LOUISE ENGLISH 1988-2002 SHOWS
This page features a retrospective of
from 1988 — 2002 that aren't featured elsewhere on
the Louise English Fan Centre.
With Louise English as Evelyn
Theatre Royal Windsor, 2002
Absent Friends is a
tragi-comedy by the world's most
successful living playwright, Alan Ayckbourn. Absent Friends transposes
the nature of comedy, farce and the significance of plot and sub-plot into a
realm of being beyond suburban drama.
Louise played Evelyn, an unenthusiastic new mother and
housewife that Louise described as, "A right tart...a horrible, horrible, tarty
wife who didn't say much and just ran everybody down."
And what did Louise say about the challenge of
playing someone so unlike herself? "I absolutely loved it."
So how is it that such a nice actress as Louise is
great as a tart? "I think it's because we don't get a chance to behave like
that. So when we're on stage we go Whoopee! and go for it...chew gum and be
In Absent Friends, Colin must be comforted in his grief
over the death of his fiancée. His friends, who never met the girl, arrange a
tea party for him. But there is more to their unease than that, for Diana and
her husband Paul, John and Evelyn (played by Louise), and Marge -- whose husband
is perpetually kept out of circulation with trivial illnesses -- are all kept
together by a mixture of business and cross-marital emotional ties. By the time
Colin arrives for tea, tenseness contrasts dramatically with his air of cheerful
relaxation. He is the only happy one among them, and his happiness and
insensitive analysis of their trouble causes each in his own way to break down.
Louise's co-stars were Lavinia Bertram as Diana, Madeleine
Howard as Marge, Derren Nesbitt as Paul, Marc Bannerman as John, and Frazer
Hines as Colin. Mark Piper directed.
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AN IDEAL HUSBAND
With Louise English as Lady Chiltern
National Tour, 2000
A witty drawing room comedy by Oscar Wilde, An Ideal
Husband opens in 1890 in aristocratic London and finds a young Viscount Goring
preening himself before a full-length mirror. Goring's father, the Earl of
Caversham, pesters him to marry a wife who ought to, according to the Earl, have
some measure of "common sense." The notion of a wife with common sense, though
distasteful to Goring, nevertheless describes Lady Chiltern (played by Louise)
the wife of his friend, Sir Robert Chiltern.
Sir Robert Chiltern has, in his youth, committed an
indecency against her. Unfortunately, this is overheard by the manipulative Mrs.
Chevely. What ensues is a turmoil of stolen letters, blackmail, affected
affection and Wilde's witty one-liners.
Louise's co-stars included Frederick Pyne, Brian Cant,
Lynette Edwards, Rebecca Dite, Ali Gorton, Jean Rogers, Marcus Gilbert, and
Richard Walsh. Michael Lunney directed for Middle Ground Theatre Company.
Husband toured nationally including: The Hawth, Crawley; Belgrade Theatre,
Coventry; Fairfield Hall, Croydon; The Orchard, Dartford; Key Theatre,
Petersborough; Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage; and the Connaught Theatre,
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LOVE OFF THE SHELF
With Louise English as Tanya/Sabrina
Nuffield Theatre Southampton, 1998
One of many musical comedies Louise has performed in, Love
Off The Shelf tells the story of John and his assistant, Mary, who are
working on a biography of a pre-Pre-Raphelite rogue. A project with great
literary merit, perhaps, but hardly a money-spinner.
To keep the wolf from the door -- and possibly to exorcise
some romantic demons of their own -- both John and Mary request, unbeknown to
each other, instructions from the True Love Publishers on how to write and sell
Love Off The Shelf parodies every cliché of the
romantic novel genre as the two stories come to life before our eyes -- the
interactions of the characters mirroring the ever-more-complicated relationship
between John and Mary. Occasionally the fictional characters rebel against the
constraints put upon them by their creators, but, in the end, despite the
tongue-in-cheek treatment doled out by the authors, romance is the winner all
round in the blissful send-them-home-happy finale "A Happy Ending".
Louise's characters include Tanya, a rich, sophisticated,
sensual woman from a distinguished European family who flaunts her engagement
ring from Hamilton, "Flaunt, flaunt" says Tanya.
Sabrina, the vampish, rich, sophisticated editor of a
trendy women's magazine who leaves no doubt to her intent as she sings, "I am
the other woman and there's nothing I won't do/If you've a lovin' husband I
would like to share him too/I'll squeeze him till he's dry and then return the
peel and pips/Upon the sea of marriage I have sunk a lot of ships." But Sabrina
will get her comeuppance. Mind the Deus Ex Machina, Sabrina.
Louise's co-stars were Simon Robson as John, Amanda Waring
as Mary, Nick Norman as Sean, James Telfer as Hamilton, Camilla Simpson as
Claire, Oliver Hickey as Jose/Lance/William, and Alison Cox as Lucinda/Cathleen.
Patrick Sandford directed for the Harrogate Theatre Company.
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With Louise English as Sibyl Chase
Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke, 1997
When the young Sibyl, a "completely feminine creature"
(played by the completely feminine Louise), steps out onto her honeymoon perch
in the south of France, she's brimming with expectations of a storybook romance.
For Elyot, her dashing bridegroom, this is his second time around the marital
park. To his chagrin, Sibyl is a bit too curious about his first wife, Amanda.
He assures Sibyl that she is the antithesis of Amanda and for that he couldn't
As Elyot and Sibyl slip into their bridal suite, Amanda
appears on the adjacent balcony joined by her new husband, Victor. They, too,
are on their honeymoon and, like Sibyl, Victor seems preoccupied with the memory
of the divorced spouse. Amanda assures him that she recalls her former husband
without a trace of affection, characterizing life with Elyot as "two violent
acids bubbling about in a nasty little matrimonial bottle."
However, a few minutes alone is all it takes to rekindle
the old can't-live-with-her, can't-live-without-him flame, and next thing you
know the couple are abandoning their newly acquired other halves and escaping to
Amanda's holiday flat in Paris.
A few days later, after a nice long look at the radical
mood swings of their domestic life together, Victor and Sibyl track the errant
partners down to their hideaway for the confrontation they both agree Amanda and
Victor richly deserve. This leads to perhaps the best scene of the play as
Amanda and Elyot, recovering from a bruising battle, cunningly play their
spouses off against one another, the sensible Sibyl and Victor gradually losing
their well-guarded senses, with perfect comic timing.
Private Lives encapsulates all the style, romance,
and sophistication of Noël Coward and the decadence of the era. Louise's
co-stars included Rupert Frazer, Judy Buxton, and Giles Watling.
Click here to read a
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With Louise English as Dick Whittington
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, December 1991-January
Louise played the title character in one of the most
popular Christmas season pantomimes. Dick is an adventure-seeking, ambitious lad
from the West Country.
Louise's co-stars included Jonathan Morris, Richard Gibson
as King Rat, Patrick Cargill as Sarah the Cook, and Dora Bryan as The Fairy.
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THERE'S A GIRL IN MY SOUP
With Louise English as Marion
The Mill at Sonning, 1991
A brilliant comedy by Terence Frisby set in the 1960's,
There's A Girl In My Soup tell the story of Robert Danvers, a middle-aged
Casanova and his relationship with 19 year-old Marion (played by Louise). Robert
is a food and wine critic and TV presenter, exceedingly vain with a liking for
pursuing young females. When he and Marion meet he doesn't believe for one
minute that he can't have her, because Robert gets everything he wants. Marion,
who has just split up with her drummer boyfriend, Jimmy, when Robert comes on
the scene, has no idea who he is or that he's famous. Since she has nowhere to
go after a falling out with Jimmy, Marion decides it will be fun to stay at
Robert's flat. After Marion moves into his flat, Robert gets more than he
She's under no illusion about Robert's desire for a much
younger woman, but decides to play him the way he plays other women. Thus, the
sparring begins between the worldly-wise Robert and the streetwise Marion. This
comedy follows the trials, tribulations, similarities and differences between
Marion and Robert as they embark on a two-week holiday to France where Robert is
wine tasting. Add to the mix the sophisticated Clare Dorlaton-Finch, his best
pal Andrew Hunter, the porter, and Andrew's au pair, Paola, and you have all the
ingredients of a traditional British farce.
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With Louise English as the lead songstress
1990 National Tour
Louise was the lead songstress
in this very entertaining musical tribute,
with solos including: MY HOME TOWN, WERNER VON BRAUN,
M.L.F. LULLABY, and THE OLD DOPE PEDDLAR, and duets including
POISONING PIGEONS and POLLUTION.
Louise's co-stars were Melvyn
Hayes, Brian Cant, and Nicola Blackman. Tom Foolery was directed by David
Morgan-Young and produced by Michael Rose Ltd. The following description of the
play is taken from the Tom Foolery programme.
A celebration of the genius of Tom Lehrer, Cameron
Mackintosh has taken twenty eight of his greatest songs and added a linking
narrative to produce an evening of subtle humourous
delights as Lehrer attacks American 'sacred cows', having made sure to milk them
The first number sets the scene in no uncertain fashion; BE
PREPARED (We have several hundred numbers here to do/And the doors are being
locked until we're through!) with a neat side-swipe at Baden-Powell. We pause,
somewhat shaken, as we watch two lovers POISONING PIGEONS IN THE PARK, and then
taste the highly questionable delights of the Old South in I WANNA GO BACK TO
DIXIE (I ain't seen one good lynching in years) and MY HOME TOWN with its
But happier things lie ahead; to a calypso beat, we hear
about POLLUTION (Don't drink the water/And don't breathe the air) and shed a
reminiscent tear for those BRIGHT COLLEGE DAYS (Hearts full of truth/Six parts
gin to one part vermouth).
Now the really serious bit starts: education in THE
ELEMENTS, a stunning patter-song which lists and rhymes all of them (including
several Lehrerian inventions!); social conscience in THE FOLK SONG ARMY (We all
hate poverty, war, and injustice/Unlike the rest of you squares);
self-revelation in SMUT (For filth, I'm glad to say/Is in the mind of the
beholder) and tourism's seamy side in OLD MEXICO.
Mr. Lehrer is all heart, though, as the next songs prove:
SHE'S MY GIRL and WHEN YOU ARE OLD AND GREY (You're teeth will start to go,
dear/Your waist will start to spread), then the neat way he plants a rocket
under WERNER VON BRAUN, a bomb under a whole row of
countries (WHO'S NEXT?) and a nagging feeling under us all in I GOT IT FROM
AGNES. And then, in case we might go off to the interval feeling too happy,
NATIONAL BROTHERHOOD WEEK reminds us that (All of my folks/Hate all of your
folks/for at least fifty-one weeks a year).
Refreshed long enough to face the rigors of the second Act,
we find Mr. Lehrer moving in on us. SO LONG MOM (I'm off to drop the bomb), THE
HUNTING SONG, a tribute to enthusiastic, if inaccurate riflemanship (Two game
wardens, seven hunters, and a cow), and THE IRISH BALLAD, commemorating the poor
girl who (Didn't have her family long/Not only did she do them wrong/She did
every one of them in) leave our emotions befuddled, followed by SILENT E which
does exactly the same to our brains!
So (to coin a phrase), into the home straight of the last
six songs, arguably Lehrer's finest yet: THE WIENERSCHNITZEL WALTZ which
flattens Old Vienna once and for all, I HOLD YOUR HAND IN MINE, with the
immortal lines (My joy would be complete, dear/If you were only here/But still I
keep your hand/As a precious souvenir), THE MASOCHISM TANGO, speaks for itself!
THE OLD DOPE PEDDLER (with his powered happiness), THE VATICAN RAG (2,4,6,8,
time to transubstantiate) and the knockout blow -- WE WILL ALL GO TOGETHER WHEN
Like all the finest shows, this wackey entertainment is
WICKED, HILARIOUS, TOUCHING, BAWDY, and STIMULATING. And all with two men, two
women, and a pianist! A truly marvellous evening.
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With Louise English as Rosie
National Tour, 1988
A new play specially
commissioned for the Malvern Festival and written by Ted Willis, Tommy Boy
tells the story of a small group of people whose lives are dramatically
changed by the first World War. In particular, it follows the fortunes of Tommy
Barnes, an irrepressible young Cockney street-trader and his girlfriend, Rosie
Carr (played by Louise), the barmaid at The World's End pub.
In the summer of 1914 their
lives are full of hope and promise but when the war comes they are caught up in
a chain of events which blights that promise and changes the world around them.
The play is set in The World's
End pub in the Elephant and Castle District of London, and in a dug-out just
behind the front line in France. Despite the inevitable tragic undertones, Ted
Willis captures the magic humour which the cockney always shows in adversity and
he includes many of the old war-time songs which so vividly reflect those
Louise's co-stars included
Peter Howitt in the title role of Tommy Barnes, the wayward cockney barrow boy, and
George Sewell as John Hedges the school teacher, who narrates Tommy Boy.
Warren Hooper directed. Louise also starred with Peter Howitt in the smash-hit
Fur Coat and No Knickers.
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