Shakespeare in Saigon
Groucho Marx, William Shakespeare and boat people refugees in a remarkable love story.
1M/5F, 1 set, 100 minutes
Latest production to terrific houses with terrific reviews.
David Cadwallader is a soon-to-be retired English literature high school teacher. He is passionate about Shakespeare and a huge fan of Groucho Marx. His students respect and love him. They send him off in style. Then his colleagues do likewise and the wise-cracking David chokes with emotion during his farewell. Why? Then home to his wife of 30+ years to discover bad news, terrible news and worse. Suddenly David’s retirement plans for travel and writing are lost. Like a living nightmare, his life’s a mess. He moves to a working-class suburb, lives alone where many residents speak Vietnamese. He hits the bottle. Then suddenly a stranger, a young woman recently arrived from Vietnam, knocks loudly on his door. David meets Thanh who too faces a crisis. Communication is almost impossible as neither speaks the other’s language. David helps Thanh who repays him with food. A relationship of sorts begins. Then David offers to teach Thanh English but not what you might expect; ’tis Elizabethan English, the language of Shakespeare. Their lessons proceed with humour and spirit. Is Thanh falling in love with the much older David? Both have secrets and when these are revealed, each is surprised and shocked. The twist is both surprising and heart-warming. A brilliant way to approach Shakespeare in a play greatly loved by audiences.
This play is an absolutely charming, funny and thoughtful piece that really makes you feel a lot better after seeing it. The play is fresh and new and of today. It is one of the most delightful plays that I have seen in a long time. John Gunn – Curtain Up
A delightful and touching piece of theatre. John Bell
The overall impression was one of delight, and this play should be seen far and wide … world wide. David Small
A delightful play, beautifully written. It’s an unusual and moving love-story with Shakespeare as matchmaker. Don’t miss it. Cenarth Fox’s plays are exceptional. Brian Amos
Tonight I was privileged to attend Cenarth Fox’s Shakespeare in Saigon. A brilliant play superbly cast. It was directed by the playwright, himself a wordsmith par excellence and a devotee of Shakespeare. From start to finish this story engaged the audience in a fascinating gamut of emotions and provided much food for thought. Absolutely not to be missed. This play is one out of the box. Marie Ryan 96.5FM
5 stars I attended Shakespeare in Saigon by Cenarth Fox. This is an exceptional piece of theatre which makes you laugh, and cry. It is worth going to see, if only for the lampooning of the word cere-moany, one of my pet hates. There were excellent performances from all cast members. There is wonderful use of language, humour and pathos throughout the play. Don’t miss it. Joan Amos
The Real Sherlock Holmes
2M/1F, 1 set, 85 minutes, ideal touring show
Arthur Conan Doyle is tidying his belongings. He reflects on his fascinating and remarkable life. But his memory is not all that flash. Fortunately, his mother is on hand. He wrote some 1500 letters to the “Ma’am” so if anyone knows young Arthur’s deeds and misdeeds, Mother does.
Then who should pop in but that well-known consulting detective, Mr Sherlock Holmes. He too knows a thing or three about Sir Arthur’s activities. And what activities. Fairies, ghosts, murder, sport, politics, sex, intrigue, literature and more. Mystery fiction may be intriguing but the truth about Doyle and Holmes is way, way stranger; mind-boggling even. The debate rages as to who is the greater – Doyle because he created Holmes or Holmes because, without Sherlock, we would have never even heard of Doyle.
The original production toured for two years and entertained and educated thousands of delighted audience members. It’s an ideal play to tour, and brilliant for a mystery play during your winter season. There is a radio adaptation of this play available on CD from Fox Plays. Rave reviews.
If ever there was a great night of theatre it would have to be The Real Sherlock Holmes. Brian Amos
A well-researched play revealing so much about Conan Doyle. I loved it, a super night. Curtain Up
The full theatre was engrossed. The Sherlock Holmes Society of Melbourne
It is a wonderful play. Brighton Theatre Company
It was fantastic, history with humour. We just didn’t want it to end. Peridot Theatre Company
This drama is an utter delight. Sherlock Classic Specialities
A cleverly constructed discussion between Conan Doyle, his mother and Sherlock Holmes. The Sounds of the Baskervilles
Comedy spoof on Agatha Christie and her characters
8 roles [3 or 4M/5F] 100 minutes
Agatha Christie and her mystery stories are well-known. But who has heard of her contemporary, the completely unknown writer of mystery stories, Agatha Crispie? In the south of England not long after WW1, Agatha Crispie scribbles away. Her second husband, Archibald Walloman, is big on digging. He owns half of Cornwall. Agatha’s mother-in-law and step-daughter are outstanding snobs and regard Agatha’s literary efforts as nothing short of scandalous. Even Archibald demands that his wife should attend to dinner parties and flower arranging. Only Pimms, Agatha’s long-serving tipsy maid stands by the unpublished author.
One day a well-known writer, Dorothy S. Layers, pays a visit and Archibald is bowled over. But horror of horrors. The lights go out and Archie is left with a body in the library. A body with a peg on its nose. Archie rushes out to get the others but when he returns the body is missing. Agatha is fascinated and wants the police to solve the crime. The others are furious. Absolutely no police.
They compromise and the little old spinster from the village is invited to investigate. Miss Mary Mead has a reputation for solving crimes. And Miss Mead does solve the mystery with shocking results. So shocking that Agatha is hounded into submission by her rotten relatives. This could mean Agatha’s classics will never see the light of day. The world will never read Murder on the Oriental Express, Witness for the Defence and The Rat Trap.
Suddenly, Agatha disappears. But where? Pimms is concerned about the ashes in the fireplace. Oh no! Could they be Agatha’s ashes? Has she been murdered! Or worse. She’s done herself in! The ashes are scattered in the rose garden. Everyone is sworn to secrecy. Absolutely no scandal! The plot thickens. The new Belgian butler arrives. Hercules Grey-Cells is more like a detective. Enter Chief Inspector Sap from Scotland Yard. And when Miss Mary Mead returns, the family are in a spin. A comedy made hilarious if you know anything of the great Dame Agatha and her tales.
Are you one of those readers of mystery novels who find Agatha Christie’s tortured plots, blind alleys and obscure clues frustrating? Do you become exasperated by the bumbling policemen, shudder at Poirot’s mannerisms or long to strangle Miss Marple? Then this is the play for you. Cenarth Fox’s sendup of the Christie genre takes us on a worldwind tour of Agatha’s quirky characters and throws them into situations which audiences would find familiar but which include an unexpected twist or two of their own. Thankfully the obnoxious characters get their comeuppance in the end while Grey-Cells and Miss Mead [aka Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple] ride off into the sunset. It’s all done in a gently whimsical way so, despite some wild wintry weather on the night I attended, we all went home with smiling faces. Theatrecraft
Our production of Agatha Crispie went extremely well, sold out audiences 4 nights. They loved it. Thank you! Powassan Players Canada
A wonderful evening of entertainment. Radio Eastern Theatre
I was delighted to see something so different. PADS
This cleverly constructed play takes us on a whimsical journey into the life of Agatha Christie, I mean Crispie, an author struggling for recognition and acceptance with murder, mayhem and delicious revenge. A brilliant cast of readily recognizable characters was given a new lease of life through the fertile imagination of its playwright. Marie Ryan Inner FM On Stage
Our audiences thoroughly enjoyed our season of Agatha Crispie. Barossa Valley Drama Society
This production is a hilarious spoof on the writings of Agatha Christie and is impressively directed by Winston Williams. All the characters are extremely stupid and the plot is as improbable as those of the original Agatha, but it is a cleverly constructed little play and is performed by a talented bunch of actors who will have you laughing out loud and listening for those ridiculous references to some of Christie’s book titles such as the absolutely essential “body in the library”, the extremely thick and overconfident policemen, the enigmatic and sharp Miss Mary Mead (Miss Marples), Hercules, and, of course – The Mousetrap!! Yass Repertory Theatre
Thriller, murder mystery – Is there a doctor in the house?
7 roles [3M and 4F] 95 minutes, Whodunit not solved until the last line.
Remain Seated is a murder mystery. Well, there is at least one death and we’re not certain how the person died. To say any more would probably tell you whodunit. The setting is a performance of a play by your local theatre society. Strange things happen on stage. In Remain Seated, every actor has to play two contrasting characters, so in that sense there are 14 roles. When the script goes wrong (intentionally) and the pretend murder becomes a real pretend murder in front of the real audience, it’s time to call the police and ask everyone to ‘remain seated’. But who is dead, and more importantly how did they die, and if they were done in, who is the murderer? The plot keeps twisting until the final line. And even then there is a sting in the tale/tail.
A fast-moving mystery thriller with plenty of suspense. Tongala Little Theatre Inc
A combination of drama, comedy and farce with more twists than a country lane. Sunshine Community Theatre Inc
A challenging play for both actors and audiences. The final scene is a real cliffhanger. There is a fake murder which obviously isn’t a murder. Then there’s a pretend real murder which is a fake. Then there’s an accidental murder which may be pretend. And the only witnesses to all these murders are the cast of the play and the audience. Are you following this so far? It’s the whodunit of whodunits. Kingsport Players
Remain Seated provides the audience with at least one body, several suspects and plenty of motives. It’s a thriller in the grand tradition. The clues are there for the observant but the final revelations are sure to surprise. The tight, pacy script leads the audience through many twists and turns and the result is a murder-mystery whodunit with the inevitable, completely unpredictable ending. Piggery Lane Players
Directing a play called Remain Seated, Suzanne Bushell engaged some real-life north Queensland ambos to take part in the drama and tend to an injured character on stage. It was all part of the entertainment but so real was the dramatic portrayal, two doctors in the audience stepped forward to offer their services. It remains for Suzanne a moment that encapsulates the art of theatrical directing. Maryborough Players
One-woman play for brilliant mature actress, 85 minutes
Ideal touring show, perfect double-bill with Saucy Pat
In Victorian England, it was usual for a younger sister of a bride to live with her brother-in-law and his new wife. Charles Dickens married Catherine Hogarth and her younger sister Mary moved in with the newlyweds. Mary died soon after. Several years later, Georgina Hogarth, another of Catherine’s younger sisters, took on the role first played by her sister Mary. To the family Dickens, Georgina became known as Aunt Georgy.
She never married, became a helpmate to her sister Catherine, who bore Dickens ten children, and a housekeeper/nanny to the family. Georgina became a co-executor of the will of Charles Dickens, dictated some of his writing, edited a collection of his letters and had an intimate view of the comings and goings in the Dickens household.
Dickens once said of Georgina, “No man on earth ever had such a friend as I have had and have in her. She is the most unselfish, zealous and devoted creature”. This one-woman play is a fabulous challenge for a mature actress and a brilliant insight into the private life of Charles Dickens. Eileen Nelson’s performance is available on DVD. See a trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPySDCvm7Us.
What a complete and utter triumph!!!! The audience sat spellbound during the amazing performance of Aunt Georgy. The Dickens Fellowship
A wonderful theatrical experience, Aunt Georgy was brilliantly written and Eileen Nelson was marvellous. Southern FM
Cenarth Fox is to be congratulated for his reconstruction of Georgina Hogarth’s life. He skillfully picked out the compelling and significant moments in Georgina’s life, incidentally giving us fresh insight into the character of Dickens while at the same time supplying a narrative which was in itself an enthralling story, with moments of humour and pathos, triumph and tragedy. Alan Dilnot
It’s truly a tour de force performance that embraces the audience with charm and considerable ability. The audience was completely engrossed and showed their pleasure with their applause. Highly recommended. Curtain Up
This was the most warm and wonderful play I have seen so far this year. Eileen Nelson brought Aunt Georgy to life. An amazing performance. The writing and direction were superb. A faultless play on all levels. I just loved it and I was fortunate enough to see it at Labassa, a National Trust House, which just added to the magic. Try not to miss it, you’ll be sorry if you do. Lynn Kimber
Thank you for a wonderful theatrical experience. I thought Aunt Georgy was brilliantly written and produced and Eileen Nelson – what a fine actress – marvellous in her role. Many thanks and congratulations to yourself, Eileen and all concerned for an outstanding production. Terri Adams
A one man/woman play about the amazing life of Patrick Bronte, 1 set, 85 minutes.
Ideal touring show, perfect double-bill with Aunt Georgy
Patrick Brunty was an impoverished Irish blacksmith cum weaver. He changed his station, location and vocation to become the Reverend Patrick Bronte. One writer reckoned he should have been shot. We know his famous children but what of their old man? Meet the fascinating, ferocious and fallible father. His wife called him Saucy Pat and you’ll be amazed at what he did. Audiences raved about the script, performance, and production of this play. It has now become a novel Cassocked Savage. (See Books-Novels). Many people know the famous novelists, the three Bronte sisters. Not so many know their father. What a man. What a life he led. Now you can thrill your audiences with his tall tales and true. One of Patrick’s fellow students at Cambridge reckoned that ‘truth is stranger than fiction’. The creator of that saying, Lord Byron, must have had an inkling as to what was to happen to the Irish priest. Saucy Pat is a great one-man/woman show, terrific play to tour, a tough challenge for a performer and a new look at the Brontes.
A play taking the audience on a journey to a by-gone era. An excellent play; a most worthwhile and memorable experience. Friends of Labassa
I was engrossed in this production and returned to my seat after interval wanting to know more about Patrick Bronte. Cenarth Fox has written many plays during his career and I think this is probably his best work. Saucy Pat is of a very high standard and has international appeal. Kevin Trask
In a blend of exhaustive historical research and the art of storytelling, a splendid and entertaining portrait of Patrick Bronte. Jim Murphy
Cenarth Fox’s ‘Saucy Pat’ is not only an extremely well-researched play about the father of the Bronte sisters, it is also brilliantly written and superbly brought to life by Cen Fox’s wonderful acting. A very different night out at the theatre – a great evening’s entertainment! Ken and Liz Launder
Congratulations on your meticulous research and engaging, entertaining delivery of your script. Cheryl Threadgold
1M/1F, 85 minutes, 1 set, Sherlock Holmes and comedy.
The famous consulting detective is about to depart Baker Street for the last time. It’s Christmas and the great man is sorting case files and packing his worldly possessions. There’s many a famous mystery in his belongings even if the filing system leaves a lot to be desired. As usual his ever-present landlady, Mrs Hudson, is there to respond to the demands of her famous tenant. Holmes and Hudson are firmly in middle age. Had plastic hips been available, Mrs Hudson would certainly own a couple and Holmes is finding rheumatic twinges to be an uncomfortable companion. It’s been many years since the detective and the landlady first met. Now they are about to part for the last time. Holmes is off to Sussex and a new career keeping bees.
The night in London is quiet until Holmes receives a great shock. His landlady reveals remarkable news which presents an absorbing and possible life-changing challenge for the great detective. Over many years, she has been keeping notes about her two famous tenants, Holmes and Watson. Now she plans to publish her memoirs. She what!? How dare she reveal the faults and failings of the peerless sleuth and his imperfect sidekick! Is this the end for Sherlock Holmes?
There is a radio adaptation of this play available on CD from Fox Plays.
It’s a lovely idea to bring Mrs Hudson to the fore and confound Holmes. I’ve nothing but praise for the play. Roger Johnson
A delightful show, splendidly acted and directed. Don’t miss it. Cheryl Threadgold
Thanks for a great evening. It was wonderful. Cameron Close
One had to pinch oneself to remember you were watching a play and it wasn’t something in real life. The performance was absolutely stunning from both the actors, Kirk Alexander and Eileen Nelson. The audience just loved Nursing Holmes and it was simply one of those magical afternoons. Congratulations to Cenarth Fox for writing and directing another wonderful play. Brian Amos
Death by Eating
It’s new and it’s topical. 4M or F, 90 minutes, 1 set. It’s the all-you-can-eat comedy.
The world has gone fat.
Death by Eating is about how Big Food has manufactured, promoted and sold their products despite loud and louder warnings from experts that millions of people are suffering health issues and will continue to suffer in the future as a result of bad diets and overeating. Junk food rules. The play begins in the boardroom of Big Tobacco and morphs into the boardroom of Big Food. The issues both industries faced/face and the tactics each company used/use may be similar if not identical. The setting is the boardroom of a multinational company.
The play begins in the late 20th century and works through to the early 21st century. The same four characters appear throughout. Their personalities are the same because they are doing the same job only in different industries. The only thing which changes is the product they are selling. It’s tobacco at first but later becomes food and drink. There’s plenty of drama and comedy, and even a dash of circus. This is diet-free theatre. Cheers.
If you fancy the challenge of staging a world premiere, Death by Eating is available.
The Merry Widows
5F, comedy with a twist, 1 set, 95 minutes
A group of four mature widows meet for weekly coffee. Beth is ‘normal’, Siobhan’s into toy-boys, Ruby has her late hubby in a carry bag, (it’s Ern in an urn), and Joan’s in a time warp. These mismatched matrons share secrets, sorrows and sins helping one another to become very merry widows. Then a fifth and new widow arrives. She’s different, mysterious and striking. Her life story is amazing. Her late husband did something dramatically unusual. And this new widow is on a quest. Will it destroy the merry widows?
From being on friendly terms, the four original widows suddenly start competing against one another. Why? Why would four friendly older females suddenly become antagonistic and desperate to win against their friends? The play becomes a mystery with a real guessing game for the audience to solve the puzzle. Fabulous reviews.
The cast had the audience totally involved right from the start. The final moments were deeply moving and I wasn’t the only one with tears in my eyes when the lights went up! Joan Krutli Golden Days Radio
A wonderful, heartwarming, thought-provoking and beautiful production. Great writing, superb casting and beautifully nuanced delivery gave us an inside seat in the lives of The Merry Widows. The sadness, the joy, the laughter and pain and with a twist in the tail, it’s a mystery again and a wonderful show. Marie Ryan 96.5
A story that touched, profoundly at times, on the suffering and longing, the loneliness, the loyalty, and isolation of a group of older women. There were a lot of laughs too. Encore Theatre Company
We had sell-out shows which were brilliantly received! At one performance we had the archbishop of Armagh, the head of the Church of Ireland and another bishop and heaps of clergy! They all laughed like drains! Thank you so much for writing the play, we really enjoyed performing it, and I’ve already been asked when we’re putting The Merry Widows on again. Helen Ryan, Dublin
Comedy about sex education
6 roles [3M, 3F], 1 set, 95 minutes
How and when did you learn about sex? Three generations of one family gather to celebrate. Birthday girl Betty is an active retiree and married to retired sailor Rusty who has taken to cooking in his senior years. He’s a wonderful chef and a bit of a flirt. Betty and Rusty’s middle-aged son, Brian, is a complainer. He works hard and means well but takes things far too seriously. Brian thinks he failed with his first son, Alan, so is keen to succeed with son number two, the much younger Peter. Tonight Brian has an idea about the sex-education of his little Peter. Brian’s wife Jean has a degree in long-suffering. If only Brian would chill out.
When Brian and Jean’s older son, Alan arrives with girlfriend, Leonie, the topic of sex-education dominates. All three generations reckon they know how to teach kids about the birds and the bees. Is there a right way? How do kids learn about sex today?
A very successful production. STAG
A fun, enjoyable show, another successful script. Melbourne Observer
An amusing and instructive script; it could be a good educative play for parents and teachers and could be popular helping in tuition for sex instruction. Peter Kemp
A gentle comedy that sets out to entertain and sends the audience away with a smile on its face. Cenarth Fox has a definite way of reaching an audience without preaching, allowing us to decide our own moral values. There’s no crude language but plenty of laughs and so much that, I think old and young can identify with. Curtain Up
This was a delightful play, a fun night and a night from which you came away thinking very closely about what you’d seen. It was a night that you would remember, a really great evening. Brian Amos
This is Your Captain Speaking
Dinner-theatre comedy, 10-20 roles (M and F), 90 minutes
It’s a play, musical, pantomime, movie and a dinner show.
You don’t have to have an interval but you could have the main meal time as your interval.
It’s hard to explain but fabulous to perform and watch. It’s a madcap, high-flying comedy. It’s a three-set show where the audience moves to three locations. The show suits a hall rather than a theatre but everything is flexible. Your foyer is an airport terminal with shops, check-in venue and crazy characters. From the foyer, your audiences pass through Customs with all sorts of ‘interesting’ examinations. They finally settle in the plane and prepare for take-off. On the flight, they ‘enjoy’ a slide show, a sing-a-long and a medical emergency. Your pilot is short-sighted and the plane is running low on fuel. I mean, there’s even a priest called Father Forgive-me. True. A great show for people who don’t normally go to live theatre.
If you’re looking for something different, This is Your Captain Speaking is for you. The script allows for you to add your own entertainment items. When the in-flight movie fails, the crew entertain the passengers. You can serve a simple basket supper with the more expensive ticket holders getting better food in the pointy end of the plane. And by milking this ‘social divide’ you’ll get audience members laughing and interacting well before the main show even starts. Great for cast/audience interaction.
An absolute smash Lachlan Arts Council
Very well received Big River Repertory
What a BIG success Captain proved to be. We included concert items with our passenger actors performing. Our catering classes in home economics provided authentic meals for both first class and economy passengers. It was highly successful. Please send a catalogue of your plays as we would be very interested in performing another of your great shows. Glenmore HS
The experience of a lifetime, a nutty night of laughter and mayhem enjoyed by all. What did you enjoy most about This Is Your Captain Speaking? All of it! Mordialloc Light Opera Society
An out of the ordinary, fun and laughter-filled evening. An interesting dinner theatre production that will have its audience raving for months to come. Gordon F Kells HS Canada
The pace was fast and furious from the start with the traditional divide between cast and audience fading quickly. The cast obviously had a great time and the audience was gathered up by this enthusiasm. The action was happening everywhere at once and those in the audience were more a member of the cast than an observer. Narracan News
It’ll be All Wrong on the Night
2 or 3M, 4F, comedy, 90 minutes
The correct saying is, “It’ll be all right on the night”.
It’ll Be All Wrong On The Night is about staging a play when things don’t go as planned. A nightmare for every actor, director, audio/lighting operator, and stage manager. An actor falls sick during the play and is replaced by an unrehearsed technician from the bio box. I mean he’s seen the play a few times in rehearsal but he can’t act to save himself. A friend of the technician, who just happens to be in the audience, takes over the technical duties. On stage, the unrehearsed actor is struggling and the totally unrehearsed technician in the bio box is in even deeper doo-doos. The sound effects don’t work or do when they shouldn’t, scenery gets stuck, lights miscue and the theatre catches fire, well it appears to catch fire. Apart from that, everything runs like clockwork.
This is a real test for a set designer and builder and of course the cast who have to act as if the well-rehearsed script is not rehearsed at all.
The play was very well received – we found that Act 1 produced a few laughs and was taken fairly seriously, so that when we started Act 2 with a completely new Brad (25 years older than the original!) they were taken by surprise. The scene where Amanda and Brad get to know each other rather well on the sofa produced fits of laughter too. All in all, it was a very successful production. HATS