Louise English shows from 1988-2002 including 'An Ideal Husband', 'Tommy Boy', 'Dick Whittington', 'Tom Foolery' and 'There's a Girl In My Soup'.


This page features a retrospective of Louise's shows 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 absolutely outrageous."

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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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.

An Ideal 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, Worthing.

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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 romantic fiction.

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 be happier.

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 review.

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With Louise English as Dick Whittington

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, December 1991-January 1992

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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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 bargained for.

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.

Click here to read a review.

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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 thoroughly first!

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 ghoulish population.

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 WE GO.

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 Carr

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 traumatic days.

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 farce Fur Coat and No Knickers.

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