February 20, 2014
Very exciting to report that the staged reading of the latest play Reality now has a date, a venue and a director! The superb Gary Sefton - responsible for a whole sequence of stunning shows at the Royal & Derngate and elsewhere - is to direct, at the Royal & Derngate, on March 24. Time is short, so casting is the next priority. No pressure then...
February 15, 2014
It's a marathon day of Ayckbourn as the master's ensemble tours to Warwick Arts Centre with three productions directed by Sir Alan himself. Farcicals is a pair of one-act bits of nonsense, Time of My Life is a revival of his 1992 comedy, while Arrivals & Departures is his newest play (although soon to be overtaken back in Scarborough). Not only is it a wonderful day's entertainment, it's also a great chance to catch up with old Man of the Moment pal Kim Wall, who's in two of them but who manages to find time for lunch and tea between shows. It's a pleasure to be able to report that Kim is terrific, both on stage and off!
February 7, 2014
To Birmingham Rep for Nikolai Foster's highly entertaining production of The Dishwashers, starring David Essex. Great fun, and a full review here if you're interested in catching it on tour...
February 4, 2014
Something of a personal special for me as I get to interview legendary adapter Mike Poulton for the programme of A Tale of Two Cities at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton. It's an epic project involving more than 30 cast on the tiny Royal stage, with music by Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman. Poulton, fresh from his RSC blockbuster versions of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies (see January 8 below), is in very chatty mood and proves a fascinating interviewee. Can't wait to see the finished product.
January 30, 2014
Lovely to be able to support Northamptonshire novelist Judith Allnatt at the launch of her latest, The Moon Field. I worked with Judith a couple of years ago on the 48-hour book and not only is she delightfuil company, she's also a highly evocative and gifted writer.
January 29, 2014
A gathering of the Royal & Derngate Writers' Forum to discuss scripts submitted by potential new members. There are some really interesting ideas and some well-executed scripts among the applicants, and it looks as if the numbers will be swelling somewhat in the coming months.
January 21, 2014
Work begins in earnest on pulling together a rehearsed reading of the latest play Reality. While I already have lots of interest from other writers and actors, I'm really keen to hear the piece spoken by professionals, so the hunt is on for a venue and director!
January 13, 2014
Thanks to the wonders of an eclectic freelance life, I spend the day in that Big London on a mission to interview top director Nikolai Foster about his forthcoming show The Dishwashers. He's charming company and extremely engaging to talk to, and as an added bonus I get to hang out (albeit briefly) with its star, David Essex, who's now my new best friend.
January 11, 2014
Freed from the bonds of Saturday night gigging, Tricia and I attend our first ever dinner party as a married couple, thrown by our lovely friend Maddy Kerr to mark the (temporary) departure from these shores of my musical writing partner Michael Blore. Fab food, copious amounts of alcohol and terrific company make it a memorable evening.
January 8, 2014
Energising and exciting day at the RSC in Stratford for Mike Poulton's new adaptations of Hilary Mantel's epic novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Six hours just flies by!
New year, new impetus for existing projects and fresh ones. Great to find time for family and friends as well, though.
For earlier ramblings, check out the Previously... page.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT MICHAEL'S WRITING...
'Bristling with theatrical ideas'
- Sir Alan Ayckbourn
- Matthew Graham, Life on Mars creator
'An unforgettable evening'
- Audience members at Rasputin's Mother premiere
'Very funny... entertaining characters... great vignettes. I enjoyed it and laughed, both quite rare!'
- Micheal Jacob, Creative Head, BBC College of Comedy
'An amazingly good job... stories work well and are full of character and texture'
- Simon Harper, Holby City senior script editor
'Strong, distinctive dialogue... well defined, powerful characters... and a real understanding of the medium.'
- Emmerdale core writer Chris Thompson
'Intriguing and edifying... alive and full of energy'
- actor Paul Copley
'Cracking dialogue, fascinating ideas, strong complementary characters'
- Ronald Duncan Playwriting Competition judges