Composers and their stage works 


Big Bad Mouse.

Farce. Philip King and Falkland Cary. From an idea by Ivan Butler
M3 (19, 40, 50) F4 (18, 50). An office.

In the Orders Office of Chunkibix Ltd, it is Mr Price-Hargreaves who gives the orders and Mr Bloome who obeys them. Until, that is, Mr Bloome is one day accused of chasing a young female person across Wandsworth Common making him the hero of every woman and girl in the office not least Miss Spencer. So glorious is Bloome's transformation, in fact, that when the young person in question discovers she has made a mistake in her identification, Bloome is the reverse of pleased and determines to keep her quiet.
ISBN 0 573 01532 5

Big Fish, Little Fish

Comedy Hugh Wheeler. 5 men, 2 women. Interior.

In this case the Big Fish is a former professor of great promise whose career went to pot when a trustee's daughter committed suicide, leaving a note that compromised him. Since then he has lived in the oblivion of an insignificant research job, maintaining an apartment which has become the nesting place of an incredible assortment of friends. There is somebody's wife from Conshohocken, Pa., with whom he has had an affair for 20 years, an old-maidish gentlemen who teaches art, a dyspeptic and presumptuous ex-publisher, and a young and highly successful author ... . These people all love him in their divergent ways, and it is this affection upon which he feeds and upon which, conversely, they are equally dependent. So strong is this mutual bond that when he is offered a permanent job which will take him abroad the sycophants rise in fierce indignation, and it is only the persuasion of the young novelist which induces him to leave his complacent rut. The final episodes of the play bring the realization that in his fulfillment there will yet be a need for these friendships, and his dear ones are secure in knowing their contribution to his regeneration.

The Big Funk

Play John Patrick Shanley. 3 men, 2 women. Unit set

A series of self-revelations opens the book of life on the characters, drawing their view of life. From here we watch them interact: Omar throws knives for a living and muses about the state of the world. His understanding wife, Fifi; suddenly pregnant with twins, acts as a rudder for him, and often for his fiiend, Austin, an out of work actor, who believes the world would be a better place if everyone would do something, even one small act of kindness. He follows his own advice when he comes upon Jill, a young woman sitting in a bar, covered with grease. Jill had been attracted to Gregory, but on their first date, he berates her and covers her with petroleum jelly. When Austin finds her, he must break through her distrust of strangers and persuade her to let him clean her as an act of merry. He succeeds and gives her a wonderful bubble bath, the cleansing becoming a metaphor for the play: that the big funk engulfing society will dissipate only if everyone will join in the purification process. A dinner party later reveals the zany and deep way in which the characters try to make things better, despite their obstacles and even their triumphs. The play's theme is summed up by Austin, addressing the world in a very unique way, asking us all to chose love and life over neurosis and death.
ISBN: 0-8222-0114-3

The Big Knife

Play Clifford Odets. 8 men, 4 women. Interior

The story tells of the last few days of Charlie Castle, a top movie star and an idealist, whose years of compromise with his beliefs for the sake of a Hollywood career have resulted in the slow destruction of his personality. We see his struggles to escape from the net of insincerity and falsehood in which he has trapped himself, and his ultimate defeat.
ISBN: 0-8222-0115-1

The Big Slam

Bill Corbett. 2 men, 2 women. Unit set

In The Big Slam we follow Orrin, a shy young student of history, who gets caught up in the 90's incarnation of the self-help movement via his friend Russell, a handsome seducer in whose shadow Orrin has always lived. Russell is on a quest for success - in every area of life: financial, sexual, emotional and spiritual. Orrin is happy to go along with Russell's quest, if it means keeping the company of his charismatic friend. But one night they meet Stephanie, a sexy, ruthless young lawyer recently fired for ethical lapses. She and Russell make an immediate sexual connection, and ditch third wheel Orrin. When they emerge from Stephanie's bedroom months later, it turns out that in addition to becoming obsessed with each other, Russell and Stephanie have become devoted to a new program for financial aid and spiritual success called Strategies for Power - a home seminar based on a dynamic late night infomercial. Russell and Stephanie have been studying and training relentlessly in its ways. They're to go and apply it to life now. And - as Orrin learns later - they want him to bankroll their enterprise with his life's savings. Though skeptical at first, Orrin finally agrees when Stephanie works her rhetorical and sensual charms on him. From there it's a strange stew of ambition, slippery language, love, and sex, as Orrin tries to make sense of his newfound world in terms of the thing he knows best: history.
ISBN: 0-8222-1692-2

The Biggest Thief In Town

Comedy: Dalton Trumbo. 10 men, 2 women. Interior

In a small town, the undertaker and the doctor plan to steal the body of the town's wealthiest citizen. That gentleman, a crook, has just passed out of the picture and the undertaker, who has led a quiet and honest life to date, sees no reason why he should not get a well paying job. So the undertaker and doctor enter the home of the deceased and proceed to take his body back to the shop. The undertaker and his friend picture a rosy future until the corpse comes to life and regains consciousness. The old gentleman is left on the sofa in the undertaker's office, where he proceeds to reveal the fact that he will die penniless, leaving his affairs in such condition as to make legal trouble for his successors. The undertaker, who has bought an option on the only bronze casket west of New York, sees himseif stuck for a goodly sum and is not unwilling to allow the job of attending to the deceased financier (he has since actually died) to go to a rival. When he is on the point of unloading the casket on his rival, he gets a temporary case of conscience and agrees to sell the casket for what he paid for it. His rival evidently thinks he is deceiving him when he reports that the millionaire has died penniless. So he hangs up the phone with the parting shot: "It's your funeral" A pleasant romantic interest is sustained by the undertaker's daughter and a young dancer, who have become engaged and plan to carve out a career for themselves as professionals.
ISBN: 0-8222-0116-X

Billy Irish

Play. Thomas Babe.3 men, 1 woman. Exterior.

The scene is a rundown farm in Vermont where two brothers, Billy Irish and Joe Witness, tell each other tales of their conversations with the likes of Mick Dagger and Bob Dylan and (as they also imagine themselves Jesse and Frank James) of the men they have killed in the course of their criminal careers. When a young couple appear, claiming that their car has broken down, Billy and Joe suspect a trap - a premonition which is borne out when the boy and girl shortly steal back, announcing that they ate Bonnie and Clyde and taking the two brothers captive. When all four are then encircled and held at bay by an unseen force which gives them two minutes to surrender, the line between fantasy and reality is blurred still further and yet, somehow, also illuminated by the ensuing talk of Vietnam, political assassinations, religious fanatics, Charles Manson and other people and events of America's turbulent recent past. In the end Billy shoots Joe and then goes out to face a fusillade of bullets himself - but not before helping the two young people to escape, freeing them to pursue the disturbing destiny for which, sadly, the disjointed times have surely conditioned them.
ISBN: 0-8222-0120-8

Billy Liar

Comedy. Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
M3 (19, 50s) F5 (17-19, 40s, 80s). A composite set.

Less than dedicated to his job as undertaker's clerk bored with his North Country family background, Billy Fisher takes refuge in his own invented world. For Billy, an energetic imagination makes life tolerable but well-nigh intolerable for all around him. He lies his way into and out of every situation producing any explanation and making any promise that will extricate him from his present predicament, and thereby creating ever more tortuous entanglements for the immediate future.
ISBN 0 573 11142 1

Biloxi Blues

Comedy. Neil Simon
M7 (18-20) F2. Various interior and exterior settings.

This sequel to Brighton Beach Memoirs won the 1985 Tony Award for Best Play and received its British premiere at the Library Theatre, Manchester, in 1991. When we last met Eugene, he was coping with adolescence in the 1930s in Brooklyn. Now it is 1943 and the saga of Eugene Morris Jerome, alter ego of the youthful Neil Simon, continues with him as a young army recruit during the Second World War. 'Joyous and unexpectedly rewarding.' New York Times
ISBN 0 573 69040 5

The Bird Cage

Drama. Arthur Laurents. 8 men, 5 women. Interior.

A dramatic tale of a hardboiled owner of a night club, The Bird Cage, in which not only the owner but all the employees symbolise a phase of metropolitan life which is both ironic and tragic.

A Bird in the Hand.

Comedy. Derek Benfield
M4 (37, 40s, 50) F6 (18, 30, 40s). A flat.

When Sylvia returns only twenty-four hours after walking out, her husband Max isn't exactly overjoyed. Nor is three times divorced Harry who has set the wheels in motion to recapture the romantic successes of their youthful days of bachelorhood and it's too late to stop the young ladies arriving! Sylvia watches with much amusement as her hapless husband tries, and fails, to appreciate the delights of freedom and finally decides that the bonds of matrimony are preferable.


Play. Naomi Wallace, based on the novel by William Wharton
M6 (16,17, 21, 22, 50). Various simple settings.

Naomi Wallace has skilfully transformed William Wharton's novel into a compelling, intimate piece of theatre. This is the journey of Birdy and his friend Al who are seen both as young men in Philadelphia in the years just before World War Two and as wounded soldiers bearing the mental and physical scars of war. Period 1930s, 1946 ' ... ingeniously conveys the essence of the book's attraction.' Evening Standard

The Birthday Party

Play. Harold Pinter
M4 (35, 50, 65) F2 (25, 65). A living-room.

Goldberg and McCann arrive at a seaside boarding house where Meg and Petey live with their guest Stanley. They inquire about Stanley: we soon find out that McCann and Goldberg have a job to do. Learning it is his birthday they give Stanley a party at which Stanley is verbally bludgeoned into submission. The next day Stanley is removed. It is the collective impact of the dialogue which welds the seemingly inexplicable actions of Goldberg and McCann into a menacing whole.
ISBN 0 573 01042 0

Birthday Suite.

Comedy. Robin Hawdon
M3 (30, 40) F2 (30). Two adjoining hotel rooms.

Geoff Tippet has arranged a special birthday treat for his old friend, Bob. The treat is a hotel room for the night, a double-bed which folds up into the wall and an attractive girl called Mimi. Add a shy Kate who anxiously awaits her computer agency date - Dick, who has been shown into the wrong room; Bob's wife Liz, who believes she is dining with Geoff, and a connecting door between the two rooms and you have the recipe for a fast-moving and hilarious comedy.
ISBN 0 573 11509 5

A Bit Between the Teeth.

Play. Michael Pertwee
M3 (middle-age) F2 (young). A flat.

Fogg arrives home prepared to spend a peaceful night. He has not allowed for the antics of his philandering partner, Reaper, who has not only been using Fogg's name in his affair with the sexy Mrs Barker, but also borrowing his car. When the car is stolen a frantic chain of events is set in motion involving the over-inquisitive Inspector Ruff, and Reaper's wife and mistress - both called Diane-and what follows is an hysterical nightmare of confusion.
ISBN 0 573 11035 2

Biting the Bullet

Play. Frank Vickery
M2 (late 20s, 55) F3 (young, middle-age, 58). A living-room.

Ted, undergoing a mid-life crisis, leaves the house he and home-loving wife Beryl have shared for thirty-two years. At first Beryl is shattered but gradually works back from the edge of despair, helped by her exuberant daughter Angie and down-to-earth neighbour Dawn. A holiday abroad, a complete make-over - not to mention a platonic friendship with the young handyman, who gives her new ways of looking at life - rescue her from the nightmare of separation.
ISBN 0 573 01920 7

Bitter Sanctuary

Play. Rosemary Anne Sisson
M2 (30s) F5 (20s-40) 1 boy (12) 1 girl (9). A refugee camp hut.

Stefan and Tanya are determined to prevent themselves and their children from sinking into degradation. In their cramped, bare space in a displaced persons' camp, they try to create a home, to teach their children, and above all, to retain their dignity. Emigration and escape is their only hope, thus Tanya's greatest sacrifice must be to send her husband and children away to Australia even though she is barred from the country by having TB. This is a play that can inspire great affection and love, not just for itself, but for the whole human condition. Period 1960s
ISBN 0 573 01514 7