Roger Mayhew: the setting was an alley through which assorted members of society pass, young and old, couples in love, other couples arguing in Polish, a man committing a crime, a woman doing little acts of kindness, everyone contributing to a broader story of life in the city. Oh yes, the alley was called THE CATWALK and the Council decided to close it. Just above that was Carrie Eden’s CAKEWALK in which the beautiful but bulimic fashion model stereotype was challenged by a portly matron who knew her way round the Equality Act: 244 points. So where was Sherlock Homes? Surely not modelling a new line in deerstalkers! No, Mrs Hudson brought him news that Dr Watson’s bedtime reading included 50 SHADES OF DORIAN GRAY, which she came across when cleaning under the floorboards in his bedroom. The Great Detective put this revelation together with blonde hairs on the doctor’s clothing and other indelicate evidence of attendance at the notorious CATWALK nightclub and the game was up. But Watson’s honour could still be saved: you know my methods, Hudson: 273 well-deserved points for Bill Gordon. Finally, the winner was, yet again, Debbie Maya, this time with THE WAITER. The scene is a newly opened New York restaurant, called THE CATWALK (prop. Phil Philmar). He has reviewers in, although he doesn’t know it, and they are served abominably by Jethro Dykes, as the waiter who aspires to be a film star. Phil berates him for his incompetence; but casting directors at the next table like his style. So, in a lovely reversal of fortune, the proprietor sees his reviewers storm out, determined to destroy his business with withering reviews while the abominable waiter goes on to Hollywood. First place with 278 points and drinks all round and congratulations to Fiona McGee for putting on such a varied and enjoyable entertainment".

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Visionary

In recent years there has been a tradition for the last play of the year to be voted the best play of the year. Can it happen again? Come along on December 3rd to find out. It's another play originating from the Collaborative Group and is by its chief instigator, Mary Conway. As Mary explains:

"There is a space between childhood and the grown up world where hopes for the future are built or forever compromised.

Ben is in this space.

Though Ben and his friend, Art, have just completed university with flying colours and have made plans to take the world by storm, for Ben return to his family home is accompanied by a deep questioning of everything he has known. As he struggles with what is real and what is not and redefines the relationships that have defined him, we see him emerge into an adult world stronger, more purposeful but with a kind of humility that is essential to intelligence".

The play is influenced by these lines from T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland:

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
- But who is that on the other side of you?

The cast, as we go to press, includes such luminaries as Lee Knight, Caroline Langston, Andrew Ward, and a welcome return for P-P's very own Greta Garbo, the much-missed Paula Gilbert.

7.45, at the Phoenix.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Harry & John

After last week's aborted reading, this coming Monday's script is even more keenly anticipated. It's a one act stage play by Kevin Connor, whose last two pieces were an amusing mixture of zaniness and absurdity, quite unlike anything anyone else at P-P comes up with. Can he deliver a hat-trick? The story sounds slightly more grounded, as Kevin explains:

"Harry’s a security guard and witness to the private life of a superstar. Set between 1964 and 1968 in a security cabin at the exclusive St George’s Hill estate in the Surrey stockbroker belt, Harry & John is a story of friendship, fame, drugs and sex. Based on John Lennon living in Weybridge from the explosion of Beatlemania through to the hippie movement of the late nineteen sixties, the play asks the question – is it possible to lead a normal life when you’re the most famous person alive?"

Sounds rather good. I don't think the theme, "what's it actually like to be really famous?" has been dramatised all that much over the years. One of Woody Allen's early, funny films, Stardust Memories, gave it a shot, but what else? Anyone... anyone... Still, we'll find out on Monday, 26th November, at the Phoenix, 7.45.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

History is History

November 19th provides us with a long-awaited play by one of our most illustrious allumni, Roger Mayhew. It's a stageplay so topical that the pixels haven't even dried yet. As Roger explains:

"Abby has gone to the School Prizegiving to see her daughter win an award for History but is unaware that her own past is about to catch up with her".

So what do you think? Is she about to be exposed as a closet Tory, paedophile, or both? Or is she herself the victim, about to wreak revenge on her tormentors? If the Newsnight crew are in the house, all bets are off.

Come along on Monday at 7.45 and all will be revealed.

Well actually it's the future. Owing to a fixture clash, History has been postponed. It'll reappear next term. Sorry.

Country Life - the radio version

For those who missed it when it was done at both Rada and the Old Red Lion last year, here's your chance to miss it again. The good people at the Wireless Theatre Company provided the time, the original cast provided the cast and Paul Blinkhorn came back to direct it. All you have to do is subscribe and listen. You can also get it on iTunes.

You can even check out its author's new website, here.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Catwalk

Is it that time already? Yes, it is, it's competition time. Last year, as a response to the influx of actresses joining P-P, we ran a comp on the theme of HEN NIGHT. So popular was that that we're doing it again this year, with the theme of CATWALK. But will it do the trick, and conjure up roles for "binders full of women"? Come along on Monday 12th November to find out.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Somewhere I Have Travelled

November 5th brings us some theatrical fireworks in the shape of Ninaz Khodaiji's new, sixty minute stage piece, which she tells me, is about the "Pursuit of Happiness". It may or may not have some connection with a poem by ee cummings, which has a similar title.

Friday, 26 October 2012


It's that time of year again: the AGM. So, bring your pitchforks, mouldy tomatoes and rotten eggs. And maybe some interestng questions as well, who knows.

Monday 29th October, at 7.45.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Sisters of Mercy and Redemption

Another Monday, another P-P debutant, and another play that has had a reading before. The ninety minute stage play The Sisters of Mercy and Redemption by Gemmas Mlls McGrath last got a runout in May at the Steyning Festival, and concerns "a middle-aged Irish immigrant and an outreach worker meet, and get much more than they ever could have bargained for".

It also contains "explicit sexual language". What more could anyone ask for? 7.45 Monday 22nd October, at the Phoenix.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

On the Permance of Fugitive Colours

Plenty of playwrights have their own websites. Fewer plays have them. Fewer still are the plays that are only getting readings. But On The Permance of Fugitive Colours isn't exactly an unknown work. It and its writer, Cyd Casados both have websites. And the play had a three week run at the Hen and Chickens two years ago. But just because a play has had a production doesn't mean its the finished article and here it is for the P-P faithful:

It's a "brutal look at modern love, ON THE PERMANENCE OF FUGITIVE COLORS explores addiction, evolving sexual mores and the boundaries of love. Two people begin a sexual affair, neither willing to bow to the trappings of a traditional relationship. A 21st century romance, this is a story of loneliness, unrequited love and unspoken fidelity".

 7.45 at the Phoenix, Monday 15th October.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Imaginary Circles

Monday October 8th brings us a 70 minute play from the pen of Mark Brown. Sez Mark:

"It's a dark tale of murder, mystery and custom. A 16 year old girl is found dead on the beach of a small rural island after a mighty storm. The boy who found her is assumed to be her boyfriend and when it is discovered that she was murdered he is charged with the task of finding the killer and exacting the revenge that the island custom demands. But finding the right killer is not easy amongst all the paranoia, prejudice, lies and tradition".

Sounds rather enticing. 7.45 at the Phoenix.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Led Astray & Witness for the Defence

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time we had Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran come along with one of their readings it was two homesteads ago at the Horse and Groom with a tryout for their musical version of Goodnight Sweetheart. But now they're back, with Led Astray, a thirty minute tv sitcom. Before this, there's a thirty minute piece by their mentor Don West, still alive, kicking and writing, with Witness for the Defence. Should be a cracker.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Tristan Bates Speakers

There's no reading for Monday September 24th. Instead, the evening will be filled by this term's speakers, Ben Monks and Will Young, from the Tristan Bates Theatre.P-P stalwarts will be familiar with the theatre, as last week we read in one of their rooms, and the double bill of Is Anything Broken? and Final Score played there this summer as part of the Camden Fringe.

Ben and Will are the creative producers, and you can read more about them here. So get reading, and get ready with those all important questions so that you can find out more about how exactly you can get your play put on there.

Monday, 7.45.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Theatre of Absolution

Monday 17th brings us a brand new 90 minute stage play by a brand new writer, John Rowe which got a big thumbs up from its mentor. According to Jethro Dykes ( for it is he ):

"a very challenging and exciting work".

But what's it about, Jethro?

"A broken young man arrives at the theatre and a director takes him under his wing. The healing power of drama?"
Never happened to me but I'll take his word for it.  The question is will you?

Come along at 7.45, Monday.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Aberfan & You Can't Kiss Me

New term begins on September 10th with a double bill of scripts developed from the Collaborative Writing process. Both are 25 minutes long. First, by Debbie Maya, is Aberfan, a staged dramatised documentation of the events that occurred early on the morning of Friday 21 October 1966.

"It contains poetry, prose, actual quotes, dramatic scenes and music to remind us of this terrible tragedy which effectively wiped out a generation of children."

After a brief, liquid refreshment, we then have a comedy film treatment by Peter Vincent which he enticingly describes as "a study in masochism". I wonder if any of our lady members can say, after a summer spent lying on sun-loungers reading Fifty Shades of Grey, whether he has caught the tone right. As the great man himself says, he "desperately needs the wise and humorous input of PP to support a habit he is ashamed of... (writing things…)"

Here's a song with the same title. No doubt entirely unrelated.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Getting It Off My Chest

Following the smash hit double bill at the Tristan Bates comes this one woman show, written by and starring Janice Day, based on her highly-acclaimed piece of autobiography. It got a reading at P-P late last year, but here it is, for two nights only at the Etcetera, this time with all the words memorised, so it should be even better! Fun starts at 7.30 on August 19th and 20th.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Final Score & Is Anything Broken?

This time last year we were in the throes of getting Country Life up and running for the Camden Fringe. Well, here we go again, and this time P-P is back with a double bill. First up is Final Score  by Lisa Fulthorpe. Lisa, you may remember, had a big smash with Love and Other Gamesa at the Etcetera and this is the followup. Directed by Emma Blundell, it's about "friendship, parenthood and football collide in this darkly comic drama about failed ambition".

"Meet Keith and Christie – they’ve got it made: their son’s the rising star of the Premiership League. Meet their life-long friends, Eddy and Samantha: their son excels at nicking donuts and smoking dope.

With the kids out on the lash together, celebrating their joint sixteenth birthday, the parents throw a party of their own. But as the drinks flow, friendships fracture, leading to enmity, betrayal and disaster".

It's at the Tristan Bates Theatre from Monday 30th July to Saturday 4th August. (Mon to Wed 7.30pm, Thurs to Fri 9pm, Sat mat 5pm)

Tickets are £8. However, if you'd like to see 'Is Anything Broken?', as well on the same night, also produced by Player-Playwrights, at the same time, it will only cost you £14; only available through the box office on 020 7240 6283 or in person)

The second play, 'Is anything Broken?' is by Dan Davis and is adapted from his BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play. The stage version is directed by Maja Milatovic-Ovadia, and runs on the same dates, (Mon-Wed 9pm, Thu-Sat 7.30pm, Sat mat3.30pm)

This is a real-time comedy drama about the stress of modern life. "Ambitious architect Patrick is about to catch a flight to present a career defining project when his son has an accident at school. Go to him, or get on the plane? This thrilling satire explores the new 10th circle of hell, where the super connected are forced by instant communications to make crucial life-changing decisions at light speed.

How far do you go to get the job done?"

Tickets £8 (book to see 'Final Score', also produced by Player-Playwrights, at the same time and see both for £14, only available at Tristan Bates box office)

Book: 020 7240 6238 or

The Actors Centre, 1A Tower St, Covent Garden, WC2H 9NP

UPDATE: Both got fantastic reviews. Here's one, and here's another.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Go West, Young Man

A message comes through from our Presidents:

"Today we were reunited with Don West. We hadn't seen him in twenty years and thought that if we don't hurry along to see him (he is 93) then we probably won't ever see him again. After all, it was Don who approached a very young Laurence and Maurice and said, "I really think you two should try writing together." Prophetic words.

I attach a photograph taken this afternoon, some 38 years after we met Don on our first visit to Player Playwrights. We have all grown older and wiser, and we are all still writing. Don has just completed a new play that we said we would discuss having put on at P-P".

Peter Thompson continues:

Don West joined Player-Playwrights in 1948 and has been writing stage plays ever since. He was the man who, in 1974, persuaded new boys Laurence and Maurice to try their hand at sit-com and told them how to do it. Yesterday they called on him in his country retreat to say thank you and to see if he needed help changing a ribbon on his typewriter. All three went down to the pub, as one does, and reminisced. Those who don't remember Don's early years as chairman and 18 years as secretary may need reminding that, of all our members past and present, he has had the most stage plays published and produced [starting with a P-P production of THIS PASSING NIGHT in 1954] and has won the most prizes and awards. His thrillers, such as VACANT POSSESSION, NO EXIT, THE LAST TEA BREAK and DON'T CALL FIONA are still to be seen on the Am Dram circuit.

We'll see if we can't arrange a reading of your latest play next term, Don: so don't stop writing!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A Father's Love

July 9th brings us the final piece of the term, a sixty minute stage play by Michael Mills with the above title. As Michael asks:

"What is a father's love ? Why and when does it live and die ? A stranger comes and forces a father and son to confront these issues".

Come along to the Phoenix on Monday at 7.45 to see how things work out.

And just because it's the end of the term, doesn't mean that you can all go off the Faliraki until September, as there are three P-P productions at the Camden Fringe in August. More news to follow...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Jesus in the Bran Flakes

Another Monday and another P-P debut. This time, July 2nd, it's the turn of Gordon Crawford, whose 45 minute radio play gets a reading. As Gordon describes it: "When a parishioner has sightings of Jesus in her breakfast cereal, how will a cynical priest, a go-ahead archdeacon and a retiring bishop react?"

It's easy to do. I spent five minutes glued to the pic on the left, and have already noticed The Dalai Lama, Doris Stokes and Che all glaring back at me. See if the trio of Bible-bashers take a similar line on Monday at 7.45.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Going for Gold

Monday 25th June is competition time, and, ever-tuned to the zeitgeist, the theme this term is Olympian in scope. At least six sketches are on the cards, none longer than ten minutes. Who wins? You decide. Fun starts at 7.45.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Running Out of Time

Monday June 18th brings the welcome return of P-P veteran Denise O'Leary, fresh from her stage triumph with Pandora's Boxes. This time it's a 60 minute radio play entitled Running Out of Time "about love and loss written to a secret formula.  To find out what that formula is, please come along!"
That's what Denise says it is. Find out on Monday at 7.45 to see if she's right.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Amanda Whittington Speaks!

June 11th and a double bill. First up is our guest speaker,. Amanda Whittington. Amanda will be talking to chairman John Morrison about her plays, about her successful career in regional theatre, and about her work as chair of the Theatre Committee of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain ( for more see this. She's best known as the author of the phenomenally successful Be My Baby, about a group of pregnant girls preparing to give their babies up for adoption in a Church of England hostel in 1964. Like her other plays, including Ladies Day and Ladies Down Under, this one has wonderfully realised female characters and dialogue so sharp it leaves our chairman, for one, "feeling madly jealous". Nick Hern Books licensed an incredible 72 amateur productions of her plays in 2011. How does she do it? Come along on Monday and find out.

Then it's a reading of the new radio sitcom by Dylan Davies and Tim Gambrell entitled Me and My Mum Against the World. I read the very first draft, when it was solely Mr. Davies' responsibility. I shall be intrigued to see what the Great Gambo has added to it. I shall be there. Shall you?

Thursday, 24 May 2012


Occupy: The Silent Scream, to give it its full title, gets it P-P premiere on Monday, May28th. It's the first play by yet another new writer to us, Melody Bridges, and she explains it thus:

"On the eve of the eviction night outside St Paul's Cathedral a planned march gets out of control and police reaction starts urban warfare.

No - this isn't true this is theatre.

In this ambitious new play about the Occupy movement, actors take the parts of Occupiers, playing actors. Its a play that asks what is theatre and what is true? And how does an innate love of drama bind these two groups together?

Taken from the stories and opinions of Occupiers - this is a play that attempts to define a protest movement that wants to redefine what this term means.

Interweaving three layers of narrative, we go on a giddy journey through modern discontent, romance comedy and social realism.

What space should theatre have in Occupy? And what space does Occupy have in the theatre?"

Like I said, Monday at the Phoenix at 7.45.

Monday, 14 May 2012

What If...?

Monday May 21st brings us a new plays by P-P newcomer Phil Mison. Here's his blurb:


Their story has been told in hundreds of books and a million articles. John, Paul, George and Ringo. The Beatles. The biggest group in the history of popular music. Despite half the world’s population being born after their last collaborative recorded work, the mass appeal remains as strong as ever, the Beatles appeal seemingly timeless.

This highly original piece plays with the facts, and the personalities, to hurl the Beatles story into a capricious and arresting vortex by suggesting ‘What if Lennon and McCartney HADN’T made it? It’s fiction yes, but not fantasy. This treatment shows how easily it could have happened.

Diligently researched to get under the skin of our protagonists and portray this all too believable story, the drama takes a delicious path with The Beatles back in 1962 about to release their debut single for EMI. Six years on from his first schoolboy ‘performance’ fronting The Quarry Men at a Liverpool church fete, founder John Lennon is no nearer hitting the big time. Our play opens by portraying the moment that summer the group fail an audition on the UK’s then biggest TV talent show. Frontmen John and Paul may have developed some form of stage presence – more out of bravado than anything – but neither new recruit Ringo nor a nervous George give any hint of star quality.

This work is categorically not another juke box musical, nor has it been written as a hagiography for Beatles fans. Themes of serendipity, fortune and human frailty are universal and Shakespearian in scope. By choosing to explore a life for John and Paul where ambition is thwarted and dreams wither, questions are asked on life’s great imponderables and how we all react to adversity and misfortune. The piece determines to show the Liverpool lads as ‘just like us,’ a trait they successfully retained throughout their careers, despite the madness of superstardom and public scrutiny. This is a powerful, compassionate, bittersweet, reverential, thought-provoking, humorous play with a heart-wrenching finale to agitate emotions and resonate with a mass audience, should they be fans of The Beatles or not.

Authors note: The reading for May 21st is an abridged radio play edit tailored for presentation to Radio 4. The duration will be approximately 45 minutes.

Next Monday, at 7.45. Be there.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


It's been a while since Ninaz Khodaiji graced out with one of her works. A sitcom called N10 was the last one, if I remember rightly. Now she's back with a full length play that has already been produced, back in 2004 at the Oval House. and before that in India the year before. Here she is explaining all to the good people at the Stage.

Come along to the Phoenix on Monday 14th to see how it's changed.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


Monday 30th April brings us a television pilot by P-P newcomer, Thomas Dee, who explains:

'Civilization is skin deep.'

"In a society forged by conflict, the rot has begun. In 1959, the city has entered its seventh year under siege in a brutal civil war. Consumption tracks the slow decay of social order within a city under a vice grip. The recent renewal of the encirclement has led to further outbreaks of starvation, typhus and cholera. But while the poor of the city battle hunger and conscription into the regiments, the new elite live better than ever. The upper strata of this necropolis are now the remnants of the civil government, the military, and the new, all-encompassing, security agency; SIRIS. By day these forces work to crush communism and dissent, from within and without, but by night, they eat drink and be merry. They must, for as they all know, in their heart of hearts; one day the city will fall, and when it does they will be doomed along with the order that created them. Outside, the communist insurgency waits, while the fabric within becomes undone.
The series aims to cover as many aspects of society within the city as possible. From the travails of a young school principal trying to maintain a semblance of order for the children within the ragged military district, to the Senior SIRIS agent, utterly corrupt and desperate to get out, to the rookie mayor, who is slowly realizing his real role.
Consumption is a snapshot, taken from a wide angle lens, into a city that lives, breathes, stinks and dies throughout its final years".

7.45, back at the Phoenix.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

We Have a Speaker!

And she's a goodie! Amanda Whittington, a playwright who is very successful in the regions, will be coming for a q&a session on June 11th. The programme has been suitably amended and I'll write more nearer the time.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Absent Father

The old term may have ended but our work here at P-P is never done, and the new, albeit temporary, programme, is up. And the first thing to note is that because the Phoenix is unavailable we shall be returning to our previous home of the Green Man in Great Portland Street, FOR ONE WEEK ONLY on April 23rd.

The great flood of 2010... the world premiere of Bonfire Night.... David Carr demanding two hours of his life back.... ah the memories!.

And the second thing to note is that the script is by Progamme Secretary Mark Lindow. We had a ten minute excerpt of this last term, where the consensus was that it was a fine beginning, but we all wanted more. So here's the whole forty-five minute radio play, where all the loose ends will be cleared up. Maybe

And like I said, it's at the Green Man. 7.45, April 23rd. Be there.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Reconciliation

Monday April 2nd brings us Tony Killaspy's The Reconciliation. Eagle-eyed readers with good memories may recall that when the programme the term was supposed to end this week. But such is the surfeit of excellence lately that we've decided to keep going for one more Monday. The Reconciliation is yet another result of the Collaborative Project. Tony was paired with Mary Conway they chose to write about Belief/Faith. As Tony explains: "Mary sketched the 6 scenes which was based upon a family and how it changed over the years. As the writer I developed the characters highlighting the conflict between Miriam (the Jewish mother) and her Marxist husband Joe. The final scene shows how conflicting views can, in a fashion, be reconciled".

It's a 45 minute stage play and it starts at 7.45.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Crisis, What Crisis?

March 26th brings us this term's competition. I think the world first came across the title Crisis What Crisis? when middlebrow seventies rockers Supertramp named an album thusly. It proved so successful that it joined the language, and when Jim Callaghan made the cardinal sin of going on holiday during the economic downturn, the Sun decided to pretend he said it. He didn't, but that's politics for you.

So, what do you think we'll get on Monday? A bunch of old mates reminiscing about Breakfast in America? Or a couple of sketches about David Cameron and Ed Miliband? Come along to the Phoenix at 7.45 to find out.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Clare and the Clairvoyant

March 19th will be a notable date in the P-P calendar, as it brings us the first ever play by stalwart actress and former casting secretary Anthea Courtenay, and is another result of the P-P Collaborative Playwriting Group. It was sparked off by initial discussions about our beliefs and other peoples’, and was written with support from members of the group and valuable input from improvisation by P-P actors.

Here's the blurb:

"Clare, married to a workaholic surgeon, is approaching the big 40 and feeling dissatisfied with her life. Amy, a clairvoyant, promises her a happy future. But is Amy taking Clare for a ride?"

Sounds promising. 7.45 at the Phoenix.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Laura's Journey

March 12th sees the long-awaited full debut of P-P publicist Debbie Maya, with her 45 minute TV drama  Laura's Journey ( no relation ), which has emerged after much input from the PP Writers Collaboration Group, set up by Mary Conway and Roger Mayhew.

"Amnesia victim, Laura Musgrove has a guilty secret. Or does she? She can't even remember her name, let alone whether she murdered her husband. Now, she's on the run".

I reckon the butler did it. Come along on Monday to find out.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Ambrose Pierce

Monday March 3rd brings us the pilot for a 60-minute, post-watershed
supernatural drama series entitled Ambrose Pierce by P-P debutant Richard Cosgrove. Let Richard explain:

"In 1899 Lord Ambrose Pierce's search for an otherworldly seducer who ruined a young gentlewoman, becomes a fight for his life, and then his sister's soul.

In 2012 Doctor Anna Mirza's life is saved by a man she knows is comatose in the psychiatric unit she runs. A man who calls himself 'Lord Ambrose Pierce".

Not to be confused with this gentleman, then. This is fiction. 7.45 at the Phoenix.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

And to my Daughter

February 27th brings us And to my Daughter by Jan Harris, who won P-P Writer of the Year some while back, and whose play Dear Diva is soon to be published by Samuel French following its successful production at last year's Camden Fringe.
Let Jan explain: "This is an account of the marriage and the scandal that surrounded the last months of William Shakespeare's life. The story belongs to Judith Shakespeare, and her fight for recognition from her wealthy, famous Father.
The dates, characters and events are all fact. However, I have taken dramatic license with the cause of the Bard's death, and that of his son's Hamnet".

7.45 at the Phoenix on Monday. Be there.

The London Spring

Last May Francis Beckett had a reading of his one act play American Go Home. It's now been rewritten, retitled ( a much better one, IMNSHO ) and is being produced at the Etcetera in Camden, in March, from 6th to 25th. Francis, very helpfully, has written his own articles explaining all here and here.

Nice caricature, no?

The Whore's Asylum

We don't just do dialogue here at P-P. Some of us have even mastered the art of writing prose. One, in particular, being Katy Darby: she was our writer of the year in 2010, She's also been known to tread the boards, and sing. And now she's got her first novel out, and it's been getting great reviews, so many in fact, that I can't list them here. Go to Katy's own website, where she's been busy keeping up to date with them. Even better, go buy the book.

A Russian Play - the production

Many will remember the reading of A Russian Play by new P-P member John Thompson on 14th November last year. It's now being produced at the Lion and Unicorn. Further it's also been nominated for two Off West End Awardw as best new play and best set. It opened a week ago and runs until Sunday 4 March.

Read all about it here.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Either Way

February 20th brings us a 40 minute comedy by Carolyn Eden, who last graced us with a pair of radio plays just over a year ago. This one, according to Carrie, is about Susie, a young actress and her father. It is called "Either Way" in reference to the lie that would-be employers often say "we'll let you know either way," As Susie waits for the birth of her child she tells her midwife a bit about her family and her life as a mostly out of work actress.

I wonder if it's based on real life, perchance. Find out on Monday at 7.45, I guess.

Anyway, Susie will be played by Fiona McGee, Dad by Silas Hawkins, Mum by Toni Brooks, Muriel - Dad's friend - by Anthea Courtney and the nurse, Jules by Denise O'Leary.

Now that's what I call a cast.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Lodger

Many of the world's greatest artists end up calling one of their works "The Lodger". One thinks of glam rock superstar David Bowie, who named one of his albums thusly.

Then there was cockney film-maker Alfred Hitchcock, who made a brief appearance in his early talkie:

Following in their footsteps is poet-turned-dramatist Jethro Dykes, whose first play gets a reading at the Phoenix on Feb 13th. It concerns:

'Elizabeth lives with her husband, Nigel, who is rather dull. She invites a lodger to live with them. He is also her lover. The lodger is a short romantic thriller, hitchcockian and slightly sinister. However, it will not offend as it is rather gentle.'

So, perhaps the title is a homage to the East End cineaste. A sultry blonde? A McGuffin? A couple of murders, with an innocent man the suspect? Come along on Monday at 7.45 to find out. The reading even stars Mr. Dykes, and it's also getting a couple of performances in April, on 18th and 19th at the Lord Stanley pub in Camden. So if you want to get a preview, be there on Monday.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Love and Other Games 2

Sequels do not on the whole have a good track record. For every Die Hard 2 there are a dozen Jaws 2s, Police Academy 2s, and Neverending Story 2s ( well they said it was neverending ). Undettered, Lisa Fulthorpe brings us Love and Other Games 2 ( "Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the bedroom" ) a sequel to last year's Fringe smash which first opened at P-P before becoming part of both the London Fringe and the Camden Fringe. Word on the street has it that it's one piece, logner than last year's playlets, but it's still two characters, in or out of love, chewing the fat, and coming to some sort of realisation that Things Can't Go On As They Are.

The first series was funny and pithy and truthful. Will the sequel live up to its original? Come along to the Phoenix, Monday at 7.45, and find out.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Jeremy Howe & Absent Father & Last Man Standing

Monday 30th January brings us a triple bill, with the main event being a talk by the BBC's Commisioning Editor of Drama, Radio Four, Jeremy Howe.

So get your questions ready: who do I send my radio play to? Do you listen to cds people have made of their own scripts, because you're so bored of reading them? When are you going to bring back Listen with Mother?

That kind of thing.

Then, to supplement the evening, come a brace of fifteen minute radio playlets by the two Marks, messrs. Lindow and Brown. Maybe he'll stick around to give them a listen.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Is Anything Broken?

Monday January 23rd brings us a writer new to us, Dan Davies, but he isn't new to the real world. Indeed, a version of Is Anything Broken? is getting a hearing on Radio Four in the spring. So here's our chance to see the stage version. It's a comedy-drama, set in real time that uses momentum and the stuff of real life to build into a thrilling, pitch-black satire.

Here's the outline:

"Patrick, an architect catching a flight to give a major pitch, is settling down to enjoy a few moments of luxury in the executive lounge when he finds out his son has had an accident at school, a thread that will cause his tightly-stretched life to unravel, at a really inconvenient time.

Patrick and deputy architect Oriane now need every second their plane has been delayed to re-organise his over-complicated work and home life; juggling multiple simultaneous phone calls, the arranging of childcare, marital breakdown, call centre delays, emergency emails, overlapping commitments, and the jealousies and petty power plays between them - they enter a nexus of mind-bending stress. A hadron collider of obligation and commitment requiring ever faster decisions; the 10th circle of hell newly opened for the super-connected of the 21st century.

"Is Anything Broken" is about the fabric of our lives and the sacrifices our jobs demand, often so quickly we barely notice until it is too late. As such, it’s also a dramatic examination of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s suggestion that “action is character”.

Monday, 7.45 at the Phoenix.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Competition Play-Off

Early January means only one thing to the P-P cognoscenti: The Play-Offs. We have three competitions a year, and the top two go through to the finals. Form means nothing now, it's winner take all, men from boys, sheep from goats. Last year I won one of the term comps and came last in the final, so I should know. It's all up for grabs. Game on.

The difference this time is that the pieces are a bit more rehearsed ( or could be, if some of the original casts are being used ) and anoynymity has been abandoned. We know who you are.

Monday 16th January. Fun starts at 7.45.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Celebrity News

Some of you will have received the Celebrity Newsletter for the last year in your inboxes. Some of you won't, in which case, here it is, detailing the joys of the Christmas party, 2011's award-winners, and some of our more recent successes, as compiled by our chairman John Morrison.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Last Orders Please & The Lady from the Esplanade

Yes, we're back! Monday January 9th at 7.45 in the usual place. In 2010 Peter McKelvey won the best comedy award. In 2011 he won the best play award. Can he complete a hat-trick in 2012 with this double bill of short stage plays? Come along to the Phoenix to find out.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Winter Programme

It's up, in the usual space. Eagle-eyed readers may notice that some spaces haven't been filled. That's because they're still available, so if you have a piece ready to go, get in touch with the new Programme Secretary Mark Lindow.