Plays

The Belle of the Belfast City

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Belle of Belfast City is a story of loyalty, both political and familial. At its centre is Dolly, once a music-hall star, whose ballads and memories weave through the play recalling the past. Vi, the elder of her daughters, stayed with her in Belfast, while the younger Rose has travelled all over the world as a journalist. She returns, bringing with her for the first time her mixed-race and illegitimate daughter Belle, who is named for her grandmother’s stage name. The extended family also includes the Protestant Loyalist fundamentalist Jack, and his sister Janet.

Against the background of protests about the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the play confronts different models of Loyalism and allegiance, a rich and honest lament.

The Belle of Belfast City was first produced in 1989 by the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast.

Beside Herself

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

St. Dymphna's is a halfway house for people with mental illness. On the board of management there sits Evelyn, an MP's wife, who is struggling desperately to make people like her; helping her father round the house, acceding to colleagues' requests and absorbing the stress she is quite obviously feeling, her innermost thoughts voiced to the audience by the otherwise unseen Eve.

For it seems that Evelyn is also not well, the spectre of mental illness dogging her as she puts on a timid, polite manner and faces the world as though nothing is the matter.

Named after the patron saint of the mentally ill – a girl whose father tried to seduce her then murdered her when she refused – St. Dymphna's Community Group Home becomes not just a place of work for Evelyn, but a safer space in which she can work out the problems afflicting her, and cut right to the source that caused them.

Beside Herself was first performed by the Women's Playhouse Trust at the Royal Court, London, on 29 March 1990.

Bicycle  

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Deals with the brutal burning of 127 suspected anti-communists in a South Korean village by retreating soldiers of North Korean People's Liberation Army in 1950.  

audio Biloxi Blues

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The second hilarious installment of Neil Simon’s autobiographical trilogy follows a naïve Eugene Jerome through boot camp. Performed by: Justine Bateman, Rob Benedict, Joshua Biton, John Cabrera, Matthew Patrick Davis, Steve Rankin, Josh Radnor, Russell Soder and Darby Stanchfield

Featuring: Justine Bateman, Rob Benedict, Joshua Biton, John Cabrera, Matthew Patrick Davis, Steve Rankin, Josh Radnor, Russell Soder, Darby Stanchfield

Blinded by the Light

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Blinded by the Light is a manic black comedy, a madcap farce of drinking, smoking, Mormons, Catholics, transvestites and a saint all crammed into the tiny bedsit of the hapless Mick.

Mick’s priorities in life are finding new ways to call in sick for work, getting hold of some roach paper, and seeing Siobhan again: he needs nothing else to make him happy. But in a moment of idleness he lets a couple of evangelical Mormons into his bedsit; they are so delighted to have found a friendly ear, it seems unlikely they’ll ever leave. Despite Mick’s increasingly desperate attempts to shock them out of all hope of converting him, soon they are visiting three times a week – prompting his landlord to invite over Lily and Jack from the Legion of Mary, to bring him back into the Catholic fold. Mick can just about juggle his schedule of visiting evangelicals, until the moment that the petty criminals from upstairs present him with the preserved head of Saint Oliver Plunkett.

Bolger’s increasingly surreal comedy is a triumph of riotous humour and sharp observation. It was first produced in 1990 by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

Blood and Ice

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Liz Lochhead's earliest play, Blood and Ice is a psychodrama that tells the story of Frankenstein’s creation and weaves a web of connections between Mary Shelley’s own tragic life and that of her literary monster. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 1982. It was later revived, in a revised version, by David McVicar at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1988, and subsequently toured by McVicar's company, Pen Name. It was again revived, in the version that was ultimately published, at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, on 24 October 2003.

The play unfolds as a series of flashbacks from the perspective of Mary Shelley in later life, disillusioned, let down by her friends, and struggling to understand her own creation, Frankenstein, or why she wrote it in the first place. It focuses on the summer of 1816, when eighteen-year-old Mary and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley are joined at a house party on the shores of Lake Geneva by Mary’s half-sister Claire and the infamous Lord Byron. They take part in a challenge to see who can write the most horrifying story. Little do they know that Mary’s contribution is to become one of the most celebrated novels of all time, nor how her life, already burdened with the death of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, is to be so full of tragedy.

Liz Lochhead, in a 2009 Introduction to the published text, writes 'It’s exactly thirty years since I first took down from a library shelf Muriel Spark’s Child of Light, her wonderful biography of Mary Shelley, and, shortly after, began my own pursuit. Could I make a play…? Naively, I was, at the time, quite blithely unaware that I wasn’t the first, and certainly wouldn’t be the last, to be fired by the dramatic possibilities of this moment in history, that iconic stormy summer of 1816 by the shores of the lake and beneath the high Alps.'

The 2003 Royal Lyceum production was directed by Graham McLaren and performed by Lucianne McEvoy, Phil Matthews, Alex Hassel, Susan Coyle and Michele Rodley.

Blood Brothers

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A compelling story of friendship, loyalty and fate, Blood Brothers is one of the longest-running and most successful ever West End musicals, as well as one of the most moving.

Twin brothers are separated at birth because their mother cannot afford to keep them both; one of them is given away to a wealthy woman, the other remains with his mother. They become friends and swear to be blood brothers, all the time unaware of their true fraternity. But as they grow older, the two brothers find they can no longer ignore the class difference that divides them, and the love triangle that has dominated their lives erupts into a quarrel. The staggeringly emotional climax of the play questions whether it was destiny, or the inevitable difference of class, that led to the fatal conflict of two brothers who were once so close. Blood Brothers was first performed at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1983.

Bloody Poetry

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

An elegiac and fiery play about poetry and failed utopias, Bloody Poetry follows Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, and their lovers Mary Shelley and Claire Clairemont, into exile. This strange family, vilified for their private lives and socially banished to the Continent, try on the shores of Lake Geneva to find a new way of living, free of repression and constraint, and filled with love and revolutionary passion. But what emerges is a fascinating tangle of disappointments. Brenton stages the famous biographical events of the writers’ lives – the meeting of Shelley and Byron, the stormy night when Frankenstein was conceived – deftly and lyrically, a portrait of the failure of an ideal.

Bloody Poetry was first presented in 1984 at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester.

Bouncers (1990s Remix)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Bouncers by John Godber shows a night on the tiles from the point of view of the men on the door. It is a funny, energetic piece of highly theatrical storytelling where the men are at once themselves, and every character they happen to meet on a night at work at the nightclub.

In his introduction, the author writes: 'In many ways the content informed the form. The boredom of the men on the door spills over into grotesque violence and fantasy. The antics of the girls and boys out for a night on the town hardly need developing to make them dramatic. The conflict between those wanting a good time and those stopping a good time from being had is a basic dramatic premise . . . the central theme of Bouncers is universal: men after beer after women, and the beat goes on.'

Bouncers premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 1984. This revised version was first presented by the Hull Truck Theatre Company in 1991.

audio Breaking the Code

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Based on the book ALAN TURING: THE ENIGMA by Andrew Hodges.

Simon Templeman stars as brilliant mathematician Alan Turning, the man who cracked the German Enigma code and enabled the Allies to win World War II. But Turing was to find that the country he saved cared less about his genius and more about his sexual orientation.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Sheelagh Cullen as Sara Turing Kenneth Danziger as Detective Mick Ross Peter Dennis as John Smith Samantha Robson as Pat Green Orlando Seale as Ron Miller W. Morgan Sheppard as Dillwyn Knox Andre Sogliuzzo as Christopher Morcom and Nikos Simon Templeman as Alan Turing Directed by Rosalind Ayres. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles in July, 2003. Breaking the Code is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to enhance public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.

Featuring: Sheelagh Cullen, Kenneth Danziger, Peter Dennis, Samantha Robson, Orlando Seale, W. Morgan Sheppard, Andre Sogliuzzo, Simon Templeman