Caryl Churchill's play Icecream, set in the late 1980s, is an unsettling look at British attitudes to America and vice-versa. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 6 April 1989.
The first act of the play is set in the UK 'during a summer in the late eighties'. A middle-aged American, Lance, is seeking out his British ancestors along with his wife, Vera. They are in awe of England’s rich and ancient history, until they meet up with Lance’s low-life English third cousins, Phil and his sister Jaq, who entangle them in a murder. The second act is set in the US the following year, this time with Phil and Jaq as the tourists who pitch up unexpectedly at Lance and Vera’s house.
The Royal Court premiere was directed by Max Stafford-Clark and designed by Peter Hartwell, with Philip Jackson as Lance, Carole Hayman as Vera, David Thewlis as Phil and Saskia Reeves as Jaq. Other parts were played by Allan Corduner and Gillian Hanna.
Caryl Churchill wrote a short companion piece to Icecream, entitled Hot Fudge, which was given a performance reading at the Royal Court Upstairs on 11, 12, 15, 19, 22 and 26 May 1989.