Composers and their stage works 


The Pocket Dream

Comedy. Elly Brewer and Sandi Toksvig
M4 F2. Extras. A stage.

The Henry Irving Strolling Players (HISP) Memorial Theatre are to present a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream but when the majority of the cast walk out and the house manager can't refund the audience's money (because it's riding on a dog) desperate measures need to be taken by the stage manager and anyone else she can find to step into the breach! ' ... the audience laughed like mad ... and were happy to help in the gags impressed on them from the stage. It's like a springtime pantomime.' Financial Times
ISBN 0 573 01864 2

The Pool of Bethesda

Allan Cubitt : Drama
5M 4F Flexible staging

The award-winning first play from the author of TV's Prime Suspect 2 and The Countess Alice has been likened to a Whose Life is it, Anyway? for the 1990's. Dr Daniel Pearce, a surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital, diagnoses himself as suffering from a brain tumour. The tumour brings on hallucinations, and Pearce's fascination with Hogarth's painting of Christ healing the sick at the pool of Bethesda (which hangs in the Great Hall of the hospital) manifests itself in his dreams. Shifting between the present day and the 18th century Hogarthian world, Pearce imagines himself as a doctor at St Bart's asked by Hogarth to pose as Christ for his painting. But weighed down by his own failure to cure his patients or even himself, his dream takes the shape of a comic nightmare. Returning to his own 20th century world, Pearce tries to come to terms with his illness and the feelings of betrayal, guilt, fear and despair that affect not only himself, but also his wife, sister and colleagues at the hospital. The result is a play bursting with ideas, spiky dialogue, warm humour and remarkable images, one of the most exceptional plays of recent years.
ISBN: 0 85676 156 7

Poor Mrs Pepys

Vanessa Brooks
Comedy 6M 4F (doubling possible) Flexible staging

Based on incidents contained in Samuel Pepys' famous diary, Poor Mrs Pepys spans an eleven year period between 1658 and 1669, taking in both the Black Death and the Great Fire and creating a vibrant picture of seventeenth century London brimming with intrigue, danger and disease. We first meet the young Elizabeth Pepys shortly after a reconciliation with her husband following a two year separation, just as his career is taking off. Forced to contain her own dark secrets in a highly-charged atmosphere of political and religious fervour and desperately longing for the child she knows Samuel will never allow her, she begins keeping a diary of her own. Elizabeth's observations of events in and around the Pepys' household are quickly seen to be in stark and uproarious contrast to those chronicled by her more illustrious spouse.
ISBN: 0 85676 238 5


Play. Ben Elton
M4 (young, late 30s, middle-age) F5 (teenage, young, late 30s). A lounge-room.

Set in the Beverly Hills home of Tarantino-style, Oscar-winning, movie director Bruce Delamitri, Popcorn is a satirical comedy thriller that took the West End by storm. Notorious killers Wayne and Scout interrupt Bruce and Brooke Daniels (nude model and actress) intending to use Bruce's 'art' as justification for murder. Events are disrupted with the arrival of Karl (Bruce's producer) and Farrah Delamitri (Bruce's soon-to-be-ex-wife) with spoilt daughter, Velvet. But Wayne means to succeed - whatever the cost.
ISBN 0 573 01869 3

The Pope and the Witch

Play. Dario Fo. Edited by Franca Rame. Translated by Ed Emery
M8 F3. Doubling. Extras. A corridor and room in the Vatican, a room.

The Vatican is the target of this fast and furious satire. The Pope is to give his first world televised press conference but is suffering from acute paranoia and nervous paralysis. Enter Elisa, the 'witch' of the title, who alone seems to have the power to cure the Pope. Visiting her drug clinic he is so impressed that he issues a papal encyclical with startling global results.


Comedy. Murray Schisgal.
4-6 men, 2 women. Unit Set

As the play begins Chuck Popkin, an underpaid assistant editor, is greeted by his wife, Claudia, with the unsettling news that she is leaving him, not for another man but for another woman, Eleanor Lipton in the public relations department. Shortly thereafter his boss, Mr. Barnaby, tells him that his services are no longer required, although he does offer one slim ray of hope if the meek Chuck is man enough to take the risk involved. As it happens, a certain cold-blooded criminal known as "The Cobra," now serving time in the State Prison, is also an exceptional (if primitive) writer, but he refuses to talk with agents or publishers about his work Chuck's assignment is to get himself put in jail, befriend "The Cobra," and persuade him to let Barnabys firm publish his book. To everyone's surprise the plan not only works but does so with such success (thanks to Chuck's romantic involvement with "The Cobra") that Chuck ends up taking over the company. Meanwhile Claudia's liaison with Eleanor is not working out quite as happily as expected, so she leaves her to move in with two Costa Rican house painters and then to decamp with Stanley Hitzig, a free spirit who dresses like a Viking and who sets Claudia up in the real estate business in California. When Chuck and Claudia eventually get together again they are, to put it mildly, changed people, but, as the play ends, they decide to give it another go - this time, no doubt, to replace their former mistakes with even more antically outrageous new ones.
ISBN: 0-8222-0905-5

Portrait of Murder

Drama. Robert Bloomfield
M3 (35, 40, middle-age) F3 (25, 30s). A living-room.

Eliot and his mistress tried to kill Eliot's wife Paula but succeeded only in giving her amnesia. Paula's personality seems changed; now she is charming and considerate. Paula is once again involved in another accident and reverts back to being as unpleasant as she used to be. Are there two Paulas? Gradually a cunning masquerade unfolds.
ISBN 0 573 01351 9


Play. William Douglas Home
M6 or M4 (20, 50s, 60s, 80s) F1 (60s). Two artists' studios.

Augustus John's ability as a portrait artist won him the admiration of fellow artists, public recognition and the Order of Merit. This play presents various points in this Bohemian artist's turbulent life from 1944-1961 through a reconstruction f sittings with three of his subjects. 'This charming, literate ... and often touching study of the man who invented Bohemianism ... splendid dialogue from William Douglas Home ... one of the best plays to hit the West End in some time.' Time Out
ISBN 0 573 01672 0

The Positive Hour

Play. April de Angelis
M2 (30s-40s, 51) F4 (30s, 46), 1 girl. Various simple settings.

Miranda is a social worker, with no shortage of problems herself. Her best friend, Emma, is a failed artist having a mid-life crisis; her partner, Roger, is a frustrated academic, desperately trying to finish his book on Hegel. Personal problems are exacerbated by work and, especially, Miranda's relationship with Paula, an unemployed single mother who takes up prostitution to survive. Funny and disturbing, The Positive Hour brings issues of gender and sexuality into a new, modern context.

Post Horn Gallop

Farce. Derek Benfield
M6 (30, middle-age) F6 (20s, 40s, middle-age). A baronial hall.

A sequel to Wild Goose Chase. In the ancestral home the nerve-shattered Chester is again menaced by his old enemies Capone and Wedgwood. In the flower beds Lord Elrood lurks with his shotgun ready to repel attacks by the butcher's boy, the postman and other desperate characters. Through the ancestral living-room wander Maggie and Bert, come for two-and-sixpence-worth of gawp and suitably awe struck by the goings-on of the country-house set.
ISBN 0 573 11341 6

The Potting Shed

Play. Graham Greene
M6 (40s, 58, 60) F5 (13, 36, 70s). A living-room, a lodgings room, a presbytery.

James Callifer, long estranged from his family, returns home to his dying father. He learns there that as a boy he had hanged himself in the potting shed, but had been cut down and 'resurrected'. It transpires his father had lost his agnosticism and as a result James's mother had disowned her son - who was a living proof that a 'miracle' had occurred in his past.

The Power of the Dog

Play. Ellen Dryden
M2 (young, 30s) F4 (17, 40s, 60s, 70s) A cottage interior, an office.

Vivien, an English teacher, is about to become headmistress of another school, thus leaving Lisa, her difficult but bright protegée, stranded without her inspiration. When Lisa takes violent action to express her unhappiness, Vivien is shocked out of her usual detached emotional state into an understanding of the consequences of her actions, which have affected all her relationships, including that with her crippled mother.