I AM THE WALRUS: Two characters meet in the desert in AD 34. We don’t know who they are, but we assume them to be the Devil (The Walrus) and Jesus (The Carpenter). The Walrus has taken on the task of persuading the Carpenter to go out and found a new religion, and why dying in agony on the cross is, on balance, a good thing.
In Act Two (Outside Looking In), The Walrus begins a psychoanalysis session with a descendant of Sigmund Freud. He proves to be a bit of a challenge, and ends up dazed and confused and threatening the spotlight operator. The play explores the idea of whether religion has any meaning if the supernatural doesn't exist, whether Science is a suitable substitute for religion and whether psychoanalysis was anything more than just another fake religion. It references the Old and New Testaments, Freud, Elvis, Bill and Ted, Alice Through the Looking Glass, the Waste Land, Waiting for Godot, Casablanca, The Terminator and the Beatles - which is how it has come to be called ‘I am the Walrus'
JACK AND THE GREAT BIG GREEN BEANSTALK (A ROCK ‘N ROLL PANTOMIME) Jack has all the usual pantomime ingredients together with a score full of old rock ‘n roll favourites:
Once there was a beautiful land with trees, grass and loads of country stuff like that and, in the middle of this land was a tiny cottage with a thatched roof, beautiful roses around the door, quaint little lattice work windows, Jacuzzi, triple garage and only ten minutes from the station. In this cottage lived Jack, his Mother, an old cow. (PAUSE) Sorry, missed out a word there – Jack, his Mother and an old cow. She was called Cowslip. 'Cow' because that's what she was, and 'Slip' because that's what people did when they walked across her field. Every morning Cowslip gave them fresh milk. She bought it at Asda.
NARRATOR Jack yawned and stretched. He went to the window and drew back the curtain. And there before him was the most amazing sight
JACK Wow! Mother, Mother.. The beanstalk, the beanstalk.
MOTHER First they’re magic beans. Then they’re talking beans. What do they do for an encore, ride a unicycle and play the trumpet?
THINGS WE SHOULD HAVE SAID TODAY: This play has a very strong premise, which brims with conflict between the old and the new, the land and the city. We particularly enjoyed the humour of the writing which made us laugh out loud, and the idiosyncrasies of the characters. The characters are etched with delicacy and contradiction: Gran has moments of lucidity and David manages a heart to heart with his son – in spite of himself. They subvert our expectations effectively, but we do feel the release of information might be even more restrained in order to further exploit the tension. Any anxiety Tim has about revealing his sexuality, to his parents reaction/dismissal of it feel quickly and articulately expressed. Perhaps there’s room to excavate this attitude even more deeply, especially in juxtaposition to his father’s emotional repression. (Royal Court)
DAVID Yes I do. (BEAT) My son is gay. I’ve got to understand that. Otherwise you’re going to disappear. I don’t want that. I’m having enough trouble getting used to the fact that you’ve grown up. I don’t want my son to be a gay bloke living up in London going to Kylie Minogue concerts, I want you to be Tim, playing in the sandpit in the garden, getting covered in mud. I want to go back to when you were little, when I could carry you upstairs on one arm. But you’re not that kid anymore, you’re a man. And you’re gay. You’ve gone to live on the other side of the world.
TIM It is only London.
DAVID I don’t want that. I want you here with me – fixing the tractor.
TIM I couldn’t stay a child forever
DAVID Why not? They have them on those Channel Four programs, don’t they: the boy who didn’t grow up. Why can’t everything be the same for ever. Nobody changing. Nobody getting older. Nobody exploring their sexuality. Nobody going senile.
A HORSE WITH A GREEN TAIL. Set in the present day and in the thirties when an unworldly teenager is brutally raped. When she becomes pregnant, a termination is performed which became the subject of a court case which was to change the law on abortion.
BOURNE It seems that if I free this girl from an unwanted pregnancy, if I save her the burden of bearing a child conceived by the most brutal of rapes, I will be rosecuted.
ROXBURGH That's about the size of it, sir.
BOURNE And what do you think of such a law?
ROXBURGH It's not my place to think about the law, sir. I merely to carry it out.
BOURNE So if you see some starving beggar steal a loaf of stale bread, you must prosecute him, must you? You have no discretion in the matter?
ROXBURGH Very little, sir. If I know of a crime then I must act upon that knowledge.
BOURNE If I should be prosecuted for this termination then my punishment could potentially be greater than that visited on those men who raped a children rape and caused the pregnancy.
ROXBURGH That's a matter for the judge, sir.
THE DYING OF THE LIGHT. Performed at the Wolsey Studio. This premiere production is a richly satisfying affair, with all the component parts melding gracefully. The text is superbly refined, the performances devastatingly successful… And on top of this richness we have some excellent jokes and brilliant wry acerbic comments on 20th Century life (East Anglian Daily Times)
BEN Do you mind. I'm trying to watch the news.
ROBERT Yes, you watch the news. I'd rather you did that then read the paper. I can't bear the way your lips move when you read the paper. Perhaps if you got a less difficult paper - the Sun, perhaps. I could help you with the 2 syllable words.
BEN You can say what you like.
ROBERT Can I? Can I really. In that case I'd just like to say how much I despise you, Ben. I just thought you'd like to know that. Just in case you thought the fact that you can get to **** a fat tart like Carla gives you the impression that you matter to anyone. I expect, even now, God is looking down us and saying, 'Look at that bastard down there watching the television'. And do you know what Ben, my friend, for once, he's not talking about me.
FURTHER EDUCATION:This really is a very witty well-written play. The characters are extremely well drawn and the writer’s skill has been in giving each of them their own pace – the volatile, unreasonableness of Rachel constantly clashes against Frank’s belief in traditional systems of values, and yet he too has his contradictions and an ability to laugh at himself. The characters are, in a sense, all representations of a type but what takes them beyond that is that something in each of them changes or is thrown into doubt by their encounter. The arrival of MELANIE and ANNE, the pregnant wives of JAKE and FRANK respectively, in a flat at the same time seems implausible, but somehow works because of the way in which it sets the class system and political correctness up for a tumble. Rachel’s realisation that you might be loyal to the great sisterhood but you might find it difficult to like all of its members is a particularly deft stroke on the part of the writer. (Paines Plough)
FRANK We can dig millions of tons of coal from half a mile underground better than anyone else in the world. But nobody wants it. It stinks, it fills the air wi' smoke, kills trees. Nobody wants it. Nobody needs it. All we're doing is building bloody great pyramids of coal. All over the country you've got these great big black heaps. But we can't stop cause that's what we're good at - digging coal.
EMMA You could do other things.
FRANK No I can't.
EMMA You can.
FRANK In a thousand years time they'll find those pyramids and they'll say 'Why?', 'What are they for?'. Maybe it won't even take that long.
EMMA They'll think we buried Margaret Thatcher under one.
FRANK You'd need a big one - t'keep that cow under. No. They're already turning the mines into museums. They'll hire us back to pretend we're digging coal so's gangs of schoolkids can 'ave a look round. Look at that. That's what it's like digging coal. That's what it's like 'aving a job.
SOMETHING WICKED: Set in the gardens of a row of modern terraced houses, Something Wicked concerns itself with the arrival of a mysterious and malevolent Mr Smith who, within days of moving in, is wreaking havoc with the lives of neighbours, driving a wedge between Pandora and Michael, encouraging George into an extra marital dalliance with his neighbour’s daughters and digging up dark memories for Phyllis and Willie. But who the devil is he? The author confidently handles dialogue, swiftly establishing characters and their relationships whilst at the same time providing lots of laughs. The characters are comic types easy to recognise, but with sufficient definitions of character and not caricatures. Staging is well thought out probably for a larger theatre (all those gardens) and given the theatricality with Mr Smith’s explosions and magic tricks. The special effects are a good way of keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. (Bristol Old Vic)
MR SMITH Let me paint a little picture for you. Amber went to sleep early last night - such a ruffled bed. I wonder why?. Silly girl, she forgot to take a little something. And even as we speak there's a little spermatozoa swimming, swimming (HE DEMONSTRATES) for his little life (NOW HE DEMONSTRATES WITH HIS TWO HANDS) This (HIS FISTED HAND) is a little egg, and this (HIS OTHER HAND) is our little friend. Even now in the dim distance he can see her. Their eyes meet across a crowded fallopian tube. They approach each other, they smile (HE SLAMS HIS HANDS TOGETHER) They embrace. They become as one. Isn't it romantic. I do so love a happy ending. Congratulations, daddy, it's a boy
GEORGE (SHAKING HIS HEAD) I don't believe you.
MR SMITH (THREATENING) If you don't sign this paper, then you can say goodbye to your marriage, your sort-of-marriage, your home, your beloved little crack in the wall.
GEORGE I won't sign it. I won't do it. (GEORGE TOSSES THE CONTRACT BACK OVER THE FENCE)
MR SMITH The minute you sign, the egg will perish. It happens all the time.
GEORGE I don't believe you.
MR SMITH Even now the cells divide - two, four, eight.. (HE GOES BACK TOWARDS HIS HOUSE)
MR SMITH ...sixteen...thirty-two...sixty-four... (GEORGE LOOKS DOWN AT THE DOCUMENT)
GEORGE Wait a minute. (MR SMITH PAUSES. GEORGE READS A LITTLE BIT MORE)
GEORGE This is an application for a bus pass.
MR SMITH Is it?
GEORGE I thought you said....
MR SMITH I was having you on. You don't really think people go round offering to buy your soul do you?
GEORGE Then why do it?
MR SMITH I was merely making a point, Mr Science-Has-An- Explanation-For-Everything. You wouldn't sign it would you? You wouldn't sell your soul. What does that tell you about what you really believe? And now. (BEAT) The prosecution rests.
THE POWER OF THE MOON. In a dark castle in the middle ages or somewhere similar, winter, treachery and deception is afoot which is roughly a third of a metre.
MAJESTY I am talking, as you are perfectly well aware, about the draughts that blow unimpeded through this monument to incompetent masons, carpenters and architects, that laughingly calls itself a castle.
PLENCK I have seen sturdier fortifications.
MAJESTY I've seen studier crow's nests.(LOOKING THROUGH A WINDOW) Still. It's worse out there I suppose. So cold and bleak. That wind moaning on all day and night. Like a scold. Worse than a scold. It was a night such as this when my father died. I'll never forget it.
PLENCK It was midsummer.
MAJESTY It was not midsummer.
PLENCK It was during the harvest. He fell in the grain store.
MAJESTY It was very windy, though. A terrible wind. A wind that carried intimations of death and despair.
PLENCK I can't say I recall any wind. Still the memory is sometimes fickle.
MAJESTY It's days like this Plenck, my friend, when I look out of this window and I ask myself: What purpose did God have in breathing life into this flesh and these bones. What was the point and, more pertinent, why did he not have the courtesy to inform us what it was. It's like giving us a chess board and bidding us play but not explaining the nature of the game. Or how to win. All we know for certain is how to lose.
A COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE AGES: A holiday villa is haunted with ghosts of the past
PHILIPPA Oh come on. She hates Leo. She hates everything about him. She couldn't say his name for five years. It was always, 'That Barrow Boy'. 'You're not bringing that barrow boy to tea, are you?'.'Does he have to leave that Cortina on the drive? The neighbours'll think we’re starting a scrapyard.'
FIONA That was a long time ago.
PHILIPPA Before we got rich.
FIONA Exactly. Now, of course, the man walks on water. 'He's bought Philippa a BMW for a runaround, so much safer than these bicycles you insist on riding'. Richard buys me a bike and he's turning into one of 'those ecology fanatics'. I wanted a bike.
PHILIPPA She doesn't like either of us, not really, does she. And there's poor old dad stuck in that wheelchair getting tongue-lashed from dusk till dawn. He can't even escape to the garden shed anymore.
FIONA He knows what's going on though.
PHILIPPA 'course he does. He used to be able to manage her - just. Now he's stuck in that chair, can't do anything for himself. And doesn't she make him suffer for it, poor old bugger. He should have just died shouldn't he, instead of all this hanging about.
FIONA Should he?
PHILIPPA I blame that bloody hospital - dragging him up to intensive care, sticking all those needles in him. He kept saying, 'Leave me alone. I just want to go to sleep'. Except he didn't mean sleep. We should have just pulled the plugs out.
FIONA You don't think you're a bit overly sentimental about all this do you.
PHILIPPA I didn't want him to die. I love my dad, but not like this. When I go, I want to go (SNAPPING HER FINGERS) Like that. Turn off the power and zonk, no more messing about. It's no life for him, is it? Can't even answer her back anymore. I didn't realise how much he used to keep her off our backs.
THE PLAYROOM:A burned out pop star hides away in a mansion where he lives in fear of the peacocks.ADAM OK. So. Money.
GINA A credit card would be OK.
ADAM Don't use them.
ADAM I did have a cheque book once.
GINA What do you use for money?
ADAM Bill. I use Bill for money.
GINA Where's Bill.
ADAM Bill's not talking to me. I told him I'd written eight songs for the new album.
GINA And you hadn't?
GINA How many had you written?
GINA Yes roughly.
GINA You've written some lovely songs. I love that one about the diner, in Carolina.
ADAM Yeah that was good wasn't it. Only it wasn't in Carolina at all. It was in Georgia. Didn't rhyme see.
GINA I'm very disillusioned.
ADAM You, and the rest of the world darling.