Category: 2. First Draft (Jan 2012)


First Draft

Were you at First Draft last Sunday? We thought it was a huge success, and now A Friend of a Friend is working towards the next show. Get in touch and let us know what you thought or if you’d like to take part…. watch this space to see when the next show will be!

Twitter: @FOAF_Theatre

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REVIEW: ‘Cultivating talent is hard work’

The time for new writing is now. With the eyes of the world firmly fixed on the London stage following the international successes of War Horse and Jerusalem, combined with the impending uncertainty of the Olympics, there has never been a more important time to support new writing in Britain. A Friend of a Friend is a company established to give young writers and performers a platform to share their work and gauge the response of a live audience. First Draft, the company’s aptly named first outing, comprised of six short pieces rounded off by a somewhat adventitious sketch troupe called FunBags.

There is a tendency amongst budding writers to try and wow their audience by showing off the breadth of their emotional capacity in as short a time as possible. The result is, more often than not, a bombastic and off putting production that seems somehow to demand more of an audience than it gives. Much of the work showcased in First Daft dives headfirst into this trap with careless abandon but Robin Johnson and Jon Barton provide some much appreciated light relief whilst demonstrating a keen wit and a real understanding of rhythm and pace.

Johnson’s Wildehouse was a banter filled tribute to (you guessed it) Oscar Wilde which borrowed, perhaps a little too greedily, from the great man himself. With creativity, charm and a tongue firmly placed in cheek, Johnson’s cast won over the audience with some comedy gems. A politician described as “Farther left than a starter fork at a nine course banquet” was received with particular enthusiasm. Although the playfully verbose script overwhelmed the actors at times, one cannot help but feel that, with a little direction, this team could produce some truly exciting work.

Similarly, Jon Barton gives a fresh take on a very tired scenario. As any avid theatre goer knows, a speech from the ‘therapist’s chair’ is as overdone as a queue of people at the bus stop. Rarely, though, are these sketches so witty and well paced as The Corner Fence. Speedy, boisterous and just a little bit silly, Morag Sims and Nick Ruben played it perfectly, with the solid support of Violet Ryder, as the couple looking to enjoy being apart from each other.

With some sparks of real talent, only time and hard work can tell of the good work that could be produced by this group of predominantly young artists and performers. Having said that, whilst experimentation is a much needed part of the creative process, the understanding of an audience must be at the centre of the work. Although First Draft contained some really great moments, this was ultimately an evening designed for the writers and not for a paying audience.”

by Paul Goodman


‘First Draft’ January 22 Shortlist

Please note that this is a past performance and tickets are no longer available. For details on the current production please visit the Homepage.


January 22nd 2012, Charring Cross Theatre. An evening to showcase new writing in the West End. BUY TICKETS


Superhero Therapy
A short piece which asks whether being a superhero would really be as great as it seems.
written by Mark Fairclough
Mark has been writing as long as he can remember being able to. He has contributed to the long running comedy sketch show Newsrevue, and some of his work has also been performed in his native Leeds. He hopes to complete his first full length play in the near future.
directed by Dominique Poulter
Dominique is London based director who has worked in both the UK and the USA. She is currently working for Y Touring Theatre Company as company manager. Directing credits include The Way of the Pear, Alice in Wonderland for Epsom Youth Theatre and Reel at The Gulbenkian Theatre.
Therapist: Lauren Buckley
Lauren is a third year drama and theatre studies student at Royal Holloway University of London. Acting credits whilst at university include That Face by Polly Stenham (Izzy), Hushabye Mountain by Jonathon Harvey (Sister Bernadette) and How to disappear Completely and Never Be Found.
Superhero: Daniel Aiken
Daniel hails from Northern Ireland and trained professionally at Middlesex University in London. His Theatre credits include Mother Goose as Mother Goose’s Son; Little Red Rtiding Hood as the Hans Woodsman; Sweet of Dry as the narrator; and Peter Pan as Michael Darling.


Scenes from Still I See My Baby
A play about the importance of children.
written by DBHorrigan
Recent credits: There Ain’t No Law Against Fish And Chips by rose Lewenstein – Soho Theatre, A Peaceful Resolution by Mike Carter – The Old Red Lion; and The Duchess Of Malfi by John Webster – The Charring Cross Theatre (then The New Players). Dan is currently engaged in talks to bring shows to The Old Red Lion, The Bierkeller and The Actors Church in 2012.
directed by Hannah Kaye
Hannah trained in Chicago and Paris before attending Drama Centre and the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Recent productions include: Troublesome King John (The Jerwood Space), The Hamlet Project (Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Arcola Theatre) and The Winter’s Tale (Italia Conti). Hannah teaches acting and movement at drama schools including Drama Centre and the Urdang Academy and is currently in rehearsals for the musical Nine.
Jane Dodd
Jane trained at E15 Acting School, The Actors’ Temple, London and Meisner Center, LA. Theatre credits include Maggie in Jake’s Women (Bridewell Theatre), Dora in Airswimming (Hen & Chicken’s Theatre), and Jenna in Colder Than Here (Courtyard Theatre). Jane won an Olivier Award in 2011 for La Boheme at the Soho Theatre and critical acclaim for her performances in Colder Than Here and 4Play.
Jane Jeffery
Jane is an actor/director whose most recent credits include: Linda in I, Anna, (feature film starring Gabriel Byrne, Charlotte Rampling and Hayley Atwell), Eloise Baker in Emmerdale (ITV), Mrs Gardner in Gates (Sky) and Fiona Marquez in Doctors (BBC1). Her recent directing credits include Blood Wedding (ALRA), The Lighthouse (The Kings Head) and Richard III (Arts Ed).
Augustina Seymour
Augustina trained at Guildhall. Recent theatre includes Shore (Riverside Studios), Hamlet (Guildford Shakespeare Company) and Much Ado About Nothing (Chester Performs).


The Corner Fence
Mel and Harry have agreed to undergo an unusual form of couple’s therapy. As tensions rise, the half-truths begin to stack up. A darkly comic look at couple’s therapy.
written by Jon Barton
Jon is a graduate of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme.
Recent Theatre includes: ‘Derelict’ (Southwark Playhouse), ’Solicit’ (Theatre 503) and ‘Spot The Difference’ (Albany).
The Corner Fence has been directed by its cast.
Mel: Morag Sims
Morag trained at ALRA and was Spotlight Prize Nominee 2009.
Recent Theatre includes: ‘The Winter’s Tale’ (Titian Rep), ‘Lost & Found’ (Sheer Drop) and ’Printed Linen’ (Glass to Wall Productions).
Harry: Nick Ruben
Nick trained at East 15 Acting School.
Recent Theatre includes: ‘Scratchbook’ (Squint), ’ Taleblazers’ (Blacklight Theatre) and ‘I Made You A Mixtape’ (Jacksons Lane).
Therapist: Violet Ryder
Violet trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
Recent Theatre includes: ‘Lullabies of Broadmoor’ (Stepping Out Theatre), ‘Pride & Prejudice’ (Bath Theatre Royal) and ‘Brief Encounter’ (Kneehigh Theatre).


Samuel Wildehouse is up to his immaculately cravatted neck in it this time and no mistake! It’ll take more than a hare-brained scheme involving a false moustache to get him out of this one. A gentle satire on Edwardian aunts-and-butlers comedy.
written by Robin Johnson
Beginning to build a reputation for strong, witty and intelligent plays, usually with a farcical undertow, Robin is currently producing his latest work, ‘A Handbag, Darkly’, for the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe. This will be the third of his plays to have made it to the Fringe.
directed by Alex Mack
A prolific director at University, Alex was in responsible for award winning amateur productions of ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’, and ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. With his own group, Rule of Three, he was also part of a highly successful staging of Sarah Kane’s ’4:48 Psychosis’.
Samuel Wildehouse: Dominic Rye
Having taken part in almost every available production at the University of Leicester during his time there, including their Edinburgh Fringe production of ‘Memento Mori’ by Jonathan Nolan, Dominic is now auditioning for drama schools. At the time of writing he has call backs at Central and the Old Vic, wish him luck on both.
Reinhart: Canavan Connolly
A graduate of Central, and veteran of no less than three Edinburgh Fringe productions, Canavan has always enjoyed contrarian roles and the opportunity to try unusual castings. As a subservient and weak Watson, in ‘Broken Holmes’ (also by Robin Johnson), or Benedick in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, comedy has always been a strong focus, and no less so with Wildehouse.


Adam Shaw grieves for his wife and small daughter after their brutal murder. Following the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of the killer, Richard Maidment, Adam plots his revenge, intending to locate Maidment for his final sentence.
written by by John Foster
produced by Nagham Naddour
directed by Sam Snape
Sam attended the Directors course at the Drama Centre, London.
Plays include the European Drama award winning Pflegefal which ran for 18 months at the Deutsches Nationaltheater in Weimar. TV credits include episodes of popular British TV Series including All Creatures Great and Small and Soldier Soldier. In 2011 ‘3 Hours’ (Mercury Bay Pictures), a short film he wrote, won two Oscar qualifying festival awards.
Richard Maidment: Colin Jonathan Appleby
Graduated from City Lit in 2010.
Roles include: Cardinal Krogstad in A Doll’s House, Oedipus in Oedipus Rex, and Arnold in Torch Song Trilogy, which he also directed. European musical tour of Better than Sex and Follies in London. This year sees the release of his latest feature film Arkham Sanitarium, and 2011 saw him star in The End, a powerful short film broadcast on Film4 to much critical acclaim.
Adam Shaw: Matthew Jure
Critically acclaimed roles include the amnesiac Man in arthouse film Undertow, obsessive-destructive mathematician Septimus Hodge in Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia and the title role in Macbeth. He has been nominated for five awards and has won three: Best Newcomer (BIRSt, BBC-SRA Awards); Best Actor in a Short Film (Undertow, New York International Independent Film Festival) and Best Actor in a Feature Film (Starlight & Superfish, Michigan Blue Water Film Festival). He is currently preparing for JP Davidson’s feature film Downturn.


Gangster of Love
It’s Jack’s first day of a new job and luckily his friends Nick and Jay are on hand to give some vital advice punctuated by a spot of role-playing. After all, it’s important to make a good first, second, and final impression.
written by Frank Osborne
Recent credits: Cat Toast Equilibrium Roundhouse Theatre, The Big Fight Fortune Theatre, Acting 101 Jermyn Street Theatre & The Old Red Lion Theatre, Honest Phil at the Speak Easy New Writers Event, and Last Orders premiered at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011.
directed by Grant Murphy
Having performed in the West End and on International tours for the last 12 years, Grant recently returned to The Arts Educational Schools, to study a Masters in Creative Practice graduating with Merit. This production marks the beginning of a transitional year From Performer to Creative, and is very excited and passionate about the next 12 (or more) years on the other side of the curtain.
Vince: Andrew Kinsler
Andrew graduated from the Masters course at Arts Ed in 2010.
Roles include: the pilot for the new interactive TV series Prophetia produced by Treite Labs; the sell out one-man show at the Bush Theatre and Theatre 503 titled Lovec@t; Wavelength Theatre Company’s Unnatural Selection at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the inner voice of 4 different characters in Hamlet Smith for the Nursery Festival in Southwark.
Nick: Chris Whittaker
Chris recently finished as dance captain in Aladdin – Hexagon theatre, Reading. He is now working on a workshop for a new musical and is the choreographer for Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Assassins’ at The Pleasance Theatre opening in March this year.
Jack: David Ellis


Special guest appearance from FunBags.

FunBags have been writing & performing their riotous mix of sketches, comedy songs and silliness since January 2010. They are: Jo Burke, Jacqui Curran, Gemma Layton & Alison Ward. To find out more about them and for future gigs, please visit


Remember to buy your tickets in advance at by clicking on “A Friend of a Friend – First Draft”.


News November 2011

It’s official, ‘First Draft’ the debut performance brought to you by A Friend of a Friend will take place at the Charing Cross Theatre on Sunday 22nd January 2012 at 7pm. Buy your tickets NOW at and keep an eye on twitter and facebook for the most up-to-date news.

In the meantime, have a look at the ‘First Draft’ page to find out who will be involved in the upcoming show and don’t forget – you can still grab a pen and paper (or your laptop!) and start working on a ten minute play to submit for our next show.