Composers and their stage works 


It Can Damage Your Health

Comedy. Eric Chappell
M5 (1 Indian) (20s, 30s, 40, 50s) F1 (20s). A hospital ward.

Based on Eric Chappell's hit TV series Only When I Laugh, this traces the fortunes of a disparate trio who share a Men's Surgical ward: the cynical, defensive Higgins; the young, nervous Gary; and the weary hypochondriac Palmer. Together, they form an uneasy alliance against the confusions and insecurities of hospital life.
ISBN 0 573 01795 6

It Could Be Any One of Us

Comedy. Alan Ayckbourn
M3 (early 40s, mid 50s) F3 (16, late 40s, mid 50s). A living-room.

A thunderstorm. A windswept country house. A family of failures - a detective who has never solved a case; a writer, an artist and a composer whose work has never been aired publicly; a dysfunctional teenager - wrangling over a bequest ... All the prime ingredients for a murdermystery thriller in the traditional mould. But this thriller is by Alan Ayckbourn and has within it a number of surprises.
ISBN 0 573 01797 2

It Must Have Been Murder

Don Woods : Thriller 2M 3F Interior set

An ingenious thriller this is a tale of murder, straightforward in that one's interest lies in wondering who will succeed and how. There are a number of twists in the plot and a neat ending. The would- be murderers are Louise and Guy Porter, a husband and wife who have come to hate each other. Louise plans to murder Guy and achieve freedom, while Guy's plan is more ambitious - having poisoned Louise, he will substitute a model, Bettina, who is remarkably like his wife. In the final twist, we find that Louise is one step ahead of him all the way.

It Runs in the Family

Comedy. Ray Cooney
M7 (20s, middle-age, 50s, old) F5 (18, 40s, old). A doctors' common room.

Dr David Mortimore is about to address a neurologists' convention, which will probably earn him a knighthood. While putting the final touches to his speech an old flame arrives and announces that their liaison years ago resulted in a son who is downstairs desperate to meet his dad. Frantic to hide this catastrophic news from his wife and the hospital authorities, David is forced to invent not one but two non-existent husbands!
ISBN 0 573 01799 9

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Mystery-comedy spoof. Tim Kelly
M6 F8, or M5 F9. An isolated house.

A shameless spoof that's loaded with laughs and thrills. The creepy, haunted Ye 0lde Wayside Inn oozes New England Gothic atmosphere and never has guests. Ebenezer, one of the residents, is dangerous when there's a storm - and there's a storm! Several intruders from the outside world are forced to seek shelter, but who's the skeleton in the wheelchair and why is it wearing a bridal veil'? When the wind howls and the lights flicker the chilling time begins!

It's Been Wonderful

Comedy. John Patrick. 6 men, 4 women. Interior.

Married to a successful stockbroker and comfortably ensconced in a lavish Long Island mansion, Paula Reid is nevertheless bored - until the success of her novel suddenly catapults her to celebrity status. Her very sexy book also attracts Hollywood's interest, and leads to a weekend party at her estate attended by, among others, a successful producer (whom, it turns out, Paula had known years ago before he changed his name); his sharp-tongued wife; a faltering English film director of uncertain sexual leanings; and a famous movie queen whose notorious behavior has earned international notice. The action centres on the producer's desire to do the film version of the novel (while changing it totally), and the film star's determination to play the lead part (although it calls for an actress of half her years). Also on hand, to join in the increasingly tangled developments, are Paula's long-suffering husband, her wise-cracking younger brother, and the film star's pretty young secretary who, ironically, is just the right age to play the novel's leading character. Amid the bitchy, glittering dialogue things begin to fall apart with hilarious ease only, and happily, to fall back in place again when the inevitable "moment of truth" arrives - an event which, in its sobering honesty, provides some very real and valuable lessons for them all.
ISBN: 0-8222-0580-7

It's Later Than You Think

Play. Jean Anouilh, translated by Lucienne Hill
M7 F5.

The male lead in this play is a devastatingly charming and highly commercial poet who regrets that he isn't a genius but is consoled by the fact that publicity gives him that aura. Under attack by a spinster secretary who adores him, the poet exhibits an extraordinary and often hilarious skill for survival - up until an unexpected finale.

It's Now Or Never!

Miles Tredinnick : Farce 4M 3F Interior set

The sequel to the author's Laugh? I Nearly Went to Miami! the play is set in a Spanish villa where Tom Weals, an Elvis fanatic, and Alice, his fiancée, have arrived in preparation for their long-awaited wedding. Keith Clark, a friend whom Tom had met at an Elvis Presley Convention, has offered them the use of his villa while he is in London - but their arrival is predated by Keith's sighting of the 'real' Elvis, alive and hiding out in a nearby villa. Alice is not much of an Elvis fan, and although Tom has promised to forget Elvis, at least for the duration of the wedding and honeymoon, Keith talks Tom into helping him kidnap Elvis and sell the story to the 'Sunday Insider'. Things go awry however, when 'Elvis' appears to 'die' in their captivity and the ensuing confusion arising from the abduction while hiding their adventures (and the body) from Alice and convincing Daphne Wood, the 'Insider's' ace hack reporter, of their conquest results in frenzied chaos as a variety of 'Elvises' appear and disappear, identities change by the moment, and the Spanish police arrive to investigate a break-in at a nearby villa. Things are eventually sorted out and 'Elvis' is identified as Rocco, a local award-winning designer ... of non-stick supermarket trolly wheels. Or is he?? Events reach hysterical proportions before everyone gets their just deserts.
ISBN: 0 85676 148 6

It's Only a Play

Comedy. Terrence McNally. 5 men, 3 women. Interior.

An hilarious send-up of show business and its often bizarre practitioners

It's the opening night of "The Golden Egg" on Broadway, and the wealthy producer (Julia Budder) is throwing a lavish party in her lavish Manhattan townhouse. Downstairs the celebrities are pouring in but the real action is upstairs where a group of insiders have staked themselves out in the producer's bedroom waiting for the reviews to come in. Included are the excitable young author; the brilliant but unstable director (who courts failure and is devastated when his work is well received); the pill-popping leading lady (who is hoping to revive her career after a series of flop movies); and the playwright's best friend, an egotistical but insecure comic actor who passed up a chance to star in the play for a television series - which has since been cancelled. Also present are a fawning, hypocritical drama critic (who is a closet playwright); a would-be singer working as a part-time servant; and a hard-boiled lady taxi driver who has seen it all - many times over. The good natured bonhommie with which the evening begins grows steadily bitchier - and funnier - as the reviews (all bad) come in, and those assembled seek desperately to pin the blame on each other. But, as euphoria slides into despair, the narcissism, ambition, childishness and just plain irrationality which infuse the theatre and its denizens take over, and as the curtain falls plans are eagerly afoot for their next venture - this one sure to be the hit they have all been hoping for.
ISBN: 0-8222-0582-3

It's Ralph

Play. Hugh Whitemore
M3 (young, 40s, 50s) F1 (40s). The ground floor of a converted farmhouse.

Andrew and his wearily frustrated wife Clare are spending the weekend in their Gloucestershire cottage, which, like their marriage, is well in need of repair. Ralph, an old friend of Andrew's, visits and remembers their shared radical youth. Ralph brings Andrew face to face with his own spiritual bankruptcy and the latter finally unburdens himself to his visitor. Clare leaves, the house decays rapidly and Ralph helps Andrew to regain his integrity, but at a price ... NB. Contains explicit language

It's Showdown Time

Comedy. Don Evans. Based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.
8 men, 4 women. Unit Set

Transferring the action from Shakespeare's Padua to a black neighbourhood in Philadelphia, the author retains the main theme of a good but simple man out to tame - and marry- the sharpest-tongued woman in town. In this case the hero is Adam Poindexter, who has come up from South Carolina to open a barber shop. The unwilling object of his affections is Rosa Richardson, "a quick-tempered, foot-stomping, nigger-hating black woman". Adam proves his mettle quickly by single-handedly routing a gang of street toughs - but Rosa turns out to be a more difficult conquest. The complications multiply hilariously as the undaunted Adam presses on, much to the consternation of Rosa's family and friends, including her sexually liberated sister and her "church-a-fied" boyfriend, and a busybody widow who manages the not inconsiderable task of reforming the neighbourhood wino. As in its immortal predecessor, delightful use is made of revealing soliloquies and asides and, as before, all ends happily in a burst of exuberant and rollicking high spirits.
ISBN: 0-8222-0583-1

Italian American Reconciliation

A Folk Tale. John Patrick Shanley. 2 men, 3 women. Unit Set.

Huey Maximilian Bonfigliano has a problem: while he is safely divorced from his shrewish first wife, Janice, who shot his dog and even took a bead on him, he feels he cannot regain his "manhood" until he woos and wins her one more time - if only to put his broken marriage behind him once and for all. He enlists the aid of his lifelong buddy, Aldo Scalicki, a confirmed bachelor who tries, without apparent success, to convince Huey that he would be better off sticking with his new lady friend, Teresa, a usually placid young waitress whose indignation flares when she learns what Huey is up to. In a moonlit balcony scene (hilariously reminiscent of Cyrano de Bergerac) Aldo pleads his, lovesick friend's case and, to his astonishment, Janice capitulates - although not for long. However we do learn that her earlier abuse of Huey was intended to make him "act like a man" which, at last, he does. And, more than that, he (and the audience) become aware that, in the final essence, "the greatest - and only - success is to be able to love" - a truth which emerges delightfully from the heartwarming, wonderfully antic and always imaginatively conceived action of the play.
ISBN: 0-8222-0579-3

An Italian Straw Hat

Eugène Labiche. Trans K. McLeish
12m 6f, doubling. Classic farcical comedy. Multipurpose set.

Fadinard is on the way to his wedding when his horse eats a straw hat hanging on a bush. The owner of the hat is a former girlfriend who insists that Fadinard buys her a new hat instantly. As he sets off to find a replacement hat, his fiancée and all their guests arrive and follow him thinking he is going to the church. The play develops into a delirious chase which gets faster and faster as Fadinard hunts the hat and the guests hunt Fadinard and comic misunderstandings litter every scene. Original first performed in 1851.
ISBN 1854593005


Play. Anton Chekhov, adapted by David Hare
M7 (wide range of ages) F5 (wide range of ages). Extras. Various interior and exterior settings.

Perhaps the least performed of Chekhov's plays, Ivanov is the fierce and funny portrait of a man whose life is plummeting fast into domestic and philosophical chaos. lvanov is an impoverished, anti-Semitic landowner who has rejected his Jewish wife who is dying of tuberculosis, and is now infatuated with the daughter of a rich neighbour. Period nineteenth century.


Drama. Anton Chekhov, translated by Paul Schmidt.
12 men, 5 women. Unit Set

Ivanov, a landowner who farms a large estate, is in debt, and his wife, whom he no longer loves, is dying of tuberculosis. He owes money everywhere and has reached the point of despair. The love of Sasha, a young girl in the neighborhood, seems to offer him a way out, but the neighbours accuse him of merely trying to obtain the girl's money. He is torn by feelings of guilt wften his wife dies, but is determined to marry Sasha. During the period of their engagement even this relationship sours on him, and on the morning of his wedding day, he can no longer live a lie and he shoots himself.
ISBN: 0-8222-1646-9

Ivory Tower

Drama. Jerome Weidman and James Yaffe.
11 men, 1 woman. 2 Interiors.

In 1943 an American poet living in self exile in Paris made several broadcasts to invading American forces urging them to lay down their arms and stop the bloodshed. This absorbing and disturbing play poses the question: did he or did he not intentionally commit treason? Simon Otway, the central figure, is so overwhelmingly in detail, so articulate, that he becomes the unwitting artist-on-trial and the ultimate victim of his own character. The trial brings about a kind of catharsis - a mind-bending recognition of his real motives. The poet is on trial for his life and career, He makes a plea for artistic freedom but this is tempered with contempt for mediocrity. We gain the essence of an artist who has a superiority complex simply because he is superior. And while this superiority does set him apart, and even above, the question remains - were his actions harmful to other men? And are they punishable by the laws which all must obey? But the final outcome remains to tantalise, for there is no jury on stage during the trial scenes. The audience is the jury, and theirs is the decision on, which a man's fate, and even the meaning of his life, must hinge.
ISBN: 0-8222-0585-8