Book & Lyrics by Philip Goulding Music by Kate Edgar
4m 2f actor/musicians. Also version for 12 perfomers inc. 6 actor-musicians
Instrumentation: Flute/Clarinet/Sax (doubling) : Violin : Trumpet : Guitar/Banjo : Double Bass : Piano : Drums
Forest Forge Theatre Company (2002)
Maine Performing Arts Festival (2007)
He rode into town with the Devil on his trail….
After many years travelling around the West selling his Famous Miracle Cure, Doc Faust fetches up at the out-of-the-way Arizona town of Heart's Desire, where he takes a shine to the Sheriff's daughter, Helena. She, alas, seems more interested in Cornelius Valentine - a young man recently arrived from the East to edit the local newspaper - the Epitaph. Accepting the fact that his powers have waned, Doc Faust retires to the desert to lick his wounds. There he encounters a mysterious black-clad stranger who believes he can help the Doc revive his fortunes. There will, however, be a price to pay… Soon the Doc and his new found pardner Memphis are headed back into Heart's Desire - and you can bet your bottom dollar that life in that sleepy no horse town ain't ever gonna be the same again…
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THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE
(Minimum cast 3f 3m - Maximum cast 20)
Forest Forge Theatre Company/Salisbury Playhouse 1998
Wessex Actors 2005
Thomas Hardy's powerful tale of fate, power and the great Victorian myth of "getting on" tells the gripping story of the dynamic Michael Henchard, a journeyman hay-trusser who, through sheer force of will, works his way up, breaking free of a bad marriage and alcoholic despondency, to become a prosperous businessman and the Mayor of Casterbridge. Ultimately though, Henchard finds he is unable to escape his past, and, driven by his nature, he commits a number of impulsive deeds that must surely bring disastrous results.
Philip Goulding's script has quite extraordinary clarity. (The Guardian)
A gripping saga. (The Independent)
Philip Goulding's adaptation nicely follows the curve of the fortunes of Michael Henchard. (Financial Times)
This excellent adaptation. (Bournemouth Echo)
A work of quality. (Salisbury Journal)
Excellent production...fine adaptation. (Southern Echo)
Moving and masterly. (Dorchester Guardian)
Illustration © Tim O'Brien 2008. www.obrienillustration.com/
A Play by Philip Goulding
Minimum Cast 3m 2f Maximimum Cast 11m 11f
Forest Forge Theatre Company / Salisbury Playhouse 2000
In the middle years of the nineteenth century more than two million men, women and children abandoned the British Isles and headed west to America. Amongst them were a number of farm labourers and their families. These men and women, fearful of the new free market in foreign corn, and seeking to avoid at best a reduction in prosperity, and at worst destitution and the workhouse, chose to uproot to a New World that - it was rumoured - could be both tamed and owned. Despite popular opinion, the voyage out would not be easy. Seasick, homesick and herded like cattle, the emigrants were swindled, robbed, insulted and terrorised at every stage. Some would not even manage to make it all the way across the Atlantic. Set in England and America, Heading West follows the journey of Lizzie Wilson, her husband Edward (a carpenter and occasional bareknuckle fighter), and her farming partner George Ash. Together they travel from rural England to the bustling port of Liverpool. Having booked their passage to America they then endure a harrowing trip across the Atlantic, until the green shores of New England are sighted at last. After a short stay in New York they head up the Hudson River to Albany and then on to the Merrimack Valley. Will they eventually have the opportunity to build the kind of life Lizzie's long been dreaming of: at home on a farm in the Land of the Free - or will fate and circumstance ultimately intervene to split the trio up, spreading them far and wide across the seemingly endless expanse of America?
Alison Ball and Tim Treslove in Heading West, directed by Kevin Shaw. Photograph by Ian Christy.
In 1852, more than 49,000 men listing their occupation as "farmer" emigrated from the UK to America. Heading West charts the lives of three of them from scratching a scant living on an English farm, through the dangerous bustle of the Liverpool docks, across 35 days of open sea to New York, and on, via the sharks feeding on the innocent and exhausted emigrants, to a farm in New England. This is powerful drama, illuminating the world of the emigrants. Heading West is a fascinating play. (Blackmore Vale Magazine)
This is drama on a grand scale peopled with richly Dickensian characters, adventure, hardship, tragedy and a sprinkling of comedy. Theatre doesn't come any better than this. (Dorset Echo)
There are no dull moments and many comical ones. A cleverly constructed and vivid play. (The Stage)
Heading West designer David Haworth has created a box of tricks from rope and wood to transform into settings to take one poor farming family from old England to New England in the 1850s. Playwright Philip Goulding depicts the Wilsons - brawny Edward and cheerful hardworking Lizzie - letting them represent the many thousands of people who emigrated to try to escape poverty. The play is full of colour and warmth, brimming with lively characters and capturing a haunting era. (Salisbury Journal)
Forest Forge Theatre Company 2004
Theatre Newfoundland Labrador 2013
This hugely enjoyable show bridges the centuries so convincingly. Goulding cleverly combines two stories, centuries apart, and makes an appealling adventure. There are some great one-liners, great moments of intense drama, delightful comedy asides and a nice touch of romance. There is so much to enjoy. Philip Goulding is an imaginative writer and this is a gem. (The Stage)
The Belle of Bonavista Bay weaves two intriguing stories: of a past migration from Poole to Newfoundland; and the return of Daniela, a Canadian, to England to find her roots. Not only are the two stories interwoven, but they are interspersed with folk songs and sea shanties. The central theme of the play is how history, our connections to it and our perception of it, shapes our lives. An enjoyable piece of theatre. (reviewsgate)
A warm and lively play with plenty of twists and turns in the script. A bitter-sweet comedy. This is a challenging story full of dry humour and wit and one which will delight audiences everywhere. (Salisbury Journal)
A story of love, loss and longing that will move and amuse you in equal measure. (Western Gazette)
Colin Furlong as Noel and Stephanie Payne as Daniela in The Belle of Bonavista Bay at Theatre Newfoundland Labrador, directed by Jeff Pitcher.
Mark Carlisle, Amanda Maud and Morag Brownlie in the Forest Forge Theatre Company production of The Belle of Bonavista
Bay, directed by Sean Aita.
HORSE OR RIVER? (2f 2m) one-act
Oldham Coliseum Outreach 2008
Rafi, a successful Asian businessman in his forties, returns to his hometown where he hopes to build a monument to cultural diversity by turning an abandoned council building into a Sports & Community Centre. He gets Pam, a youth worker, on board to help develop his plans. On site they encounter Lee and his friend Menika, a Muslim. Lee's father is a racist and Lee is struggling to break free of his influence. Menika has fond memories of the council building from when Pam ran a successful Youth Club there - but that closed down due to a lack of funding. As Rafi starts to build his dream Pam warns him that he will encounter hostility from some sections of the community. But Rafi is determined to succeed...
Poppy Jhakra and Sue Devaney in Horse or River, directed by Jodie Lamb.
2m 3f minimum 7m 5f maximum cast
Royal Theatre Northampton 1993, Guildford SA 1994, Brighton Festival 1995, Courtyard Theatre/Soho Theatre Co, London 1996
Then He Kissed Me is a chillingly straightforward tale - Tina, a factory girl, discovers, a few days after her 21st birthday, that the boy she had a one-night stand with three years earlier was HIV positive. Goulding's job is to show the effect this has on the lives of those around her, and he does this movingly. Goulding has a good ear for realistic conversation and a Mike Leigh-like eye for the details of human relationships, and it is this authenticity that gives Then He Kissed Me its power: the rows and misunderstandings, the inadvertent insensitivities, the everyday ironies. By its honesty, quality of observation and lack of self-pity, Goulding's play goes further, emotionally, than many others I have seen with the same subject.
(The Stage 1996)
A provocative and appropriate love story for the 90s. (Plays International)
Goulding's ambitious exploration. (Time Out)
This powerful piece. A disturbing, contemporary love story. A thought-provoking, moving production. (Radio Nene Valley)
The superb script was subtle in its approach, and full of comic nuances along with a few surprises and plenty of punches. (Chronicle & Echo)
A sensitive examination...highly charged emotional scenes. A moving evening. (Morning Star)
Raw dramatic power...genuinely funny scenes. Riveting. (Camden New Journal)
Philip Goulding has approached this subject head-on. He does not preach or dictate but faces the turmoil with reality, fear & compassion & some wonderful humorous touches. (The Stage 1993)
David Case and Lisa Howard in Then He Kissed Me for the Royal Theatre Northampton, directed by Joe Sumsion.
2m 2f minimum cast 8m 3f maximum cast
March 1960. Word gets out that Sergeant Elvis Presley is scheduled to land at Prestwick Airport in Scotland on his way back to the USA from National Service in Germany. It would be the one and only time Elvis set foot on British soil. Tony Taylor is a mechanic in Nottinghamshire. Hearing the news of Elvis’s imminent arrival he decides to skip work and set off on a quest to see his hero in the flesh. Joining him for the adventure are his sister Jean and her friend Sylvia. Jean’s feet appear to be firmly on the ground, while Sylvia is hoping to be swept off of hers. Waiting for Elvis follows the ups and downs of the gang’s journey from Nottinghamshire to Scotland and their subsequent dramatic dash from Gretna Green to Prestwick. Will time run out or will Tony achieve his ambition – to see the Memphis Flash at close range?
A livewire script and top quality acting – how much better can it get? Wonderful entertainment. (Chronicle & Advertiser)
Gillian Perry and Kate Setchell as Jean and Sylvia in Waiting for Elvis, directed by Gavin Stride.
TRUE TALES OF ROBIN HOOD (2f 2m)
Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Allan-a-Dale and his wife Ellen are on their way to rescue King Richard, who is in custody in Europe. To avoid capture by Cruel Prince John and his men they have disguised themselves as travelling players. To earn their bread and board they agree to tell the true stories behind some of the legends from their famous greenwood days. Four actors bring to life a host of exciting characters, including Little John, Friar Tuck, the gouty Sir Timothy of Trent and of course, the cowardly and despicable Sheriff of Nottingham.
Quite superb entertainment. (The Stage)
Original and entertaining. I didn't want the evening to end. (Ringwood Magazine)
Illustration by NC Wyeth
HANSEL & GRETEL (2m 2f)
Based on the famous folk tale.
A gem. (The Stage)
A delight to young and old alike. Philip Goulding's script is full of fresh ideas. (Dorset Echo)
Great family entertainment. (East Anglian Daily Times)
Philip Goulding has made a most entertaining and amusing adaptation of the classic fairy tale, with a great script, and some very funny one-liners. (Diss Express)
Illustration by Ana Juan - www.anajuan.net/
ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2f 2m)
A new adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic story.
Charming. Full of humour and with just a touch of slapstick. (Basingstoke Gazette)
A small treasure. (Dorset Evening Echo)
Illustration by Tenniel
THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN (3f 2m)
Inspired by Robert Browning's famous poem.
Hugely enjoyable. Philip Goulding's witty and deceptively subtle adaptation. (Southern Daily Echo)
A robust and comical show. (Salisbury Journal)
Illustration by Man Arenas www.dodecaden.com
BRIAR ROSE - A SLEEPING BEAUTY STORY (2f 2m)
A new version of the famous fairytale.
A sparkling new adaptation. Pure magic. (The Stage)
Illustration by Edward Burne-Jones
PETER PAN (3f 2m)
A new version of J.M. Barrie's classic play.
Inspired. A night to remember. Quite brilliant. (The Stage)
Illustration by Kevin Buckley - www.kevinbuckleystudios.com/
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2f 2m)
A new version of the popular fairytale.
Quite superb. Marvellous entertainment. (The Stage)
Illustration by Lorene Andrews
PUSS IN BOOTS (2m 2f)
A new version of the popular fairytale.
Hilarious. Excellent script. Scintillating. (Dorset Echo)
This excellent production. (The Stage)
Illustration by Daniel Cacouault
See also Wind in the Willows / Toad of Toad Hall