31 Dec 2012

Happy New Year from Scytheplays!

After a short break for Christmas, work on V for Vendetta continues apace, with rehearsals ongoing and acclaimed musician Nathan Smyth (Nathexious) putting final touches onto his specially composed score... but we'd just like to take a moment to wish everybody who looks our way a very Happy New Year, and here's to an exciting 2013!

28 Dec 2012

Tickets on sale for V for Vendetta

Tickets for V For Vendetta, along with all the other events in Midwinter Lassfest 2013, can now be booked online at the Lass O'Gowrie's WeGotTickets page here.  Tickets are £10 (not £8 as previously advertised - we apologise for the error).  In addition to the full price bookings, concessionary tickets are available at £6, as is the £12 double-bill with The Ballad of Halo Jones on Sunday 27th January.  Above is the poster art for the show, designed by Daniel Thackeray from photography by Laura Evans, and showing Sinead Parker as Evey.

Creedy (Brian Gorman), Finch (Marlon Solomon) and Stone (Michael Whittaker): the forces of law and order ranged against the enigma of V.
Dr Surridge (Carly Tarett), Lewis Prothero (Jeremy Smith) and Bishop Lilliman (Stuart Hudson): the authorities at Larkhill.  Photos by Laura Evans
Completing the cast, Daniel Blake and Jeremy Smith are playing Derek Almond and Lewis Prothero respectively.  Dan has recently appeared in Harvey at the Lass O'Gowrie (returning for two performances in January - also available for booking at the above link) while Jez is a veteran of Oldham Coliseum's ActingLAB, where he appeared in The Room and Princess Dee.

Further details of all the events in Midwinter Lassfest, including Coronation Street 1977, Withnail and I and numerous others, can be found at the dedicated website here.

8 Dec 2012

Further adventures for Scytheplays folk

While Scytheplays gears up for its contributions to Midwinter Lassfest, several of the company's alumni have been at work on other productions.  Until tomorrow (Sunday 9th December), Sean Mason is appearing in the highly-rated Lass O'Gowrie/CSzUK adaptation of John Esmonde and Bob Larbey's classic sitcom The Good Life and tickets are still available here.  Several of the original Ballad of Halo Jones cast have been busy: Michelle Ashton's self-written play Fine also gained excellent reviews during its recent runs in London and Manchester while Gerard Thompson has recently finished filming new zombie drama In the Flesh for BBC3.  Meanwhile The Year of the Sex Olympics double-act, Benjamin Patterson and Alastair Gillies, are preparing to star together in Yer Maun Productions' Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, Frank McGuinness' powerful drama inspired by the real-life experiences of Hezbollah hostages in 1980s Lebanon.

Also for Yer Maun Productions, Benjamin Patterson is directing Mary Chase's classic comedy (and Christmas favourite) Harvey, which begins this week at the Lass O'Gowrie.  Harvey also features Alastair Gillies and two other familiar faces from The Year of the Sex Olympics, Leni Murphy and Howard Whittock, as well as V for Vendetta's Victoria Tunnah and Daniel Thackeray.  Tickets can be booked online here.  The poster for the show, seen above, is designed by Louise Hamer.

V for Vendetta

Sinead Parker as Evey Hammond
Next month the Lass O'Gowrie in Manchester presents its annual Midwinter Lassfest - a packed month of eclectic live entertainment including adaptations of Coronation Street 1977, Withnail & I and Blade Runner, cutting edge drama such as Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, My Gay Best Friend and Strangers in Space, and classic plays such as Harvey.  Last year's festival saw the premiere of Scytheplays' version of The Ballad of Halo Jones, so we are delighted to announce that, in partnership with Lass O'Gowrie Productions, we will this year be producing a very appropriate follow-up - a new stage adaptation of one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of all time, Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V for Vendetta.

Originally begun in Warrior comic in 1982 and inspired by the civil unrest and constantly threatened global conflict of the time, V for Vendetta imagined a nightmarish near-future Britain as a totalitarian state in which, following a destabilising war, a fascist dictator has been allowed to rise to power.  The corrupt and savage government maintains control through terror and all-encompassing surveillance, targeting minorities and stamping out free thought.  But someone is determined that the voice of the people be heard again: a ghost of the atrocities committed by the regime; a man in a mask who will become notorious - known only as V.  And when an innocent young woman, Evey Hammond, stumbles into V's long-standing vendetta, she soon finds she is unsure who is the hero and who is the villain.

The story has been adapted into a thrilling full-length stage play by Sean Mason, known for his appearances in The Likely Lads, Porridge and Storm Mine, and who recently played the Glyph in the Leeds revival of The Ballad of Halo Jones (also returning to the Lass O'Gowrie during January).  Director Ross Kelly has assembled a brilliant cast including several other Halo veterans: Sinead Parker as Evey Hammond, Marlon Solomon as Eric Finch, Carly Tarett as Dr Delia Surridge, Leni Murphy as Rosemary Almond, and Paida Noel (the original production's Ludy) as Valerie.  Daniel Thackeray (Together in Electric Dreams) plays V, while Michael Whittaker (AfterWords) is Dominic Stone, Brian Gorman (Everyman: The Story of Patrick McGoohan - The Prisoner) is Peter Creedy, Victoria Tunnah (Harvey) is the Girl, and Stuart Hudson (The Likely Lads) is Bishop Harold Lilliman.

V (Daniel Thackeray)
Produced by Gareth Kavanagh, V for Vendetta will be performed at the Lass O'Gowrie on Tuesday 8th January 2013 (6.30pm and 9pm), Wednesday 9th (2.30pm and 6.30pm), Thursday 10th (6pm), Sunday 13th (8pm) and Sunday 27th (8pm).  Tickets will be £8 or £4 for the matinee on the 9th, and special price double-bill tickets will be available at £12 for those wishing to see both V and The Ballad of Halo Jones (which has a special one-of performance at 1pm) on Sunday 27th.  Online booking will shortly be available via WeGotTickets.

Midwinter Lassfest 2013 runs from 2nd January to 2nd February.

14 Nov 2012

Halo Jones reviewed!

With the Leeds run of The Ballad of Halo Jones having now reached its mid-point, TQS Magazine have published a very favourable review here.

The show returns this Saturday, November 17th, for two more performances at 12.30pm and 2.45pm, and tickets are still available to purchase online here or to buy on the door: £10 full price and £5 student concessions.

Above: a consumer (Adam Beresford) threatens Rodice (Sinead Parker) and Halo (Morag Peacock).

Below: more consumers - Winky the Incorrigible (Carly Tarett) and Zorn the Hygienic (Sean Mason).

7 Nov 2012

Trailer and article about The Ballad of Halo Jones!

The Ballad of Halo Jones approaches!  You can now watch the trailer for the Leeds Thought Bubble production on YouTube.

An article by Rob Ireland about the original run of Halo Jones has been re-published online to coincide with the new production.  You can read it here.

Above: a Manhattan spaceyard crewman (Adam Beresford) bids farewell to the star liner Clara Pandy.  Photo by Elysian Photography.

1 Nov 2012

Tickets on sale for The Ballad of Halo Jones @ Thought Bubble!

Tickets are now on sale for the Thought Bubble performances of The Ballad of Halo Jones in Leeds on Sunday 11th, Monday 12th and Saturday 17th November.  They can be purchased from WeGotTickets.com at this link.  Full price tickets are £10 and concessions (including students) £5.

We can now announce our brilliant new cast members: Morag Peacock, who recently starred in the acclaimed Storm Mine at the Lass O'Gowrie, is the indefatigable Halo Jones.  Her best friend Rodice Olsun will be played by Sinead Parker, of the acclaimed Manchester Comedy duo Norris and Parker.  Carly Tarett, a regular performer with ComedySportz UK and also the writer and performer of hit one-woman shows in both the UK and Canada, such as Princess Dee: the Diana Story Retold and Sinful, plays Brinna.  Halo's best friend on the Clara Pandy, Toy Molto, is played by Leni Murphy, who received such favourable reviews for her performances in Robots of Death and The Year of the Sex Olympics.  Adam Beresford, whose TV credits include Shameless and Occupation, will be playing several roles including the Terrorist and the Terran Army Sergeant.  And completing the cast, along with original stars Zoe Iqbal, Will Hutchby and Marlon Solomon, Halo's 'little sister' Ludy will be played Ellie Beesley, in her first professional stage role.

Above: Brinna, Halo, Rodice and a Glombie watch the fly-past of the majestic star liner Clara Pandy.  Photo by Elysian Photography.

26 Oct 2012

Halo Jones Gets Out - To Thought Bubble, Leeds

Scytheplays and Lass O'Gowrie Productions are incredibly excited to announce that their much-lauded adaptation of writer Alan Moore and artist Ian Gibson's comic book series, The Ballad of Halo Jones, is to be re-staged as part of Thought Bubble, the week-long comic arts festival held in Leeds from Sunday 11th to Sunday 18th November.

Halo Jones was originally published in 2000AD Magazine, most famous as the home of Judge Dredd, from 1984 to 1986 for three adventures, of which Scytheplays' production, written by Ross Kelly (The Year of the Sex Olympics) and Ian Winterton (Baby Jesus Freak, Sherica), adapts the first two.  Halo Jones was originally conceived by Gibson and Moore as an antidote to the violent and testosterone-fuelled adventures common in 2000AD; Halo is an everywoman whose adventure is simply to get through life day-to-day in the hellish far-future environment of 'the Hoop', the lawless and directionless slum and dumping ground for the unemployed of 51st century society in which she lives, while always dreaming of a way out.  Halo's youthful pluck and sense of humour, plus Gibson's beautiful design and the richness of Moore's quirky details and imaginative future-speak, made the series a cult classic and an early step on the writer's journey to becoming the world's foremost comic book author (as creator of V for Vendetta, Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen among many others).  Meanwhile the story's strong array of female characters made The Ballad of Halo Jones one of the first comic strips that could be called feminist.

When first performed in January 2012 at the Lass O'Gowrie, The Ballad of Halo Jones received rave reviews (including this extremely detailed one from Forbidden Planet).  The new production, which performs at Leeds' The Library Scream Pub on Sunday November 11th (7.30pm), Monday November 12th (7.30pm) and Saturday November 17th (12.30pm and 2.45pm), retains the key creative team from that show and three of the cast: Zoe Iqbal (Swifty Frisco), Marlon Solomon (Mix Ninegold) and Will Hutchby (Lux Roth Chop).  The very exciting new members of the cast will be announced shortly, but in the meantime a preview of Zoe's performance as Swifty can be seen here.  On that note, now would seem a good time to remember the rest of the original cast who haven't been able to transfer to the Leeds production (such as Michelle Ashton, who has been busy taking her excellent self-written play Fine to London), and to thank them for the brilliant and bold performances which (as can still be seen from the reviews) were so clearly central to making the show the success it was.  To all those actors, we will be doing our best to live up to your legacy, and hope to make you proud!

Tickets for The Ballad of Halo Jones at Thought Bubble will cost £10 on the door, and online sales will shortly be opened through WeGotTickets.  Poster art by Adrian Salmon and graphic design by Daniel Thackeray.

1 Oct 2012

October brings more Electric Dreams

After a successful run as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival 2012, Lass O'Gowrie Productions and Scytheplays are bringing Together in Electric Dreams back to Manchester's Lass O'Gowrie for nine performances throughout October, as part of both the Replay Expo retro-gamers convention and the Manchester Science Festival.  Sadly Naomi Sumner has had to leave the production due to scheduling conflicts, but her role will be taken over by the brilliant Fi Hudson.

This acclaimed comedy-drama tells the (nearly) true story of the momentous dinner date in 1986 between future Lord Alan Sugar and had-been king of the British computer scene, Sir Clive Sinclair, as the two business kingpins each try to secure the advantage while enjoying supper in a traditional Japanese restaurant. Funny and poignant, it's a revealing look at a little-known historical encounter, and a portrait of two apparently very different men who found themselves fighting over the same turf and changing millions of lives in the process.

Tickets can be booked via www.wegottickets.com (click here for a list of all the upcoming events at the Lass) or reserved by telephoning the Lass O'Gowrie on 0161 273 6932.  Tickets are £6 or £5 concessions.

A special matinee, additional to those shown on the poster above, has been planned to coincide with the Replay Expo at 12.30pm on Saturday 13th October.

The other performance dates are as follows:

Wednesday 10th October - 6pm and 8pm
Thursday 11th October - 6pm and 8pm
Monday 29th October - 6.30pm and 8.30pm
Wednesday 31st October (happy Halloween) - 6.30pm and 8.30pm

"Daniel Thackeray... gave an uncanny performance of stern, polite Sinclair, fighting ever so politely to keep his job, while Matthew O'Neill portrayed a charismatic Sugar, before his Sir Alan days. The dialogue was slick and quick... Altogether a lot of laughs and worth a trip down memory lane." - Elaine O'Flynn, Manchester Evening News

"A concept which could have been quite dry and boring has had a brilliant sense of fun and intrigue injected into it... the writing was strong and the two main performers were extremely engaging." - Tracey Lowe, www.thepublicreviews.com

Together in Electric Dreams is based on an idea by Gareth Kavanagh and written by Daniel Thackeray.  Photography by Mina Ahmed and poster design by Mat O'Neill.

23 Jul 2012

An encore for Together in Electric Dreams - and kudos for the Sex Olympics

Following excellent reviews ("Altogether a lot of laughs and worth a trip down memory lane" said Elaine O'Flynn in the Manchester Evening News, while the Fiction Stroker's five-out-of-five review can be read here), Together in Electric Dreams returns this week for two final performances in the Manchester Fringe Festival, on Thursday 26th July at 5.30pm and 7.30pm at the Lass O'Gowrie.  Tickets can be booked here.

Watch the Together in Electric Dreams trailer

Listen to the actors discuss the play on BBC Radio Manchester

The top floor are quite satisfied: the Executive (Leni Murphy), Coordinator Priest (Howard Whittock), Misch (Louise Hamer) and Opie (Benjamin Patterson) congratulate themselves in The Year of the Sex Olympics.
Photo by Joanne Fountain
Meanwhile, The Year of the Sex Olympics too has been receiving a great response - very positive reviews from The Fiction Stroker and The Public Reviews, while Speaker to Animals has posted an brilliant in-depth analysis of Nigel Kneale's script here.  The Year of the Sex Olympics is also returning for two final performances on Tuesday January 31st at the close of the Festival.  Tickets are available here.

11 Jul 2012

Curtain up on the Sex Olympics...

Following the success last week of Together in Electric Dreams, Lass O'Gowrie Productions and Scytheplays' next play, Nigel Kneale's The Year of the Sex Olympics commences this Friday at 6.30pm and 9pm in the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival...

Exciting additions to the cast are Phil Dennison as Grels and Michelle Ashton as Keten.  Both are Halo Jones veterans (with several roles each) and are already making their presences felt in the Fringe festival - Phil (who has recently enjoyed success directing Cathy Crabbe's The Bubbler) is also appearing in the Lass O'Connor production of Porridge, while Michelle has written a new play which gets its debut script-in-hand performance on July 17th.  Both shows will be performed at the Lass O'Gowrie.

6 Jul 2012

Together in Electric Dreams' stars on BBC Radio

Yesterday Matthew O'Neill (Alan) and Daniel Thackeray (Sir Clive) visited the BBC Radio Manchester studios at MediaCityUK to discuss Together in Electric Dreams.  You can hear the interview via YouTube here.

Meanwhile, on the same day Elaine O'Flynn reviewed the play for the Manchester Evening News, and her article is reproduced below.

Switch off your iPhones, forget your kindle - it's time to go back to the Eighties, when mobile phones were the size of bricks and Apple was just a fruit.

In the cramped upstairs backroom of the Lass O'Gowrie, Together in Electric Dreams held its premiere performance, as part of the Manchester Fringe Festival.

The play, based loosely on true events, centres around a meeting of two technological juggernauts of their age, Sir Clive Sinclair, maker of the pocket calculators and early home computers, and EastEnder 'boy done good' Alan Sugar, MD of Amstrad.

Set in 1986, the pair meet in a Japanese restaurant to bash out a deal for Amstrad to buy Sinclair Research before the bailiffs come knocking.

Over the hour-long performance we watch a battle of negotiations two very different businessmen.  Daniel Thackeray, also the director, gave an uncanny performance of stern, polite Sinclair - fighting ever so nicely to keep his job - while Matthew O'Neill portrayed a charismatic Sugar, before his Sir Alan days.

Meanwhile Naomi Sumner, who played waitress Akiko, got laughs for her abrupt service style, most of all when she served Sugar a traditional Japanese meal - of bangers and mash.

The dialogue was slick and quick with technical references to computing systems gone by, and brought many a nostalgic laugh - not least when Sugar gets to try his hand at the Sinclair C5, the company's doomed battery powered tricycle.

It was, ironically enough, littered with technical difficulties, but nonetheless was entertaining.

Altogether a lot of laughs and worth a trip down memory lane.

Not a bad review at all!  Many thanks to Elaine for kindly permitting its reproduction.

Together in Electric Dreams - clarification of times for Sunday

Apologies for the confusion, but contrary to previous statements on this blog, on Sunday July 8th Together in Electric Dreams will be performing at 4pm, 6pm and 8pm.  You can still book tickets via the link on the previous entry.

5 Jul 2012

Together in Electric Dreams begins

Together in Electric Dreams began its run at the Lass O'Gowrie last night to great audience enjoyment.  There are further performances planned for today (7pm and 9pm) and Sunday 8th July (2pm, 4pm and 6pm) so be sure to catch it!

Watch the Together in Electric Dreams trailer on YouTube

Naomi Sumner (pictured) has joined the cast as Akiko, the waitress who serves Alan and Sir Clive during their meal.

Naomi has worked as an actor, dancer and circus performer, is a former member of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and trained in Community Theatre at LIPA. Since graduating she has worked as a drama and dance facilitator throughout the North of England and set up her own arts workshop agency “All The Skills.”

It has been noted that there have been some problems booking tickets online, so here is a new link that should make things easier...

22 Jun 2012

Tickets now on sale for The Year of the Sex Olympics

Tickets for the Scytheplays/Lass O'Gowrie Productions adaptation of The Year of the Sex Olympics are now available for online purchase here.

The Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, which launches on Sunday July 1st, showcases a wide variety of entertainment including a new stage production of Porridge, new comedy with Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer, jazz music from the Freedom Principle, more sci-fi with the Doctor Who spin-off Robots of Death, and original stage drama such as AfterWords, Bottled Wasps and Scytheplays' own Together in Electric Dreams.  For the full run-down of the many and various events, please visit the festival website.

Together in Electric Dreams tickets now available

Tickets for Lass O'Gowrie Productions and Scytheplays' next production, Together in Electric Dreams, can now be purchased online here.  The run commences on Wednesday July 4th in the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, performing in the Salmon Room at the Lass O'Gowrie.

Above: Matthew O'Neill as Alan Sugar and Daniel Thackeray as Sir Clive Sinclair.  Photo by Mina Ahmed.  Thanks to Samsi Restaurant, Manchester.

Together in Electric Dreams is produced by Gareth Kavanagh and directed by Fi Hudson and Daniel Thackeray.

The Year of the Sex Olympics: it isn't Big Brother who's doing the watching...

Lass O'Gowrie Productions and Scytheplays are proud and tremendously excited to announce their third collaboration of 2012: The Year of the Sex Olympics, part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival.

In the futuristic Output Area 27, Nat Mender is the producer of TV's top-rated show, Sport Sex Live - a key part of a worldwide programme to keep the population docile by feeding them an unending stream of televised, pornographic 'entertainment'.  But, frustrated with the prescribed, regulated world of Output, Nat is looking for a way out - and when the opportunity comes in the form of an offer to 'star' in a new reality show about old-fashioned family life on a remote island, he grabs it.  But life on the island is not all it seems - and Nat doesn't realise the extent to which Output will continue to control his destiny.

Nigel Kneale's blackly comic science-fiction satire about a world in which constant immersion in television has almost replaced the need for real life experiences was originally written for BBC2 in 1968.  As the writer who arguably first defined popular television with The Quatermass Experiment in 1953 and then scripted the BBC's hugely controversial 1954 adaptation of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Kneale was the ideal person to create such a bitingly bleak, post-Orwellian future vision - one which seems even more relevant in the 'reality TV'-soaked and celebrity-obsessed present day.

The superb cast includes, pictured above (L-R): Will Hutchby (Kin Hodder), Louise Hamer (Misch), Claire Dean (Deanie Webb), Alastair Gillies (Nat Mender), Leni Murphy (the Executive) and Howard Whittock (Coordinator Ugo Priest).  Photo by James Goodwin.

Produced by Gareth Kavanagh and directed by Ross Kelly and Daniel Thackeray, The Year of the Sex Olympics is performing in the Salmon Room at the Lass O'Gowrie at 6.30pm and 9pm, Friday 13th July; 2pm and 4pm, Saturday 14th July; 2pm and 4.30pm, Sunday 15th July; and 6pm and 9pm, Tuesday 31st July.  Tickets can be bought on the door or booked online here.

3 Jun 2012

Together in Electric Dreams

Scytheplays can now proudly announce their next collaboration with Lass O'Gowrie Productions: Together in Electric Dreams, which is playing in early July as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival.

Sir Clive Sinclair, inventor of the pocket calculator and the Sinclair ZX81 (the first ever personal computer), was Britain's pioneer entrepreneur-boffin and a constant innovator in electronics.  But by 1986 the bottom was falling out of the British electronics industry and to save his ailing company Sir Clive was forced to strike a desperate deal with arch-rival Amstrad - the new big name in home computing started by one Alan Sugar.

Together in Electric Dreams spotlights the tense and tactical dinner-date between the two business kingpins as they each try to secure the advantage while enjoying supper in a traditional Japanese restaurant.  Funny and poignant, it's a revealing look at a little-known historical encounter, and a portrait of two apparently different men who found themselves fighting over the same turf and changing millions of lives in the process.

Playing Alan is Matthew O'Neill (pictured left) while Daniel Thackeray plays Sir Clive.  Matthew and Daniel have worked together before in the acclaimed sci-fi-comedy audio series Nova Star Hunters (available to download online here) while Matthew regularly writes and stars in comedy items produced by Vexation Audio which can be listened to for free at Vexation's audio channel.  Daniel (pictured above in character and sitting outside the Lass in an authentic 1985 example of Sir Clive's C5 electric cars!) previously appeared in The Say Can Blues and co-directed The Ballad of Halo Jones.

Together in Electric Dreams performs twice daily on Wednesday 4th July (7pm and 9pm), Thursday 5th July (7pm and 9pm) and Sunday 8th July (2pm and 4pm).  To book tickets please go to the Lass O'Gowrie website.

Together in Electric Dreams is based on an idea by Gareth Kavanagh.  Main photo by James Goodwin and C5 provided by Lance Colwyn.

4 May 2012

An encore for The Ballad of Halo Jones

The Ballad of Halo Jones returned for three more performances at the Lass O'Gowrie on Wednesday February 1st, and again enjoyed a great audience response.

Sadly due to illness Alastair Gillies (pictured here as the Security Guard, with Laura Cope as Toy Molto), who plays several roles including the Chief Drummer, was unable to appear.  But at very short notice and with great professionalism several other members of the cast - notably Laura, Phil Dennison and Marlon Solomon - stepped into the fray to take over his roles, and the resultant shows were different but still a great success!

Pictured above: (1) Benjamin Patterson as Toby, Laura Cope as Toy Molto and Daniel Wallace as the Glyph; (2) Claire Dean as Rodice Olsun and Louise Hamer as Halo Jones.  Photography and Stewardess costume design by Hannah Telfer.  Makeup design consultant: Stella Gaynor.

13 Jan 2012

The Ballad of Halo Jones

The second Scytheplays production is an adaptation of Alan Moore and Ian Gibson's legendary comic series from 2000AD Magazine, The Ballad of Halo Jones, in collaboration with Lass O'Gowrie Productions.  The story has been adapted for the stage (from Books One and Two of the three-volume saga) by Ross Kelly, with additional material by Ian Winterton.

This is the company's first step in what will hopefully be a long and exciting journey of bringing literary science fiction to the theatre stage - the bringing together of the very disparate audiences for stage drama and written SF being part of the company's mission statement.

The show has just completed a very successful run at the Lass O'Gowrie and you can read reviews at WritinghoodForbidden Planet, Fictionmaker and Ed Fortune's blog.  Further performances are currently in the planning stages.

12 Jan 2012

The Say Can Blues

The Say Can Blues, performed during the Not Part Of Festival from July 11th-15th 2011, was the first production from Scytheplays, in collaboration with Happy Days Productions.  Above is a rehearsal photo from the production taken by Brainne Edge.

The original poster.  Main photograph by Elysian Photography
A black comedy written by Kevin Cuffe, who had previously penned the acclaimed Slowly, Vignettes for the 24:7 Festival in 2007, the show tracked the descent into madness of tragi-comic hero Haydn Trowl, a man so prey to neuroses about the state of the real world that he first alienates his wife into leaving him, then becomes lost in a fantasy life as an American private detective.

Veronica (Jane Leadbetter) and Haydn (Daniel Thackeray).  Photo by Brainne Edge
Mr Trowl (Daniel Thackeray) and Miss V (Karen West).  Photo by Brainne Edge

Directed by the acclaimed Brainne Edge (JB Shorts, Russell T Davies' Midnight) with support from Sam Al-Hamdani, The Say Can Blues was a big success with critics and audiences due to its clever mix of emotional drama, film noir thriller fiction, and social and environmental paranoia, and won a 5 Star Award from Large Manchester at the close of the festival.  Click on these links to read reviews from The British Theatre Guide and The List.

The Say Can Blues was popular not least with its venue, the Lass O'Gowrie, which is where the next Scytheplays producution, The Ballad of Halo Jones, would be staged.

It is fair to say that without Kevin Cuffe's inspiration to stage The Say Can Blues in the Not Part Of Festival and his permission to let his brilliant script be produced under the Scytheplays name, there would have been no The Ballad of Halo Jones or any subsequent productions from this company.  Scytheplays owes him an unrepayable debt.

Welcome to Scytheplays

Scytheplays is a new Manchester-based theatre company which had its first success in July 2011 when Stockport-based playwright Kevin Cuffe allowed the company to produce the premiere staging of his black comedy The Say Can Blues at Manchester's Lass O'Gowrie as part of Lassfest 2011 and the Not Part Of Festival.