They laughed when I said I wanted to write comedy. They’re not laughing now.
(modified from a line of Bob Monkhouse, British comedian.)
When I was a publishing manager, I helped people avoid making a drama out of a crisis. Nowadays, I’m working to help actors make a crisis out of a drama.
Produced plays for stage
Oscar Wilde’s Women. In this dramatic comedy, two Cheltenham suffragist women visit Oscar Wilde, who’s dying, exiled, in Paris. They go to honour his and his late wife’s support for votes for women, and give him financial support from an old friend. They leave with a deeper understanding of the meaning of love and equality. [workshop production in Cheltenham Poetry Festival, May 2017.]
Words of War – As four Cheltenham soldiers struggle to survive World War One, they are troubled by rifts and rivalries between them. At the centre of their differences, Kath, a doctor’s daughter, nurse, and suffragette. [Drama produced at Cheltenham Playhouse, October 2014.] News and reviews on Words of War.
In Tune With Dementia – An old woman with dementia is prompted to recall her life by songs from her son, revealing skeletons from the family closet. Laughter and tears. [Solo show with songs. Produced initially as Let The Lady Sing in Chicago Fringe and Gloucester 2011 and Cheltenham 2012; then as ITWD at Stroud, Falmouth, Cirencester, Edinburgh Fringe, and Cheltenham, 2013: Cheltenham 2014.] News and reviews of In Tune With Dementia.
Accidental Olympian – True story of mishaps that destroyed my Olympic dream; resurrected it at the ill-fated Munich Olympics of 1972; and bizarrely (and wrongly) made me a terrorist suspect three times. [Solo show. Produced in Cheltenham and Edinburgh 2012 and 2013.] News and reviews on Accidental Olympian.
Telling the Truth – A collection of short plays and stories, devised as interactive theatre in which the audience decides whether each story is true. [First workshop production, Playhouse Theatre, Cheltenham, October 2013.]
Good as Gold – A satirical musical on the Acalympics (Academic Olympics), in Chicago. Music by Bob Ashenhurst. Lyrics by Bob Ashenhurst, Howard Timms, et al. Book by Howard Timms. [produced at the University of Chicago, Jan. 2008.]
Produced short plays
First Holiday I wrote as one of a 5-play set called Displaced which had two performances at Stroud Theatre Festival in September 2016.
Lavender Pye – A student and her mother are spooked by a strange man stalking them. They confront him, discovering a totally unexpected threat. [Curtain raiser produced at Theatre West, Bristol, November 2013.]
Pye Corner – Eccentric British actor Imogen Valour drowns in a river near her Bristol home, and the police suspect Imogen’s long-suffering daughter Amber of murder. [Curtain raiser produced at Theatre West, Bristol, November 2012.]
Clean Up – Short comedy of a disgraced mortgage salesman about to kill himself being disturbed by an eccentric cleaner. [Performed at American Blues Theater Chicago 2010 and 2012, Cheltenham Everyman 2011, and Cheltenham Playhouse 2012.]
Inspector Beckford – Short comedy about partners-against-crime Beckford and Victoria Embleton who argue when their partnership ends after 20 years. [produced at Cheltenham Playhouse 2012 and 2014.]
Call Me Sam — a woman private detective, approached to investigate a divorce case, discovers that her former lover is much more generous and supportive than she had supposed. [produced at Cheltenham Playhouse 2013.]
Live Dog Talking — a farce about a dog that can talk — but does it tell the truth?. [produced at Cheltenham Playhouse 2014.]
Dylan and Laurie — a centenary sketch supposing a conversation between poets Dylan Thomas & Laurie Lee as four-year-olds. [performed in Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2014 and 2015.]
Departed Spirits — a series of sketches in which medium Madame Arcatur summons up the spirits of celebrities such as Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, John-Paul Sartre, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and John Betjeman. [various ones produced at Cheltenham Playhouse 2014 and 2015.]
Plays in Development
Florist’s Dozen – Romantic comedy of the Swinging Sixties. Oxford student Derek, dumped by his girl friend, is cheered up by friends who challenge him to get engaged to someone else within ten days. And to eleven more women. [One act: Minimum cast 4 F, 3 M; staged reading Cheltenham Playhouse 2014, ]
Landfall – Following the death of a terminally-ill playwright, his actress wife and a drama critic are accused of conspiring to assist his suicide. But they hardly know each other. [One act; cast of 4 – 2F, 2M.]
Seeing Things – A drama of the 1960s sexual revolution in Britain, and its pitfalls, “through the eyes” of a young blind woman. [Two acts; cast of 6 – 3F, 3M; Showcased in Chicago 2006, Cheltenham 2014]
Stress Watchers – A murder-mystery comedy set in the first class of Stress Watchers, Ltd. [One act; cast of 7 – 4F, 3M; Script-in-hand performance Cheltenham Playhouse 2013]
Triple Bluff – A drama of a man abducted by terrorists in Chicago in 2002 because he looks like Saddam Hussein. [Two acts; cast of 6 actors – 2 F, 4 M]