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.