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Author Focus:

Rodney Ackland

Playwright

  Literary gifts for book lovers, gorgeous gift ideas for readers, writers and literature fans
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Rodney Ackland
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Titles to Look Out For:
1935. The Old Ladies: A Play in Three Acts
1990. Absolute Hell

On Amazon:
Ackland, Rodney. 'The Old Ladies: A Play in Three Acts', published in 1935 by Samuel French Ltd, as French's Acting Edition, No. 2031, 63pp. Condition: Good, with some tanning and slight dirtiness to the cover & slight tanning to internal pages. Price: £10.00, not including p&p, which is Amazon's standard charge (currently £2.75 for UK buyers and more for overseas customers)
1935, Samuel French Ltd, pbk
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  • The Old Ladies [top]
    First published in 1935 in Great Britain in paperback by Samuel French Ltd, 63pp. French's Acting Edition No. 2031. Original UK retail price: 5s. net
    Adapted from the novel by Hugh Walpole

About the play: 'The Old Ladies' was originally produced by John Gielgud at the New Theatre, London on April 3rd, 1935 with three female parts:

May Beringer played by Jean Cadell
Lucy Amorest played by Mary Jerrold
Agatha Payne played by Edith Evans

The action of the play takes place in an old house in Pontippy Square, Polchester



Ackland, Rodney. 'Absolute Hell', a play, published in 1990, in Great Britain by Oberon Books in paperback, 142pp, ISBN 187025919X. Sorry, sold out, but click image to access prebuilt search for this title on Amazon UK
1990, Oberon Books
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  • Absolute Hell [top]
    Publishing Director: James Hogan
    Associate Editor: Nicholas Dromgoole
    Production Directors: Hugh O' Reilly and David Clark
    First published in 1990 in Great Britain by Oberon Books in paperback, 142pp, ISBN 187025919X
    Cover illustration: Peter Farmer

About the Play: Is set in the "Vie en Rose" club, London, W1. Has 11 male roles and 10 female roles. "La Vie En Rose" is a drinking club, and the scene that opens is one of a sultry summer evening in 1945. There are two rooms on the ground floor of the club: "The Club Room" as it is known on the left as you come in; and, visible through an archway, the bar. On the left is a door leading to a narrow entrance-hall and staircase. On the other side two windows open onto the street. Across the street can be seen a bomb-damaged Regency house, with Labour Party posters stuck on the windows in for the upcoming general election. You can also see an announcement of "Labour Committee Rooms". At one of the windows, it is possible to see a girl purposefully typing

Act One
Scene One. 21st June 1945, opening time
Scene Two. 21st June, closing time

Act Two
Scene One. 5th July, closing time
Scene Two. 26th July, opening time

Under the title of 'The Pink Room', an early version of the play was produced at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in 1952. The cast of characters was different from those in 'Absolute Hell':

Character Played By
Christine Foskett Hermione Baddeley
Doris Weston Janet Burnell
Cook Vera Harley
Conald Crutchley Bryan Coleman
Julia Schillitoe Margaret Halstan
Hugh Marriner David Yates
Siegfried Shrager David Hurst
Elizabeth Collier Heather Stannard
Mrs. Marriner Ann Wilton
Diana Marriner Helen Cherry
Michael Crowley  Thomas Heathcote
Maurice Hussey Austin Trevor
Sam Mitchum Christopher Taylor
Cyril Clatworthy Ivan Staff
Maisie Lally Bowers
Ruby Bottomley Mignon O' Doherty
Madge Maureen Delany
Lettice Willis Betty Marsden
Douglas Eden Terence Brook
Mrs. Pratt Janet Barrow
Fifi Phyllis Montefiore
Molson Bryan Coleman
Roach Michael Kelly
Members of the Pink Room Geoffrey Taylor, Ann Robinson
Judith Craig, Gwen Hill, Rupert Marsh
Director Frith Banbury

The below version was first produced on the 18th March 1988 at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, with the following cast:

Character Played By
Christine Foskett Polly Hemingway
Doris Isobil Nisbet
Butch Vincent Brumble
Julia Schillitoe Julia McCarthy
Hugh Marriner David Rintoul
Siegfried Shrager Peter Major
Elizabeth Julia Goodman
Mrs. Marriner Debbie Davies
Michael Crowley  Richard Owen
Maurice Hussey Knight Mantell
Sam Mitchum Jason Carter
Cyril Clatworthy Christopher Downing
Bill Liza Sadovy
R. B. Monoy Carol Macready
Madge Eve Shickle
Douglas Eden John Gardyne
Nigel Childs Vincent Brumble
Mrs Pratt Julia McCarthy
P. C. Molson John Gardyne
   
Members of the Pink Room  
Director Sam Walters, John Gardyne
Designed by Anne Gruenberg

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