This Other England at Menier Marks Paines’ 30thDate: 25 November 2004
New writing theatre company Paines Plough celebrates its 30th birthday in 2005. Not only does it have a new artistic director to start the year (See News, 19 Nov 2004) but also a season of new plays at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory (pictured) and selected regional venues entitled “This Other England”. The season – “inspired by the English language” and featuring new work from Enda Walsh, Philip Ridley, David Greig and Douglas Maxwell – runs from 28 January to 22 May 2005.
Enda Walsh’s The Small Things kicks off the programme at the Menier, running from 28 January to 27 February 2005. Directed by Paines Plough’s current artistic director Vicky Featherstone (who steps down this month to be succeeded by Roxana Silbert), it reveals an aged couple whose mundane discussion turns to nightmarish recollections. Walsh’s other work includes adaptations of A Clockwork Orange and A Christmas Carol, while her original plays include The Ginger-ale Boy, Disco Pigs, Suckling Dublin, Misterman and Bedbound.
Mercury Fur by Philip Ridley follows from 1 to 27 March 2005. In it, two boys break into a derelict flat to prepare for a party. This production is directed by John Tiffany and, prior to its London dates, will have a run at the Drum Theatre in Plymouth from 11 to 26 February. Ridley’s theatre credits include The Fastest Clock in the Universe, Sparkleshark, Fairytale Heart, Apocalyptica, The Pitchfork Disney, Ghost From a Perfect Place and Vincent River.
David Greig’s Pyrenees, which is also directed by Featherstone, begins life at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre (11 to 26 March) before visiting the Menier (29 March to 24 April) and finally the Watford Palace Theatre (26 to 30 April). Pyrenees is set in a hotel in the eponymous mountain range where a man who has forgotten his identity is being interviewed by a young woman from the British Consulate. Greig’s other plays include The Cosmonaut’s Last message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union, San Diego, Outlying Islands, Victoria, The Speculator, Caledonia Dreaming and last year’s adaptation of Caligula for the Donmar Warehouse.
The final show in the This Other England series is If Destroyed True by Douglas Maxwell. Directed by John Tiffany, it plays at Dundee Rep from 8 to 23 April before arriving on 26 April at the Menier where it continues until 22 May. The play tells of Vincent, an inhabitant of New Flood (officially the Worst Town in Scotland), who has something of the gift about him. He’s always looking for new ways to express his innovative anarchy, and now he wants to create a work of art to celebrate the town’s new title. Maxwell’s other plays include Decky Does a Bronco, Our Bad Magnet, Variety and Helmet, which he wrote for Paines Plough.
- by Hannah Kennedy