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British Beauty by Steve Gooch

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Community Plays

Back Street Romeo
British Beauty
Duty Free
Fuente Ovejuna
Our Say
Taking Liberties
What they Want

Back Street Romeo poster

Back Street Romeo (8m, 2f)

Follows closely the story of the Shakespeare original but transposes the characters into an East London setting. (The two feuding families, for example, are gangsters and trade unionists respectively, and Friar Lawrence runs a youth club.) The dialogue is in modern, colloquial form, and there are some songs.
Click here for script excerpt.

British Beauty (5f, 4m)

Sophie, a wild country girl grows up in deepest Sussex as the daughter of a gamekeeper, who is head of the household of Barbara Leigh Smith, women's rights campaigner and, with Bessie Parkes, editor of The Englishwoman's Journal. Barbara is a friend of Preraphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti who, along with other Victorian luminaries like George Eliot and Friend, loves to visit her country home. It just so happens that on a visit Rossetti one day decides to draw the wild Sophie ... Click here for script excerpt

Duty Free (4m, 1f) - 'A Play for Europe'

Rich grew up in Folkestone and never quite accepted his parents' excuse ('the war') for leaving him alone and coming back from Flushing in Holland with his seemingly favoured brother Joe. When Joe takes after his father and begins coming back from 'over there' with unexplained bottles of brandy and French luxury goods, Rich's response is to join the Volunteers protecting Britain's coasts from the foreign invader Napoleon. No wonder that the mysterious Neal sees him as likely recruit for British intelligence in Flushing, spying on, amongst other, his own brother; a connection which comes in handy when, after the war, the latter is caught red-handed at his old trade. Click here for script excerpt.

Fuente Ovejuna artwork

Fuente Ovejuna (12m, 5f, minimum)

Adaptation of Lope de Vega's 15th Century classic in which a Spanish village rises up against a tyrannical overlord who believes he can have the pick of the village's women. Rendered into a modern, colloquial, 'Madness-style', Cockney verse form. Produced in 2011 by students at the London School of Film, Media & Performance.

Our Say (cast of thousands)

Panoramic community play for the West Midlands town Wednesbury, about the beginnings of the struggle for the vote in the early 1840s, and the Chartist movement in the heart of the Black Country's metal-working communities.

Jeffrey Dunstan - Taking Liberties

Taking Liberties (13m, 6f)

When second-hand wig-seller Jeffrey Dunstan walks into the Leather Bottle pub in Wandsworth, it soon leads to fierce competition amongst the local plebs as to who will be the next mock-Mayor of Garratt, an election fought with parades and floats and all the fun of carnival. Since Jeffrey's competitors include publican Sam House, the political agent for the infamous Charles James Fox, it isn't long before the smart London set are drawn into the fray. Not only the actor Garrick join the throng of thousands but also the playwright Foote and that well-known 18th Century radical John Wilkes, as well as the scandalous Duchess of Devonshire.
Click here for script excerpt.

What They Want (5m, 3f)

Originally written for teenagers in an evening class group at Oval House, Kennington, and subsequently produced ina revised form on radio, this short play is adapted from the Roman playwright Terence's comedy, The Brothers, in which two sons run wild under the eye of an indulgent uncle while their strict father is away. Click here for script excerpt.

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