So I approach the van, the sick feeling in my stomach getting stronger. The driver’s side window is open. Wide, wide open…but…no glass on the road…no glass anywhere…is anything stolen? Vandalised? Any visible attempt to start the van? And more to the point, have they tampered with my Leonard Cohen CDs? No. Everything is in order. There is no ‘they’ I realise. Just a ‘he’ – HE did it. Well, let’s ‘fess up. Me. I did it. Opened the window wide while reversing into a tight spot late last night, then got out, locked up, forgetting to close the window. How could I remember 75 minutes of densely-packed text without a flaw but forget to do something so basic as close the bloomin’ window!?
Those were the words on one of the feedback slips I received after the first performance of THIS EVIL THING at the Sherman Studio on Monday. A great show, a packed house, with members of the Welsh Assembly in (!), my director Ros Hutt in too (she is half-Welsh and was determined to be there and bring many a local friend), and Aled Eirug, expert on Welsh conscientious objectors in WW1, joining me for the Q and A – but there was also this small child.
There I was, the day before my departure to Cardiff and the Sherman Theatre Studio – being the first date on my 12-week tour of THIS EVIL THING – lugging some last-minute shopping home, waiting for the green man so I could cross the ever-busy Battersea Rise near my south-west London flat. Continue reading
‘Have you got it then?’ I asked, in hushed tones.
We were standing outside a Quaker Meeting House,our designated rendezvous.
‘Yeah. Here it is.’ He handed me a nondescript carrier bag, I can’t recall whether it was an Aldi or a Nisa – Aldi, I think. Protruding from it was the end of a short wooden plank. I peered inside the bag to investigate further and sure enough, at the other end of the plank were three vicious-looking rusty nails – more than enough to do damage to an unsuspecting person.
Following its acclaimed run in the Edinburgh Fringe last summer, THIS EVIL THING is now on tour!
The playscript of THIS EVIL THING is now available! Published by 49Knights, it consists of the full script and description of staging with a foreword by the director, introduction by the author(ahem)and six atmospheric illustrations by Carys Boughton.
The script is available for £10 inc p and p. Order your copy via the Contact Page here.
June 12th 2017
So there I am, all set up and ready to go at the Oasis Hub venue, Waterloo, on Friday evening June 9th … a hundred plus folk have turned up to see ‘THIS EVIL THING’ (despite having stayed up half the previous night to watch ‘THIS ELECTION’S HUNG’).
Feb. 19th 2017
In the last few weeks I have had three very different performances of THIS EVIL THING – as well as receiving a nudge about going for a walk – a rather long one…
On January 15th I performed in the very small, very lovely but very hot Kempe Studio, Stratford-upon-Avon – with 50 folk crammed in, sitting on IKEA folding chairs, a few rather more plush dining room chairs, and the odd sofa thrown in for good measure. (But a standard ticket price, whether IKEA folding or comfy sofa.)
‘How a lone actor with few props (the planks of wood are two small upturned drawers on which he balances) in the intimate drawing room of the Kempe Studio conjures such a visceral scenario is testament to Michael’s exemplary acting and his superbly crafted play … Michael switches seamlessly between his many roles: he’s a stretcher-bearer ducking fire on the front, a barking sergeant, a worried girlfriend, a troubled dad, an army officer, a philosopher, a politician, a campaigner… the effect is of a master storyteller at work’ Stratford-Upon-Avon Herald reviewing This Evil Thing. 19th Jan 2017. See full review here.
Following its acclaimed run in the Edinburgh Fringe last summer, THIS EVIL THING is now in the run up to a tour! The next date is at Sibford School, Sibford Ferris on Friday, 3rd February. The performance will take place from 3.05pm to 4.15pm, and Sibford is extending the audience to include a limited number of free seats that are being made available to the general public. Anyone wishing to attend should contact the school’s community development officer, Ali Bromhall, on 01295 781216 (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Watch this space for future dates or use the Contact tab to join Michael’s mailing list.
Armistice Day, and I find myself in a large room in the building of Theatre Clwyd, north Wales, waiting to perform a trimmed down 60-minute version of my WW1 COs play THIS EVIL THING, as part of the theatre’s series of lunchtime ‘Picnic Plays’ – organised by William James, associate producer there, who has been good enough to read earlier incarnations of my play, and who describes himself as an ’atheist pacifist.’
There is a regular avid core of thirty or forty folk who turn up to these readings, where they can buy a picnic bag on top of their ticket, or just bring their own lunch if they wish. So it seems I’m going to be performing some quite serious material while people munch on their sarnies. Continue reading
As the leaves begin to turn this autumn, so my thoughts begin to turn to next autumn, when I hope to have a tour in place for This Evil Thing (the Edinburgh run of which I have just about recovered from – including putting a little of the weight back on that I shed through 23 sweat-drenched performances). And hopefully a London run, too.
Watch this space.