DOING THE BOOK CLUB by David Spicer

£3.50

A meeting of an on-line book club, where all the participants are not only reading other people’s books but also trying to write their own, takes a very surreal turn when one of them claims that the others are just characters in their book.

This comedy was written to be performed live on Zoom (or similar internet platform) by actors who are socially distanced and performing from different locations.

Description

CHARACTERS

REBECCA        She started the book club and chooses the books. She’s a bit bossy but has to be to keep the various rampant egos of the group in check (whilst also asserting her own). She is writing a series of unfortunately titled books about a pair of star-crossed lovers who just happen to be vampires.

JUDITH           She struggles to finish reading any book, unless it’s about Harry Potter, but is very sweet and supportive to the efforts of her friends. She is writing a book about a young witch called Harriet Botter who goes to a Magical school called Warthogs with her friends Herbert Ranger and Ronalda Whistles.

TOM               Has just finished his 2,000-page historical mystery about a Georgian Gentleman detective, Parsimonious Periwig. An incorrigible literary snob, he is convinced that the book club (or Literary Circle as he insists on calling it) is beneath him and his talents.

EBON              The youngest of the group and another one who struggles with his reading, which is why his preferred genre is the graphic novel. Unfortunately for him he also struggles with his drawing, which is why his own graphic series is called STICK WORLD and populated by very easy to draw Stick People.

JASON            Jason likes his fiction dark, violent and with lots of dirty bits. Which is why he his anti-hero is Brent Crood, an alcoholic, defrocked catholic priest turned private detective who works the mean streets of Ormskirk.

TERRI             The only member of the club who isn’t writing a book (or so she claims). She joined after she was kicked out of the Amateur Dramatic Society, her Pub Quiz Team got banned for cheating and her Murder Mystery Theatre business folded. She doesn’t care what she reads but doesn’t like ‘booky’ books.

 

PRODUCTION HISTORY

The play was first produced online in JULY 2020 by the Northern Comedy Theatre, directed by Shaun Chambers.

The cast was:

Rebecca – Vikki Earle

Judith – Lauren Molyneux

Tom – Robert Stuart-Hudson

Ebon – Kieran Maleedy

Jason – Rob Hardie

Terri – Kathryn Chambers

 

REVIEWS

ONLINE THEATRE REVIEW: Doing The Book Club – Northern Comedy Theatre
First they did Shakespeare, then tackled a pub quiz, followed by hosting a murder mystery. Now, this hapless but hopeful ensemble were running a book club – I do apologise, “literary circle” – in the latest series of Zoom plays.

Once again, playwright David Spicer had written this comedy set against the backdrop of a group of friends, despite their perpetual disagreements, making the most of online resources and staying in touch with one another during this pandemic.

We welcomed back the familiar characters from the previous “Doing” series of plays each with their own book proposal ideas. Ebon had drawn his own graphic novel franchise called “Stick World” – demonstrating the highly technical art of stick figure drawing. A vampire fiction bestseller could have just been thought up by Rebecca. At the same time, Judith was writing a completely original and inimitable novel: it followed a young wizard called Harriet Botter. Finally, Terri wasn’t in the mood to read anything too booky. However, Terri’s inner book worm was revealed in a creative outburst later in the story.

Having watched this theatre company and playwright’s work for a third time now, they certainly have a fine understanding of their own comedy and performance style. The humour is character driven, topical, and geeky, with British wit. Especially as each play has covered British pastimes. The funniest gag in this play was Terri’s Northern pronunciation of the book title: “Our Souls In The Morning”, saying it more like “Argh souls”. You could tell the ensemble of actors were genuinely cracking up laughing at how she said it. This made it all the funnier. When Rebecca revealed the numerous “Our Souls…” book titles and Terri read them out, the outbreaks of laughter just escalated.

Spicer also asked the audience the questions: what is a proper book, and what is a good book? Unlike the “Pub Quiz” play, they used Zoom creatively in tonight’s production. When Terri began to perform her self-reflective soliloquy, everyone else’s screens froze temporarily to create the impression of a bad internet connection – leaving just Terri alone with her imaginative thoughts. It was a writer’s parallel universe ending. A world within a world; book within a book finish resembling the film “Inception”. The characters got confused as a result and humour was found in this. Overall, this was another agreeable play, I enjoyed this one just as much as the “Shakespeare” one.

Reviewer – Sam Lowe
on – 4/8/20

 

RUNNING TIME

Approximately 45 minutes

 

PREVIEW

Preview available here

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