Sussex Playwrights 2nd October 2022 meeting

October 2022 meeting news
September 2022 meeting report

October meeting – October 2nd 2022 7-9 pm:

All are welcome to attend our October meeting.

We’re inviting you to bring along your short two-hander pieces for reading on the night. Work in progress, performance-ready pieces, stage, audio, film scripts – everything welcome!

Sunday October 2nd 7-9pm

New Venture Theatre
Bedford Place

In the bar as usual

Free to Sussex Playwrights members

Guests and friends £3 – includes wine/juice/nibbles

September meeting report – Members’ and visitors’ latest

Adrian Jameson of The Other Realm horror Theatre Company, is appearing in A Triptych of Wrath 22/23 October at Horror Fest, [14th to the 23rd of October], based around the Wellington and the Poets. More at

Robert Cohen, actor and writer of solo shows has his first novel Architecture for Beginners published by Hobart books. Robert is appearing in Sussex Playwrights’ friend Christine Foster’s play Lost in the Willows, on the life of Kenneth Grahame, from the 5th of October at the Rialto Theatre then a short tour. He’s also about to appear at the Rialto in Who Is Number One, a new play on the making of The Prisoner by Brian Mitchell and Joseph Nixon [of The Shark is Broken’], happening from mid October – news to come.

John, a writer who has written his first comedy play, a two hander comedy, is looking for a Captain Mainwaring-esque character actor.

Philippa and Thomas have written and presented drama workshops for the New Venture Theatre and Reigate Theatre

Jenny Rowe, writer, actor and improv tutor presenting improvisation classes for actors in the region [also highly recommended for writers]

Honorary vice-president Judy Upton has a new novel out – Sniff Them Out, Brownlow, the adventures of pet detective Sophie Gorridge and sniffer dog Brownlow

Also welcomed Sophie, a writer from the arts magazine Monk and Bernard, film production director painter and actor

Wide ranging conversation covered:

Discussing venues for presenting new work in Brighton [the Poets venue was recommended], the concept of an experimental free fringe, how established venues are attracting an audience, the business of selling tickets for rehearsed readings and works in progress, frustrations around the Brighton Fringe ticket booking system, attracting donations via PayPal, writing workshops, Sussex Playwrights’ publishing plans, Brighton festival podcasts, taking shows to Edinburgh Fringe, Edinburgh venues and accommodation [what should one take?!], the heavyweight impression often given that Edinburgh is a comedy festival – is it even worth doing Theatre there, and is the BBC compliant in this image? How writers get discovered by the BBC, the route to stand-up comedians taking shows to Edinburgh, being ‘discovered’ then going on to write and appear in TV sitcoms … A lot covered in a two hour meeting!

Sussex Playwrights Reviews: Risqué

Written by Tim Coakley
Directed by Murray Hecht
First seen a few years ago, they’re back with a new set of nine sketches, in a fun and fond nod to Benny Hill, Carry On and every 60s and 70s sitcom. Chat line girls, dominatrices, adult babies and pups, a visit to the knobs and knockers shop in a ‘four candles’ sketch for post watershed, and of course Matron, it’s all here, like 80s alternative comedy never happened. The women are powerful, dominant and definitely in control in Risqué’s world.
Standouts include Lena Richardson’s dom, getting down to business with her furry newbie client (Dave Lee), ending in a surprisingly sweet and unexpected unmasked moment, and Sascha Cooper’s flamboyant visit to Tim Charles’ shy and helpless doctor.
The final sketch, set in a failing strip club with Hill as a glum wannabe stripper, Charles as the faded club owner and Cooper an exasperated pro is the highlight; echoing Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore it has the potential to develop into a play in itself.
Quick costume changes, simple settings and each sketch flowing into the next, I’d have liked the pace to be tightened up throughout, pepping up the pace, speeding up the changes – maybe even giving time for slipping another one in …
A 21st century take on a very British seaside postcard style of humour.
At the Latest Music Bar 30/5 – 1/6
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Sussex Playwrights Reviews: The Acme Dating and Detective Agency

Written by Timothy Coakley
Directed by Murray Hecht
Possible spoiler alert!
Neil James as Charles de Vere, successful, confident, yet desperate, looking for love and about to step into the strange new world of the dating agency. Tabitha Wild as Annabelle Kensington is elegant, slinky, a poised cut-glass inquisitor filleting him in seconds.
But it isn’t what you think it is. Nothing is. The writing’s twisty and turny, characters playing characters, and just when you think you’ve got the measure of it – you haven’t. Snappy and pacey direction and two assured, versatile performances blend polished banter, messy truths and confiding asides to audience, the pair dancing round each other playing layered games with what’s real, what isn’t.
Pay attention, because in these glimpses of a relationship in flux, reveal after reveal, unpredictable shifts in accent, class and sexuality, nothing’s fixed. The effect is clever, surprising and in the end, poignant.
At the Latest Music Bar 30/5 – 1/6
Philippa Hammond
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Sussex Playwrights Reviews: The Maestro

A new piece on the life and work of Donizetti from Magichour Productions, featuring live operatic performance

Written by Duncan Hopper and Mike Wells

The music of Donizetti

This new piece on the life and work of Donizetti from Magichour Productions, featuring live operatic performance, is currently on tour around some beautiful Sussex locations. Tonight’s venue, the Regency St George’s church, Kemptown, Brighton, perfectly sets the scene.

Donizetti is dying, his mind filling with memories of life, love and music in his final hours.

Robert Tremayne makes a dashing Donizetti, handsome and magnetic in his prime, fading from glamorous peacock to ruined wreck at the end of life. There’s tragedy and humour here too, with knowing digs at the outrage of lockdown and masks ‘in this day and age’.

As the flirtatious opera singers and battling divas in his life, Karen Orchin fills the generous space with soaring voice, with solo grand piano accompaniment by Simon Gray. Being this close to a soprano delivering some of Donizetti’s greatest arias is a terrific experience.

Sophie Methuen-Turner gives a gentle sweetness as his supportive, loving wife Virginia, and transforms physically and vocally into the formidable Contessa, both commanding and frail.

While the piece reads more as a musical docu-drama than a play and recorded music occasionally played under the spoken word can make a few speeches a little challenging to hear, it’s an intriguing glimpse into key points from the composer’s life and work, with live operatic highlights.

Philippa Hammond

Sussex Playwrights Reviews: God of Carnage

Yasmina Reza’s award winning 2008 play all feels very contemporary; a middle class comedy of manners for now, with the main theme ‘what lies beneath?’

Yasmina Reza’s award winning 2008 play all feels very contemporary; a middle class comedy of manners for now, with the main theme ‘what lies beneath?’

On the surface, it all starts in such a civilised, cultured way. Coffee and clafoutis, chaise longues and tulips. Two pleasant couples, meeting for a nice chat about a little … disagreement … between their young sons. Then all begins to unravel.

Roger Kay’s direction is tight, pacey and assured, delivering a quartet of pin-sharp and pointedly observed performances. Physical and verbal energy fizz in the tiny Rialto space, with a lovely sofa shift from one couple per sofa to the men briefly united in rum and resentment on one and the women united on the other.

Tom Dussek’s urbane Alain is bullish and confident, barking orders into an endlessly intrusive mobile, while making light of the ‘boys will be boys’ situation – until the appearance of the rum shifts his focus, never really on family responsibility, always on his own terms

Jenny Delisle as Annette battles with anxiety over her husband’s refusal to engage over their son’s deed, until the shock vom scene brings everything to crisis point, in a brittle study in how it can all become too much to bear.

As Veronique and Michel, parents of the injured boy, Sophie Dearlove and Neil James are the ‘nice’ ones, Veronique committed to supporting every good cause and Michel gently supporting the women in his life – yet revealing a surprisingly cruel streak.

Of course, the boys’ playground spat isn’t the only instance of childish rage boiling over; little digs and bubbling anger begin to mount, each character brooding over their own stored up issues, the civilised veneer scraped away as the booze takes hold and the masks slide off.

One of the most attention-grabbing and interest-gripping pieces I’ve seen on the Fringe, thanks to terrific harmony of writing, directing, performance and staging.

But I’m left with questions … What happened to the poor little hamster? Does mum stop taking the tablets? What happens next??

Philippa Hammond

Sussex Playwrights Reviews: Caitlin


by Mike Kenny

WLTM Productions

Performed by Christine Kempell

There’s a moment in the play where Caitlin asks us just why audiences want to watch others’ pain. And in a month where the world is watching two stars rip each other to bits in public – it’s a great and timeless question.

This piece by Mike Kenny shows us Caitlin’s pain – married to the genius Dylan Thomas, she was a dancer, but if she hadn’t married him, would we ever have heard of her?

Visceral, passionate and raw, the writing opens up old wounds and reveals deep and dreadful love for an unfaithful alcoholic slob.

We’re drawn into their world – the babies and the ghastliness of childbirth, infidelity, violation and violence, including her own attack on Dylan, the stifling little Welsh world she found herself trapped in, the glorious landscape, the mother in law she loathed – and there are moments of laughter, observations on the ridiculous situations she somehow found herself in. This just wasn’t the life she’d thought she’d have, but there’s a sense of inevitability here, the feeling that they’re both trapped and doomed by their mutual fatal-flaw addiction to the booze.

Racketing between loathing and love, indifference and absolute possession, Kempell gives a powerhouse of a performance. Rich-voiced, physical and athletic, she’s absolutely magnificent in Caitlin’s tenderness, eroticism and rage.

Currently in performance at the Rialto for Brighton Fringe and heading to Edinburgh this August

Philippa Hammond

March 6th 2022 meeting

Members and friends’ news:

Jenny Rowe is currently appearing in the tour of the Connaught Theatre Worthing resident production company Conn Artists’ production of JM Barrie’s Mary Rose.

Simon Moorhead & Emily Rosen-Rawlings’ production of the short film “Breathe” directed by Josh Merrit, made for Screen South, Arts Council and the BBC, showed at the Komedia Brighton as part of a package of short films for the Oska Bright Film Festival.

James Allen’s short film currently in post production will be shown at the DAFTAS, parodying 2021 films at the ‘Rotunda’ (Pop-up on Regency Square) on May 15th 4.30pm. And he’s about to have his first stand up comedy gig in London, following a stand-up writing and performance course.

Wayne Liversidge’ true story is told in the book Love’s Poison, and will shortly be coming out as an audio book on Audible.

Also in the Fringe:

Lin Robinson’s play Mala Sororibus is at the Rotunda, Regency Square

Philip Willet appears in Crunch by Sarah Archer at the Latest Bar

Both will be presenting extracts at the next meeting.

More details and ticket info at

March’s event saw several new short script readings:

The Frontline by Lin Robinson, was read by Philippa and Lin. Jason wants a job in the Prison Service – but what’s he really after? Funny, insightful look at what really drives some people to join the prison service, the police, the army? Dark undertones for today.

We agreed we’d welcome a return to sketch comedy over the current cheap panel and reality shows currently dominating the TV schedules.

Pickman’s Method (working title), written and presented by Adrian Jameson, a regular at Cabaret Lab and now reinventing the horror story. A two hander work in progress set in an art studio in a creepy old Boston house sparked great conversation around Gothic horror and Grand Guignol theatre, M.R. James and Christmas and Halloween horror stories on TV, film and stage. Adrian is planning live theatre around short, punchy, explosive tales.

Discussions ranged around:

The Warren will not be present at the Fringe this year.

The financial impact of lockdown for venues, production companies and individual performers.

What makes a venue?? Fly tower, lighting equipment, backstage facilities …

Critiquing some current films

And the Amazon/Apple/Netflix phenomenon – it’s a new world out there for writing and production – a new creativity, new studios and huge new TV series on the horizon.