Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Thomas Wheatley

Monday March 4th is talk time. Let treasurer Jethro Dykes explain:

'For those who want to learn about showbusiness, please come along to p-p to hear Thomas Wheatley talk about his career. A successful actor of the past thirty years and yes, he has been in a Bond film....

Thomas graduated from the Drama Studio in the early eighties and since then has forged his path in TV, film and theatre. He has always been self-deprecating about his success but he can boast of credits such as the Singing Detective, Where Angels Fear to Tread and The Bill. He did indeed play a British agent alongside Timothy Dalton in the Living Daylights. And this was no small part, in fact a major role in the story.

He will talk about the ups and downs of acting, and will answer questions afterwards. You'd be a fool to miss it!'

7.30 at the Three Stags.

Friday, 22 February 2013

That Man

February 25 brings us a rare musical. Let new writer Wendy Gill explain:

"A big band sound and visually stunning, That Man is a contemporary musical about love, lust, loyalty, and deceit, set in and around London. Themes of cultural diversity, romantic ideology and personal values provide conflict and poignancy as the story unfolds with moments of humour, sadness and violent outbursts.

City boys Rick and Graham are the first to take their seats at The European, an expensive cabaret club in the West End of London. Followed by Dominic and three other male colleagues, they are all out to celebrate the forthcoming marriage of Dominic with Larissa. Rick puts his best friend Dominic and colleagues to the test when he suggests a wager, based upon winning the favours of Rosa, the star of the show. When the wager backfires, Rick, who doesn’t like to take life too seriously, faces a serious dilemma. His pride and image among his peer group forces him to take a course of action in total conflict with his desires.

Dominic, Larissa and Graham become concerned as they witness the deterioration of Rick and Rosa. But his friends begin to tire of him as Rick seeks out distractions, in the guise of Katya, a pole-dancer and Zoe, the new intern at the office. Zoe’s office supervisor, Grace and her girls, provide comedic relief as they try to steer Zoe out of trouble. In her quest for survival, Rosa takes matters into her own hands – as indeed she had done the very first time she set eyes on Rick at The European. At the end of the play Rosa reveals the secret which she has tried, but failed to tell both her mother and Larissa. There is a violent outburst between Rosa, Rick, Graham and Zoe as Rick struggles to deal with humiliation and rejection when Rosa makes a pragmatic decision and takes up an offer from Graham".

John Morrison adds: "We don't often break into song at P-P but it may well happen on Monday. Our co-presidents Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, who know a thing or two about creating hit musicals, will be on hand at the Three Stags to give their comments".

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Infinity Land

7.30 Monday 18th February, at the Three Stags

John Morrison writes:
What I really want is a puffer fish. They’re my favorite. Their eyes face the front, just humans. Bright blue eyes. Real cute.’.

Nick Bruckman has worked as assistant/associate director in several theatres, including the Royal Court where he assisted Dominic Cooke with a Caryl Churchill play last year.  He has also worked with Kerry Michael  and Ramin Gray.  This is what he says about researching and writing a play about the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991:

"I flew to Milwaukee to research the life of Jeffrey Dahmer. I hung out with the giant mustachioed cop who arrested him, got drunk on shots people kept buying me at the bars where he went to pick up guys, and spent my day times at Milwaukee County Courthouse where I had my own little desk to trawl through boxes of court documents.

"I think the play I wrote is about not feeling part of anything. About wanting to connect, but not understanding how to. About burning desires, and not knowing how to quench them. It's about why we are so fascinated by people who commit monstrous deeds, and how that fascination relates to the impulses we suppress. It's about hobbies. It’s about spiraling out of control. And in the end, it's about being left behind."

Dan Davies read the play before we put it in the programme, praising its excellent language and fascinating imagery, but describing it as ‘as sickening as you’d expect for the subject matter’.

This is probably the most challenging piece of work we have read at P-P for some considerable time. Please come along, but expect to be taken outside your comfort zone.

‘You start cutting off the flesh in the leg area or the arm area and you simply work your way down.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Competition Play-Off - Results

Peter Thompson writes:

Monday : 4 February 2013 at the Phoenix Artist Club

Years ago the widow of a P-P member, Doreen McKay, donated a shield to be presented annually to the writer of the best 10 minute competition entry. It is now emblazoned with the names of the country’s most famous comedy writers who have used their success as a springboard to even greater things. Well, something like that.

On Monday 4 February we lined up the winning entries and runners-up from the year’s three competitions and had them performed again and marked out of 10. The result was extremely close, except that Tim Gambrell trailed in last place with 203 points for THE TOILETS OF TERROR, his entry for the CRISIS, WHAT CRISIS? competition. The story line was, I think, the thwarting of a plot to sabotage the Olympics by blocking all the toilets in Greater London. There were many disgusting puns and much ribald laughter but Tim wasn’t there to give it 10 – it was his turn to mind the baby – and without his support it sank to the bottom.

Peter Vincent’s CRISIS play, IS THE QUEEN AT SANDRINGHAM?, received my personal vote for the best title of the evening. It told the terrifying story of Phil Philmar and Denise O’Leary driving inland to avoid a Tsunami that was heading for Norfolk. Not enough laughs to get it more than 248 points, but well in touch with the leaders. William Gordon deployed Phil again as the great detective of Baker Street, having this time to save the honour of his medical friend, Silas Hawkins, who had been shopped by Mrs Hudson (Elizabeth Trueblood, of course, who played almost as many parts that night as Phil). The title, 50 SHADES OF DORIAN GRAY, tells you all you need to know about the plot (253points).

By a remarkable casting of the votes, Debbie Maya came second and third equal with her two competition winners DIVORCE PARTY PREP, which won the GOING FOR GOLD competition without mentioning the Olympics once, and THE WAITER, which won the CATWALK competition with almost more people on stage than in the audience. We were treated to a great soft shoe shuffle by the eponymous waiter, Jethro Dykes who lost his job as a waiter but got snapped up for the new production of the Chorus Line (261 points each).

The overall winner was William Gordon, not for the first time, with 276 points for WRITING FOR THE OLYMPICS, in which Phil Philmar (ITMA) told the sad story of the Writers Rescue Group and its missionary work amongst authors who cannot stop writing. What a great evening and a big round of applause for Natasha Staples who stepped up as our new Competitions Secretary, having been appointed less than 24 hours before, and gave us a brilliant evening of excellent original writing and fine performances.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

We Are Of The Dark

February 11th brings us our first day at the Three Stags, and we start with a bang: Giles Armstrong's new screen drama, We Are Of The Dark. I don't know much about it, though I do hope it involves vampires. Or at least weirdo space creatures hell bent on the destruction of western civilisation. They mostly come at night, mostly. And maybe this song will play over both the opening and closing credits.

Come along on Monday to find out. 7.30. At the THREE STAGS!!!

Three Stags

As a result of Monday's meeting, P-P has now moved to the Three Stags in Lambeth. The address is
67/69 Kennington Road, London SE1 7PZ.
The phone is 020 7928 5974 and email is contact@thethreestags.com

The nearest tube is Lambeth North.

Otherwise it's all the same. 7.30 starts, good company, excellent acting, interesting scripts.

Let's hope we last a little longer than the last venue!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Competition Play-Off

We may not have been here last week but plenty has happened. The first very disappointing piece of news is that our stay at the Florence is over. New owners have just taken over and have closed it immediately.

In the short term we've been lucky enough to return to the Phoenix for a one off reappearance on Monday 4 February 2013 for the Competition Play-off which comprises, from CRISIS WHAT CRISIS?

Is the queen at Sandringham

The Toilets of Terror


Divorce Party Prep

Writing for the Olympics

and from CATWALK:

The Waiter

50 Shades of Dorian Gray

But that's not all. The Committee will be meeting in the Bar of the Phoenix from about 6pm to discuss venues and other issues. Between 7.30-8.45 we will have the Competition Play-off. Then, from 9 we will have a chaired discussion of the venue situation and possible solutions. Then, at about 9.30 the Committee will reconvene and hope to reach decisions.

It's going to be a busy, and important evening. Do come if you can.