STONY BROKE IN NO MAN'S LAND to Premiere at Findborough Theatre
Stony Broke in No Man's Land, the world premiere of a new play from acclaimed playwright John Burrows, runs at the Finborough Theatre, playing nine Sunday and Monday evenings and Tuesday matinees, from Sunday, 24 May 2015 (Press Night: Monday, 25 May 2015 at 7.30pm).
Starring two original members of the Number 1 chart-topping group, The Flying Pickets, as two jobless ex-Tommies, busking on a London street, Stony Broke in No Man's Land uses words, songs and music to tell the story of Private Percy Cotton and the love of his life, bogus-spiritualist Nellie Mottram.
On 11 November, 1920, the Unknown Soldier was buried with great ceremony in Westminster Abbey. But was it a genuine act of recognition and gratitude by Lloyd George's government? Or a calculated display to diffuse the pain and anger of a country grieving for nearly a million dead?
And where did the idea of burying the Unknown Soldier come from? Did an army padre suggest it to the Dean of Westminster who passed it on to the Prime Minister? Or did Lloyd George perhaps get the idea from a very different quarter...
When Private Percy Cotton's commanding officer is killed, Percy is determined to return his diary to his next of kin. But the love of his life, Nellie Mottram, has other ideas. She soon convinces Sir Arthur and Lady Elizabeth Munroe that she is in contact with their dead son. Taking up residence with them in Grosvenor Square, Nellie abandons Percy to his fate on the battlefields of France and is soon the aristocracy's favourite psychic. And mistress to Sir Gregory Sleight...Secretary to the War Cabinet.A fast moving, comic yet poignant piece of storytelling, taking the audience from the streets of Woolwich to the battlefields of France, from London smart society to the highest echelons of power. Stony Broke in No Man's Land reunites the writer/director and two of the cast members of One Big Blow, the acclaimed play about coal miners and their brass band that John Burrows wrote for 7.84 Theatre Company in the early 1980s, and which spawned the a cappella group, The Flying Pickets, best known for their Christmas Number One hit, Only You.
John Burrows is a playwright, director and actor. His many plays include For Sylvia (with John Harding) about the Battle of Britain, which started life in a room above a London pub, toured the country, and went on to be screened on BBC TV as a Play For Today; The Golden Pathway Annual (also with John Harding) about a working class boy growing up in post war Britain, which was commissioned by the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, transferred to the Mayfair Theatre in London, was televised, and has had many subsequent productions in the UK and abroad; One Big Blow, about a colliery brass band, written and directed for 7:84 Theatre Company, a all-male a cappella musical which toured the UK, won a Festival First at Edinburgh, was televised by Granada TV, and brought together the six actors who went on to become the chart topping group, The Flying Pickets; It' a Girl!, about a group of women having their first babies, was another a cappella musical, this time with an all female cast, written and directed for the Duke's Theatre Lancaster, it transferred to the Bush Theatre and went on to receive many further productions in the UK and abroad; and Viva Espania, about Club 18-30 holidays, which was written and directed for Hull Truck, toured the UK, won the award for the Best Musical on the London Fringe and transferred to the Arts Theatre. John also writes for radio and television. He has been a writer on Channel 4's Hollyoaks. His plays Whitlock's Walk, about the 1936 Olympics, and Glyndebourne, about a production of Don Giovanni at the famous opera house in 1939, were both heard on Radio 4.
The press on playwright John Burrows
"An obvious winner. As deft and accurate a piece of work as the cult of wartime nostalgia has yet produced." The Sunday Telegraph on For Sylvia
"A rare combination of satiric brilliance and human sympathy... a triumphant demonstration of what good writing and acting can achieve on a bare stage." The Times on The Golden Pathway Annual
"A blaze of theatrical exhilaration." The Guardian on One Big Blow
"I liked everything about this show. And I liked it a lot!" The Guardian on It's a Girl
"Loud ...vulgar ...and very funny!" The Evening Standard on Viva Espania
David Brett has appeared extensively on the London stage, including three previous productions at the Finborough Theatre, in repertory theatres throughout the country, and he has toured internationally with companies such as the English Shakespeare Company and Oxford Stage Company. He has also appeared in all five of Simple8 Theatre Company's productions at the Arcola Theatre, most recently The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari and Moby Dick. He appeared with John Burrows in John's previous two-hander, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, the story of two monks at the time of the Dissolution of the monasteries. Television includes Chucklevision, Seriously Funny and the BBC3 comedy series Dogtown. Film includes the title role in Stanley Spencer: A Painter in Heaven and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. As a singer and musician he was a founder member of The Flying Pickets, with whom he recorded, arranged, and toured widely in the 1980s.Gareth Williams is an actor and musician. He began his career in the 1970s in rep and community touring theatre, (seven years in a transit van) including John Burrows' One Big Blow which spawned The Flying Pickets, (seven years in a luxury transit van). Since then he has worked in theatre including Stags and Hens (Liverpool), English Shakespeare Company, Open Air Theatre Regent's Park, Far from the Madding Crowd (English Touring Theatre), The Winter's Tale (Crucible Theatre, Sheffieild), Open Air Theatre, Chester, and No. 1 tours of South Pacific, Guys and Dolls , Jolson, Jailhouse Rock, My Fair Lady and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Television includes Place of Execution, The Bill, EastEnders, Touching Evil and Silk. THEGREATWAR100 series is a new occasional series of works about - or written during - the Great War to be presented by the Finborough Theatre from 2014 to 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED
Box Office 0844 847 1652 Book online at www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk
Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 24, 25, 26, 31 May, 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 June 2015.
Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm. Tuesday matinees at 2.00pm.
Tickets £18, £16 concessions.