Boeing-Boeing is a farce written by the French playwright Marc Camoletti. The English language adaptation, translated by Beverley Cross, was first staged in London at the Apollo Theatre in 1962 and transferred to the Duchess Theatre in 1965, running for a total of seven years. In 1991, the play was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most performed French play throughout the world.
The play is set in the 1960s, and centres on bachelor Bernard, who has a flat in Paris and three attractive stewardesses all engaged to him without knowing about each other. But Bernard’s life gets bumpy when his friend Robert comes to stay, and a new, speedier Boeing jet disrupts his careful planning. Soon all three stewardesses are in the city simultaneously, timid Robert forgets which lies to tell to whom, and catastrophe looms
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright
A timid and brilliant young woman, Little Voice has a hidden talent – she can sing like the greatest divas of the 20th Century.
Living a lonely life in a northern town, all she wants is to be safe in her room with her records. No chance with mother Mari on the rampage – she’s after booze, a man, a greasy breakfast, and a working phoneline.
When local impresario Ray forces Little Voice into the spotlight, her transformation astounds everyone. Then the battle between mother and daughter truly erupts.
Funny, brutal, beautiful and sad, Jim Cartwright’s timeless and ultimately uplifting tale is a comic tragedy about finding your voice in a noisy world.
A Bunch of Amateurs
Keen to boost his flagging career, fading Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steele arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford – only to find that this is not the birthplace of the Bard, but a sleepy Suffolk village. And instead of Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench, the cast are a bunch of amateurs trying to save their theatre from developers. Jefferson’s monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity are tested to the limit by the enthusiastic am-dram thespians. As acting worlds collide and Jefferson’s career implodes, he discovers some truths about himself – along with his inner Lear!
Twelve Angry Men
A young delinquent is on trial for the murder of his aggressive father. The judge has directed the jury to find the boy guilty if there is no reasonable doubt. Eleven of the jurors declare there is no reasonable doubt, but one of them, while far from convinced of the boy’s innocence, feels that some of the evidence against him has been ambiguous. At the end of a long afternoon will he win all the others round to his view?
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.’
The Dumb Waiter
Two hit-men, Ben and Gus, are waiting in a basement room for their assignment. As the play begins, Ben, the senior member of the team, is reading a newspaper, and Gus, the junior member, is tying his shoes. Gus asks Ben many questions as he gets ready for their job and tries to make tea. They argue over the semantics of “light the kettle” and “put on the kettle”. Ben continues reading his paper for most of the time, occasionally reading excerpts of it to Gus. Ben gets increasingly animated, and Gus’s questions become more pointed, at times nearly nonsensical.
In the back of the room is a dumbwaiter, which delivers occasional food orders. This is mysterious and both characters seem to be puzzled why these orders keep coming; the basement is clearly not outfitted as a restaurant kitchen. At one point they send up some snack food that Gus had brought along. Ben has to explain to the people above via the dumbwaiter’s “speaking tube” that there is no food.
Gus leaves the room to get a drink of water in the bathroom, and the dumbwaiter’s speaking tube whistles (a sign that there is a person on the other end who wishes to communicate). Ben listens carefully—we gather from his replies that their victim has arrived and is on his way to the room. Ben shouts for Gus, who is still out of the room. The door that the target is supposed to enter from flies open, Ben rounds on it with his gun, and Gus enters, stripped of his jacket, waistcoat, tie and gun. There is a long silence as the two stare at each other before the curtain comes down.
Dealing with three Vietnam veterans recuperating in an Army hospital, this play is both compassionate and funny whilst remaining uncompromisingly honest. The three GIs while away their time on the terrace of the hospital. Gately, a hillbilly, fiddles compulsively with a disembowelled radio: Silvio, a street-wise big city type, is addicted to flashing (even though his sex organs have suffered irremediable battle damage): while Natwick, a prissy rich kid from Long Island, writes letters to his mother telling her how much he wants to become a close friend of Gately while failing to mention how actively Silvio dislikes him. Comprised of a series of brief scenes, the play creates a meaningful mosaic as the three men tease, torment, entertain, exasperate and, on occasion, console each other.
The Long and The Short and the Tall
During World War II, a group of English soldiers are stationed in the remote jungles of Burma. On a mission to record various sounds to deceive Japanese troops, the men lose radio contact with their base, and then clash over how to proceed. When a Japanese scout wanders into their camp and they take him prisoner, tensions increase further as the crew’s leader, Sergeant Mitchem, clashes with his second-in-command, Corporal Johnstone.