Many thanks to Jim for contributions to this page.
Mayflies. By Mike Maddox. Douglas Scofield has retired from the world of astronomy and, following the death of his wife, now runs a fish farm with his daughter, who is expecting her first child. All he wants is peace and quiet and a chance to write his book about fishing. However, a visit from an old colleague brings news of a message from a distant world, the very sign of life Douglas spent his career searching for. Is it safe to reply? Indeed, should they reply at all – and to what purpose?
Memorials to the Missing. Stephen Wyatt’s play follows moves during the First World War to establish an Imperial War Graves Commission to record the graves of those killed in action. Stars Anton Lesser and Michael Maloney.
Night Witches. Lucy Ash tells the extraordinary but little-known tale of Russia’s three all-female regiments that flew more than 30,000 missions on the Eastern Front during Second World War. At home they were celebrated as Stalin’s Falcons, but terrified German troops called them the Night Witches. Lucy travels to Moscow and Rostov-on-Don to meet a number of these formidable women, who are now grandmothers in their 80s and 90s. She discovers that their bravery has inspired aerobatic champions, comic book artists and even a Dutch heavy metal band.
OK Computer. By Joel Horwood, Chris Perkins, Al Smith and Chris Thorpe. A man wakes up in a hospital in Berlin with no memory of who he is, or where he comes from. Once the details of his life are recovered, he is repatriated to Britain and into his former life.But he is haunted by the suspicion that this is not his real life at all. The play celebrates Radiohead’s seminal 1997 album OK Computer and draws on themes from each of its 12 tracks.
A Night With Johnny Stompanato. Jonathan Holloway’s hard-boiled Hollywood drama is based on a true story.One night in 1958, police were called to the home of superstar Lana Turner. The actress’s current boyfriend Johnny Stampanato lay in a pool of blood, stabbed to death by Lana’s daughter Cheryl. At the subsequent inquest, Turner gave the performance of her life.
Caesar Price Our Lord. By Fin Kennedy. Illusionist Caesar Price has reproduced nearly all of the miracles of Jesus and built a massive cult following, but is he prepared for what will happen when he decides to stage the crucifixion?
Crime and Punishment. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s romantic thriller about guilt and redemption. Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Porfiry, a suspicious detective, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption. As the ensuing investigation and trial reveal the true identity of the murderer, Dostoyevsky’s dark masterpiece evokes a world where the lines between innocence and corruption, good and evil, blur and everyone’s faith in humanity is tested.
Dr Freud Will See You Now Mr Hitler. By Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. At the age of six, Adolf Hitler suffered from recurring nightmares. The village doctor recommended a child psychiatrist in Vienna, a young man named Sigmund Freud. Adolf’s brutal father, however, wouldn’t hear of it. But what if…
Elephant and Castle. Robin Baker’s romantic comedy charts the relationship between insecure, self-destructive Ian and enigmatic aspiring novelist Kat. The story begins at the end of their relationship and goes back to its origins and Kat’s arrival into the midst of Ian’s premature mid-life crisis.
Germinal. Set in 1860s France, a struggling mining community takes refuge in the revolutionary young outsider, Étienne. Emile Zola’s masterpiece brought vividly to life, dramatised by Diana Griffiths.
Last Days of Grace. By Nick Warburton. Easter Monday 1908 sees snow on the ground as WG Grace contemplates another day in his long cricketing career. Arriving at the Oval, the ageing icon cannot bear to sit in the clubhouse to meet the usual people. Instead, he trudges out into the cold to face a different type of questioning.
Mrs Warren’s Profession. By Bernard Shaw. The issue of Victorian prostitution and double standards are examined in dramatic form as Mrs Warren reveals to her daughter the source of her income and admits her daughter’s own parentage. Having completed her studies at Cambridge, Vivie Warren intends to become a lawyer. She has two suitors, Frank Gardiner, the son of the local rector and an older man-about-town, Sir George Croft. She is shocked when her mother reveals that the source of the family income is from European brothels, and that Croft is involved in the business. Vivie rejects Croft, who reveals that she cannot marry Frank Gardiner because he is her half-brother. Vivie rejects her mother and pursues an independent life. This is an important play – effectively banned by the Royal Chamberlain for 30 years because of its subject matter. It still raises issues of morality and fair trade, as well as the role of women in the workplace.
So Much Blood. By Simon Brett. With Francis Mathews. Charles Paris takes his one-man show to the 1999 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, filling a vacant spot at a student venue which is a hotbed of behind-the-scenes drama, until a stage dagger turns murderously into a real one.
More Charles Paris in the Detective Pages.
The Worst Journey in the World. Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s gripping account of his experiences as the youngest member of Captain Scott’s polar expedition team, adapted by Stef Penney. In the austerely beautiful icescapes of Antarctica, things go disastrously wrong.
They Have Oak Trees in North Carolina. Sarah Wooley’s suspenseful drama about a marriage in crisis, a split-second decision and the choices we make to try to ensure our future happiness. In 1986, Ray and Eileen’s five-year-old son Patrick vanishes in Florida. Twenty two years later, a good-looking American named Clay arrives in their small village, claiming to be their missing son.
More Alan Ayckbourn on the Alan Ayckbourn Page.
The Duchess of Malfi. By John Webster. The Duchess of Malfi is one of the great Jacobean plays, and this new production focuses on the personal tragedies of a powerful family rent by lust and betrayal. When the widowed Duchess marries her steward Antonio, the choice challenges the accepted social order and established lines of power. It also brings her into direct conflict with her powerful brothers, the Duke Ferdinand and the scheming Cardinal, and tragedy ensues. The dark tale is enhanced by dark music written especially for the play.