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A Hint Of Old World Charm

    by Michael Park



"Had the capacity audience in stitches on opening night" (Scarborough Evening News)

Synopsis

Comedy Play Script: 'A Hint Of Old World Charm' by Michael Park

A run-down cottage on the coast is the setting and each Act tells a different story about the various inhabitants over time.

In Act I, newly-weds Alison and Brian are being shown around by an estate agent, hoping that Rose Cottage might be their first home together. However, a succession of setbacks, including flooding caused by faulty plumbing, woodworm, and mice in the fireplace, cause them to reconsider. Their next door neighbour, Miss Gamble, is also a constant and annoying presence, but the collapsing ceiling in the bedroom and the arrival of squatters finally drive them to looking elsewhere.

In Act II, with no buyers, the cottage has become a holiday let and its remote location seems perfect for a Leeds businessman to have arranged a romantic weekend away with his young secretary. His dubious excuse is he needs her to take notes at a nearby trade conference, but his plans are thwarted by the appearance of a belligerent old tramp, plus the ever-present Miss Gamble. But it is the sudden unexpected arrival of his wife which finally puts paid to his scheming.

In Act III, the house has finally been purchased by the parents of Alison from Act I. All Seth and Martha want is somewhere peaceful and quiet to while away their retirement, but that is shattered when what appears to be an armed bank robber comes barging in seeking sanctuary. Naturally, Miss Gamble can’t resist interfering, and the arrival of Alison, Brian, their teenage niece Janice, and the original estate agent bring to a chaotic end a play which the local theatre critic described as ‘…getting progressively funnier and having the capacity audience on opening night in tucks.’

Written for the larger amdram group, parts range from a few lines to longer leading roles, which has meant it has also proved popular with college drama groups from Maine, USA to Hobart, Tasmania.

The theme of house-buying also lends itself to the possibility of backing from a local estate agent with a ‘For Sale’ board mounted on the proscenium arch and updated before each Act, with potential added publicity from asking a local radio station to record the ‘radio announcement’ in Act III.

This play has a sequel in 'A Wisp Of Scotch Mist' in which many of the same characters appear, but in a different setting.


Characters

(7m, 10f)

Principals (7m, 8f)

  • Dermot Hazelton          an estate agent, polite, deferential, smartly dressed
  • Brian Mayberry           30s, hesitant, eager to please,
  • Alison Mayberry          his wife, 30s, independent, confident
  • Emily Gamble              a neighbour, spinster, fussy, talks rapidly
  • Mary Mayberry           Brian’s mother, small, dithery, friendly
  • Tom Wirral                   Alison’s brother-in-law, 30s, loud, bossy
  • Karen Wirral                Tom’s wife, 30s, quiet, dominated
  • Janice Wirral                teens, modern, street-wise
  • Howard Bellman          40s, businessman, self-assured, capable
  • Andy Garrett                20s, playing older, with the sureness of youth
  • Yvonne Summers         Howard’s secretary, young, attractive, naïve
  • Marion Bellman           Howard’s wife, 40s, strong-willed, domineering
  • Seth Granger                Alison’s father, 60, pleasant, friendly
  • Martha Granger          Alison’s mother, 60, easy-going, chatty
  • Dave                              20s/30s, muscular, agile

Support (2f)

  • Carol                              minor role, a squatter, any age
  • Sally                               minor role, a squatter, any age
  • Radio Announcer           recorded voice


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