Plays for Stage

(mouse over green titles for synopses)

A Christmas Carol, Smoke and Mirrors On the night before Christmas, the miser Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who force him to re-evaluate his life and his treatment of others. He also meets his one true love and the concept of the big society. The production employed stunning Victorian special stage effects to create a moody gothic, ‘steam punk’ atmosphere, and songs to cheer everyone for the festive season!

“In presenting ‘A Christmas Carol: Smoke and Mirrors,’ financial constraints obliged the producers at The Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter, to employ only four actors for some 20 characters. But such economical compromises only serve to stimulate the company into giving their audience an experience of theatre, more immediate, more generously shared with the patrons than is possible in bigger venues.
Shaun McCarthy has adapted the book with skill and sensitivity, respecting the text while curtailing the essential story down to a mere two-hours on the stage.” (Review on Remote Goat website)
– Bike Shed Theatre, 2011.

Circus BritannicaExploring immigration and xenophobia in the setting of a British circus, this play skilfully combines circus stunts with hard-hitting writing. A timely play during the rise of right-wing extremism in Britain. (Click for fuller description in new window) – Bike Shed Theatre, 31st May to 18th June 2011; transferred to Theatre 503 in London, 5th - 9th July 2011.

BeanfieldThe dramatic events of 1st June 1985, when the police attacked 500 travellers in the ramshackle ‘peace convoy’ as it tried to reach Stonehenge to hold a free festival, are retold in a play that uses interludes of ‘Shakespearian’ verse to bring the epic scale of the battle onto the stage, and explore the aftermath of the battle on the traveller community and on a pair of lovers. (Click for fuller description in new window) – Bike Shed Theatre, opened May 2010 in Exeter, then touring. Nominated for 2010 Peter Brook Empty Space/Rent Subsidy Award.

Collider‘Vaudeville, burlesque, religion and particle physics!’ An evangelical pastor and his wife are unwelcome guests at the CERN Large Hadron Collider facility in the days before it is due to be switched on to begin searching for the ‘god particle’ that will blow all creationist theories out of the water. Private lives unravel and key ideas about faith and religion are explored through a series of vaudeville acts. (Click for fuller description in new window) – Ustinov Studio, Bath Theatre Royal. Developed via their Script Factory new writing programme – rehearsed reading Sept 2009. The play then went into production for autumn 2009 with Katie Read Company in Oxford.

No Blind Faith Through the conflicts, actions and reflections of six characters ranged through the last 50 years, NO BLIND FAITH explores our hopes, fears and perceptions of the past and the future. The play asks questions about public culture and private lives: why do we now have so much but seem so unsatisfied? – Ustinov Studio, Bath Theatre Royal, Jan 2009.

Safe Johnny Tyrell, small time young drug dealer, is visited in prison by the grieving father of a boy from a far more privileged background than Johnny’s, who died of an overdose. Gradually the past comes back to haunt the father and destroy Johnny. Based on stories told to the playwright while he was working with prisoners at Portland Young Offenders’ Institute. – Hen and Chickens, Islington, 2008 Grit Productions new writing award winner.

London Isn’t Venice Commissioned to raise awareness of the threat of flood to London. A group of Comedia del Arte characters arrive in London to inform the public how wonderful their city will be when it is flooded like Venice. Unfortunately, such characters are really not the best people to give advice about civic emergency drill! – Mutiny Theatre, London spring 2005 (toured by boat!).

Honest: UntouchableA serial killer is terrorising Bristol and against this background the private lives of a therapist, his wife and two patients begin to crumble in a web of mutual suspicion. Just how well can we ever know another human being? – Bristol Old Vic, New Vic, 2002 (BOV Production).

See His FaceA group of ex-soldiers who served together in Ulster meet for a reunion in a quiet English country hotel. Not all of the one-time comrades are pleased to meet up; then, when a woman arrives at the hotel who seems to know too much about a deadly secret they harbour from their days in Northern Ireland, the past rushes back to threaten them. – Bristol Old Vic, April 2001 (BOV—Peachy Productions co-production).

A Frail Light in the DesertA handful of Christian monks guard a relic supposed to confer fertility on women in a remote and decaying monastery on the edge of a desert in an increasingly radicalised muslim country. Out of nowhere, two young women arrive – but they are Muslim and come not to worship, but with terrible news from the country’s new Islamic government. – Bristol Old Vic, March 2000.

Driving to MidnightA verse play, a version of Doctor Faustus set among Ulster paramilitaries in the darkest days of the troubles. For what would you sell your soul to the devil, and what might happen that would make you risk cheating on the pact? – Actors’ Centre, Covent Garden March 2000; Market Theatre, Brighton Festival 1999.

Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral (lyricist) – Tamasha Theatre/Birmingham Rep Recipient of the 1999 New Stages award for ‘Best New Musical of 1999’, and 1998 BBC Asian Arts Award. Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral returned to The Lyric, Hammersmith for a six week run in Autumn 2001, following a four month main scale UK tour.

Plays for radio

Fireworks — Saturday Playhouse Radio 4, 11/4/98; as Friday Play 16/7/99.

The Aran Islands by J M Synge, Classic Serial, BBC Radio 4 (Belfast) 1996.

Full script available for download

A Brave Vessel — Click the link to read/download the full script.