Many thanks to David H and Walter C for contributions to this page.
Gone. By Debbie Tucker Green. A young woman has gone missing. What people saw – or think they saw, saw wrongly, presumed through glimpses of her at different times – reveals more and more about the woman and what happened on the last day she was seen. As these unconnected people try to recollect what happened, each of them is fairly confident they know what they saw, but the story shifts with every new bit of information. We learn who these unreliable witnesses are and at what point in their lives we are meeting them. We also hear from the woman herself and gain some sense of how she got to where she did and what went on when there were no witnesses. The different versions of events slowly build to a disjointed version of who the woman was and what may have happened to her as the fragments of truth are drawn together. As well as a fascinating study of the impossibility of discovering one objective version of reality, ‘gone’ is a series of beautifully detailed vignettes of the intimate lives of an group of individuals, revealing their troubling secrets, their cruelties and their joys.
The Strange Case of the Man in the Velvet Jacket. A powerful and intriguing original play by Robert Forrest based on the writer Robert Louis Stevenson’s early life in Edinburgh. Set in 1873, the play focuses on Stevenson as a young man invigorated by the intellectual maelstrom that was still challenging the way people saw and navigated the world of arts, science and politics following the Enlightenment. He may have been unsure of what his role in all this could be, but it was the things he knew he had to reject – belief in God, a career in law or engineering – that were creating turmoil in his own mind and heartache in his relationship with his parents. And meanwhile his discovery of the female species was also pre-occupying his thoughts and emotions. Robert Forrest writes, “Famously Stevenson created no convincing or complex women in his fiction until late in his life, with (to a degree) Catriona and (wonderfully) the two Kirsties in Weir of Hermiston. But the Stevenson who is revealed in his letters and essays is altogether different; his understanding of women, his liking, respect and admiration for them, are very striking. There was a story that he developed an intense love for an older Highland woman (he later was indeed drawn to women older than himself), but that youthful affair has been dismissed as mere legend. But what if this mysterious woman is his own invention, his inner muse, a dream figure he conjures up and is then haunted by? There are shades of Jekyll here – he creates this woman and then can’t be rid of her. Is she the haunting figure of his muse?”
Number 10 by Jonathan Myerson is a drama about a fictional British Prime Minister and his staff. It has had four series to date, in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The first three series starred Antony Sher as Adam Armstrong, the Labour Prime Minister. The fourth series replaced him with Damian Lewis as a Tory prime minister in a minority government, in response to the United Kingdom coalition government which took office in 2010.
Good News Day. As the Prime Minister prepares to announce an amnesty for all immigrants working illegally in the UK, a serious tube crash threatens to jeopardise his plans.
And Raise them to Eternal Life. The party promised to eliminate Britain’s carbon footprint, but poll ratings are plummeting and the unions are cutting up rough. Even the PM’s stepson is protesting.
Who Won The Election? As the government prepares for a major cancer screening initiative with a private American company, a leaked letter between the Prince and the Prime Minister appears to advocate legalising cannabis.
Rule ofLaw. The PM is launching a new organisation intended to integrate Muslims into British society and prevent radicalisation. But first he has to decide whether to back Turkey’s application for EU membership.
Home and Away. Crises loom on two fronts as the Prime Minister faces a backbench rebellion while British troops are being held hostage overseas.
Untitled 01. After a man dies from a virus picked up abroad, newspapers run a panic campaign that questions the government’s security measures.
Untitled 02 . The Prime Minister falls out with the Chancellor when he discovers that she has dropped some key tax reforms. It seems he may have no choice but to sack her, two days before she is due to deliver the Budget.
Untitled 03. The Prime Minister finds himself embroiled in unexpected complications on a trip to Gibraltar, and his wife draws media attention by meeting a former party worker who has just been released from prison.
Untitled 04. The prime minister’s chief of staff has been attacked and seriously injured during a routine walkabout. When it emerges that the attacker was recently released early from jail under a government initiative, the prime minister is forced to consider whether he should resign.
Untitled 05. Following the tragic death of his Personal Private Secretary, the Prime Minister has called an election. With four weeks until the country votes, the polls do not look promising.
Be A Good Chap. After a general election, the Tories have won more seats but Labour got the biggest vote. Both need help from the Lib Dems, which will come at a cost.
And Drugs Won. In a pact with the Liberal Democrats, Labour have formed a government. But the new Lib Dem home secretary seems determined to stray off message, and the legalisation of drugs is top of her agenda.
The Visigoths are Coming. The Angolan Navy have occupied the British territory of St Helena. After six days, the PM and the Angolan Ambassador are locked in talks to try to prevent a declaration of war. But who has prompted this seemingly mad act of aggression?
A Failed State. The coalition is unravelling and, as his team scramble for votes to keep the government in place, the PM goes to his constituency and becomes embroiled in a housing issue involving a Somalian single mother. Is it deliberate politics or the last act of a collapsing prime minister?
Immortality at Last. The removal men are in – Adam Armstrong is finally standing down as PM and the new Conservative leader, Simon Laity, is moving in to Number 10. It seems the whole team will be out of a job – but there is a surprising last-minute offer from an unexpected quarter.
Untitled 01. Simon Laity- the new Tory PM – is trying to enforce across-the-board spending cuts but his ministers have all gone native. Then it’s leaked that he has commissioned a report which calculates the gain to be made by slashing the armed services budget in half. The Chief of General Staff goes ape.
Untitled 02. It’s a minority Tory government and they need Lid Dem support to get their Health Bill through – Whitman (LD Whip) wants imposed industry regulation, whilst the Tories want it to be voluntary. The good news is that they have just signed a huge armaments deal with Saudi Arabia- securing factories and jobs – which Hugo, the Deputy Prime Minister, did all the hard work on. But suddenly a journalist says that Hugo took a bribe while there – in the form of a prostitute….
Untitled 05. The Scottish Parliament is bringing in a ban on burqas and Number 10 wants the Prince of Wales to soften the blow by bringing Islam into his all-Faith Conference. But a Muslim millionaire announces he will pay all anti-burqa fines.. And Nathan is proposing a universal DNA database. But everything goes up into the air when Princess Eleanor, seventeenth in line to the throne, goes missing, maybe kidnapped. Is the Home Secretary to blame for cutting his bodyguarding bill?
Untitled 06. Simon was due to meet the US National Security Advisor in a room at Heathrow as they both transfer planes. But now Simon has to travel out to the plane because Buckley, the NSA is jumpy because an arrest warrant has been issued against him – alleging war crimes.
Untitled 07. On an estate walkabout, Amjad gets into an argument with a doorstep lender and punches him. The papers have a field day.
Rat in the Skull. By Ron Hutchinson. After a week’s interrogation at Paddington Green, Roche – an IRA suspect – is ready to make a statement. But then Nelson, a star interrogator from the RUC arrives, and things go seriously wrong. The play was first performed at The Royal Court Theatre in 1984.
The Murder of the Maharajah. By H.R.F. Keating. A princely state in India, 1930, under the British Raj. To Bhopore and its opulent Summer Palace comes a handful of Western visitors to meet the outrageous Maharajah and his entourage. There they meet the Maharajah’s heir and his English chorus-girl mistress. They meet the enigmatic chief minister-and the aloof British Resident, with his dignified little nine-year-old son. And before long they also meet sudden death…Various people in the Palace become suspects, and an imperturbable District Superintendent of Police is called in. But who will he find quilty of the murder of the Maharajah?
Zero Degrees of Separation. Three community writing groups from the Isle of Mull, Northern Ireland and London perform their own short plays. The Bank Van. By Carla Lamont, Derek Crook, Kirsty Lamont and Colin MacIntyre. Crosswords. By Ballycastle Writer’s Group. Shame on You. By The Original Writers Group, Battersea.
The Nightlords. By Nicolas Freeling. When a high court judge holidaying in France with his family, finds a naked corpse in their Rolls Royce, Henri Castang is called to investigate. What transpires is mocking mayhem, as Castang weaves his way through deception and mystery and Freeling’s wonderfully biting humour to unravel the secrets behind a thoroughly gruesome crime.
More Nicolas Freeling stories featuring Inspector Van der Valk can be found in the Detective Pages.
Zubeda. Naylah Ahmed’s play, set in rural India, is the parallel tale of two romances, one long-standing and unfulfilled and the other newly formed and full of hope. An elderly henna artist who has lived alone all her life has harboured a secret, which comes to light when she reluctantly takes on an apprentice for the first time.
It Started With a Click. By Chris Thompson. When Mike Swift’s marriage breaks up, he begins an internet search for his teenage sweetheart, Rachel Swallow. Despite the disbelief and advice of friend and colleague Susan Clay, he sets off to the Derbyshire hills of his youth in an attempt to rediscover the thrill of those long lost days. It’s not long before Mike is enmeshed in a saga of mystery, revenge and even possible murder.
The Marriage of Figaro. A rare chance to hear Beaumarchais’ original play. Bristling with social and political conflict, behind the comic intrigues of da Ponte’s libretto lies a drama that was considered too dangerous to be allowed to be performed in its own time. It is edgy, political, dealing with class and stroppy servants sensing the smell of Revolution in the air. The author, Beaumarchais, led a life as colourful as the world of his plays. At the height of the French Revolution, as he had been a royal servant, he was brought before the Revolutionary council. His life was spared when he declared in his defence that he was the creator of Figaro. This character epitomised the underdog striving to be free and was hugely popular with the revolutionaries. Napoleon realised its power when he declared it to be ‘the Revolution in action’.
The Orchestra. Devised, directed and produced by Rosie Boulton. An improvised play based on documentary interviews with real orchestral players, conductors and managers. David Adams is half way through a five year contract as Principal Conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra when things start to go wrong. A row with the brass section leads to a dressing down by the Board. Suddenly David is experiencing a deep crisis of confidence. How did this happen and will he be able to recover his self belief sufficiently to return to the podium and win the orchestra back? This improvised drama sheds light on the controlled and controlling world of Orchestral life whilst exploring universal themes of leadership, self belief and job satisfaction. The intention of this drama is to be as accurate and true to the orchestral experience as possible and it was conceived using frank and revealing interviews with those currently working in the orchestral field. Bringing Colin Metters, Head of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music into the cast is another means of achieving real insight into this very particular world.
The Phoenix and the Carpet is E. Nesbit’s second fantasy novel and is the sequel to Five Children and It. From Robert, Anthea, Jane and Cyril’s new nursery carpet there falls a mysterious egg which is hatched in the fire to reveal a benevolent, resourceful and ingenious Phoenix who explains that the carpet is possessed of magic qualities. And so begins a series of fantastic and bizarre adventures as the carpet transports the children and the Phoenix to places as diverse as a chilling French castle, a desert island and even the Phoenix Fire Insurance Company’s offices, which the Phoenix believes to be a shrine for his followers.
Legacy. By David Bishop. Following the death of their grandmother Rose, twins Jules and Harry have been left a legacy. But as they begin to discover it is no ordinary legacy. Rose worked for the secret services during the war and helped design The Legacy Project – a deadly secret weapon. Now years later it is still operational and Rose’s life ambition was to get it taken out of service one way or another. As a committed pacifist she believed such weapons should be de-commissioned. Jules and Harry have been left the challenge to complete Rose’s last wish to see The Legacy Project finally de-activated. Using clues and codes left by Rose, Harry has managed to penetrate the secret bunker complex that contains the nerve centre of The Legacy Project. But unknown to him his presence has been noted and others are searching the complex trying to find and eliminate him.
Play the Legacy soundscape game, a multi-platform project that combines radio drama and an audio-led adventure game to tell the story of Jules and Harry – two 20 something siblings coming to terms with their family’s shocking past.
The Camp of the Dog. By Algernon Blackwood. We traced the paw-marks from the mouth of his tent in a direct line across to the girl’s, but nowhere else about the Camp was there a sign of the strange visitor. The deer, dog, or whatever it was that had twice favoured us with a visit in the night, had confined its attentions to these two tents. And, after all, there was really nothing out of the way about these visits of an unknown animal.
The Good Soldier Svejk. By Jaroslav Hasek. Dramatisation by Christopher Reason of the satirical Czech novel by Jaroslav Hasek that charts the exploits of a WWI soldier. When he seems to celebrate the death of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Svejk is arrested and so starts his progress through the ranks of the Austro-Hungarian army.