Tuesday, 24 November 2015


In all my years I can't recall one person getting two plays into the same programme but that illustrious record is about to be made by Kevin Mandry. Hot on the heals of Buskers comes Eros:

London, 1995, and the Internet is starting to rewire the human brain, as The Image becomes all-powerful.

"We fed the heart on fantasy
The heart's grown brutal on the fare..."

It's about internet porn, apparently. An issue close to all our hearts.

Kevin submitted a picture of a camera. I preferred one that was somewhat both more tasteful and apposite. Not that there's anything pornographic about Ms. Brook, of course.

7.30, Monday 30th November, at the North London Tavern. Remember to wear a dirty mac.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Monday 23rd November brings us this term's competition, on the theme of Brexit. Hey, who says we don't do topical? Usual rules apply.

7.30 at the North London Tavern.


Peter Thompson writes:

In the winning play Pete Picton, as the Prime Minister, was very pleased to see BREXIT on the Cabinet agenda.  Having only had muesli first thing he was strongly in favour of bacon sarnies all round.  He was not the only one to have difficulties with the title of our autumn competition.  But five skilled craftsmen [Wot no Wimmin] produced clever and, in one case, very erudite, works of drama on the BREXIT theme.  They did well.

Nick Rose was the least successful with SALVATION, but it scored a healthy 123 points and had an exciting start, as the tanks moved into position on the Cliffs of Dover and the Prime Minister of the day, played by Denise O’Leary, exhorted the sappers to blow up half the Tunnel, but to leave the other half as an emergency exit.  As I closed my eyes, as required by the new Spiritual Leader, I could hear the distant timbre of Mrs T.  But peace and astral harmony won the day, disappointingly.

Next up was Michael’s Barry’s ARE WE ALL IN?  This was an entertaining family squabble about whether to leave the Book Club seeing that some new members had deplorable literary tastes and others only came for the refreshments.  Faced with an even split within the family the casting vote was given to Martin the goldfish.  But by the time he was ready to move (clockwise for In, anticlockwise for Out) he had forgotten the question.  Ultimately it was decided to have the issue determined by the upcoming referendum on EU membership, which some us had by then spotted raised very similar issues and tensions.

BE ALL MY SINS REMEMBERED was a philosophic gem by Peter Vincent, whose learned play summoned to the heavenly throne of justice three notorious characters: Brian Rathbone, Beryl Reid and that logic-chopping unbeliever, Bertrand Russell.  Judge Giles had no difficulty in opening the pearly gates to the two thespians, but the third BR only just escaped an exit to another place, pursued by bear or possibly Beelzebub.  John Bunyan and Ludwig Wittgenstein came into the story too, as you would expect, and earned the author 149 points.

In second place with 158 points was Peter Skyte’s play about the PM’s attempt to re-negotiate terms of membership with some heavily accented Europeans, played with ferocity by Anthea Merkel, Silas Hollande and Francis Juncker.  Despite riling them with his “I’m All Right, Jacque”, attitude the PM finally won them round with his arguments for limiting membership and weighting the voting in favour of larger countries.  Then at last the euro dropped.  They were re-writing the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, beautifully clued in by the title NUL POINTS!

Finally the winner with 176 points, IN, OUT, SHAKE IT ALL ABOUT by Phil Philmar, with Peter Picton as PM.  His policy is to leave Europe and, in addition, to move the country somewhere warmer, but without bumping into France: “I’m not an idiot. Obviously I’ll let someone qualified steer”.  But he reckons without Scotland, who won’t take the brakes off!  Wonderful.  Please write us another episode, Phil.

A great evening, masterminded by Natasha, Peter, Christa and Chukwudi.  Many thanks to them all and to the clever writers and wonderful performers.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

We Need to Talk About Clive & Whitaker's Lunch

Monday 16th November brings us a double bill of stage plays. First is a one act drama by the prolific John Hill called We Need to Talk About Clive:

"Talking in the cinema is not to be encouraged, except when Anthea Courtenay and Elizabeth Trueblood are the only ones there and they are watching a porn film and musing about Kevin's activities. In this production you will not  see the film (sorry), But the conversation is hilarious."
After the break we then have the welcome return of Francis Beckett. It's been a busy year for Francis, so it's good to have him writing stage plays again. In case you'd forgotten what the great man looks like, here he is, posing, perhaps as Whitaker himself. As Francis explains:

"Whitaker, public relations consultant, has invited a new client to lunch. Now all he has to worry about is what he’s going to do when the bill arrives".

Sounds appetising. Be at the North London Tavern, at 7.30.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


John Morrison writes:

"This is to remind you that we have our annual general meeting coming up on 9 November at 7.30 pm at the North London Tavern, and this year it will be more important than usual.

We have been offered the chance of moving back to central London from January 2016 after more than a year of meeting weekly in Kilburn.  The Phoenix gastropub near Victoria has an upstairs room which is available on Monday nights.  As you know, finding a central London venue at an affordable price has been an uphill task.  Many members have been reluctant to make the journey to our current venue, and a return to a more central location would give us a chance of restore our Monday night attendance to its previous healthy levels.  The Phoenix is at 14 Palace Road SW1E 5JA, next door to the St James Theatre.  The AGM will allow members to express their views on a possible change of venue, though a final decision will have to be taken by the new committee.

The other vital agenda item will be electing a new committee and replacing officers who are standing down, including myself as chair.  Most importantly, Peter Thompson is standing down as programme secretary after many years organising our weekly readings, though he is prepared to continue as secretary.  The programme secretary's current workload can be reduced if the task of reading and mentoring scripts is shared with two or three others.  Our long-standing treasurer Tony Diggle is also standing down.  We also need a new competitions secretary and two new casting secretaries, preferably actors who can share the task of assembling casts for our readings, and we need help to improve our website.

If these key posts cannot be filled, either from the existing committee or our wider membership of actors and writers, then our weekly programme cannot continue in its present form.  P-P has a long history going back to 1948 and it now needs a fresh team to take over.  So if you think you can contribute, please contact Peter Thompson, preferably before 2 November when the existing committee will meet to look at our options before the AGM.

I would like to appeal to all current (and lapsed) members to make a big effort to attend the AGM if they possibly can".

7.30 at the North London Tavern.