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in Northampton since 1932

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Someone Who'll Watch Over Me
by Frank McGuinness

Cast & Crew

Edward David Mander
Richard Jordan
William Portch

Director Pat Bancroft
Stage Manager
Brian Bancroft
Lighting Desk
Martin Williams
Sound Desk
Bernadette Wood, Kate Billingham
Set Construction
Derek Banyard
Front of House
Masque Theatre members
Publicity & Photographs
Ian Clarke
Programme Design
Martin Borley-Cox

Richard Jordan, David Mander and William Portch Photo by Ian Clarke

Production No. 375

More images from Someone Who'll Watch Over Me


Pat Bancroft, director

Are you looking for an interesting, gripping and thought-provoking evening?  Then make sure you put a reminder in your October diary to watch Frank McGuinness’s funny, graphic and beautifully written play Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.

In it, McGuinness takes us through the lives of an Irish businessman, an American doctor and an English widower thrown together as hostages in the same cell.  Cleverly, he doesn’t get bogged down in religion, politics or motives.  Instead he focuses on the men’s day-to-day living, their nationality clashes, the longing for home and freedom and, above all, the ‘games’ they play to keep sane through unimaginable boredom.

First performed in 1992 during the hostage-taking era in Beirut, this play is still as pertinent today as it was then.  Hostages are still being taken all over the world.

So how would you cope with the shock and fear of being scooped up from the street in the middle of a shopping trip?  What ‘fun’ would we make for ourselves inside our cell to stop madness?

If you want to see how McGuinness’s hostages survive, join us at The Playhouse.

19 - 23 October 2010 at 7.30pm
The Playhouse Theatre, Clare Street, Northampton

Page last updated: 11/04/2012 Masque Theatre © 2012

by Jan Stoppani

Inspired by events surrounding journalists John McCarthy’s and Brian Keenan’s abductions in Beirut in the late ‘80s, ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ is a moving, yet at times, hilarious, piece of writing by Frank McGuinness. The confined space of the Playhouse stage and Derek Banyard’s realistic set created the ideal claustrophobic cell for the incarceration of the hostages. Light and sound work from Martin Williams, Bernie Wood and Kate Billingham enabled one to lose all sense of time in a place which saw neither day nor night. You were aware of the oppressive heat and could imagine the sinister world outside.

To begin with, Adam (an American doctor), Edward (an Irish journalist) and Michael (a lecturer in Medieval English) are unlikely companions and relationships in their cell are strained by cultural differences and, early on, only shackles prevent them from striking each other in response to their prejudicial verbal sparring. However, captivity becomes a great leveller as they battle boredom and fear and they begin to rely on each other’s company to maintain their sanity and keep spirits high.

We had excellent and emotionally draining performances from all three actors; Richard Jordan as Adam, sympathetic and seemingly the more stable of the three, who gains comfort and strength from his poignant comparison of the Koran and Bible; newcomer David Mander, as the angry Edward, who relives football matches and horse races, and gave us one of the many moving moments of the play as he writes an imaginary letter to his wife; and a debut for Masque from William Portch as the “sanctimonious prig”  Michael, who made us laugh and cry as he spoke about his relationship with his mother and his late wife. Director Pat Bancroft used the well-written script to create the micro political dynamics between the three, making it a memorable start to the season.

Weeks later, Portch’s re-enactment of the 1977 Wimbledon’s Women’s Final and his Christmas rendition of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang’ are still rattling around in my head as is the vodka-martini mirage and Portch and Manders’ comic yet tragic impersonations of rabbits on the first of the month.

Speak to anyone who went to see the production and they will tell you how much they enjoyed it, followed by a look of slight embarrassment as if enjoyment wasn’t quite the right word and what they had really meant was the evening had left them moved by a powerful and thought-provoking piece of theatre which gave them the opportunity to think about how they would remain sane under such harrowing circumstances.

A scene from Someone Who'll Watch Over Me