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Local Playwrights Success on Rugby Stage

Local playwrights Nick Marsh and Wendy Goulstone saw their work brought to life on the Rugby stage before a live audience recently. As part of a new initiative by The Rugby Theatre and Black Box Productions, their short plays were chosen to be performed on stage. The results being a great evening’s entertainment.

Review by Ann Evans.


Writer of 'Uncle Eric' Nick Marsh. Photo by Martin Pulley.


Firstly came Nick Marsh’s powerful story – Uncle Eric, directed by Debbie Hibberd, which was set in East Germany in the 1960s and told of the return of a prisoner of war, Eric (Ashley Hirons), long presumed dead. His return into the lives of his only surviving relatives – his sister-in-law Hildegarde (Jill Dwyer) and his niece Hannahlore Isabelle Meede) is fraught with tension.

The two actors do an excellent job in showing the awkwardness between two people who last met at Hildegarde’s wedding to his brother some 18 or so years ago. Now Hildegarde has a secret and a terrible past that she doesn’t want Eric to know of.

But secrets do come out and Eric is on the verge of leaving when 16-year-old Hannahlore bursts in – full of energy and excitement at meeting the uncle she has never known. No spoilers, as I’m sure audiences will get the opportunity of seeing this play again at some point, but the ending brings the happiness they all deserve.

Great writing by Nick Marsh – a powerful storyline, that keeps the audience gripped, and I’m sure the audience would love to see more plays by this writer.


Author of 'On The Train' Wendy Goulstone. Photo by Martin Pulley.

Next came On the Train, written by Wendy Goulstone and directed by Dean Marshall. Another great piece of writing by local author, Wendy. This was set on a busy Avanti West Coast train service from Rugby to Birmingham New Street with a variety of passengers getting on and off as well as the ticket collector and train cleaner.

This was such a clever insight into the hidden lives of passengers, as we see and hear their innermost thoughts as different people are spotlighted, and the other carriage occupants fade into the background.

All credit to the Rugby theatre lighting and sound crew, and of course the directing and stage management.  Not forgetting, of course, the actors.  And while the first play had just three cast members, this busy train journey saw a cast of 8 actors taking on the roles of 14 characters – through quick changes of costume, luggage and personalities! Amongst them was our other author of the night Nick Marsh!


Another fabulous piece of entertainment for the audience that brought in lots of comedy as well as some sadness as we learnt of the passengers’ deepest thoughts. I have to mention also the beautiful style of Wendy Goulstone’s writing, that had a poetic rhythm making it a real joy to listen to.


Loved both plays. Well done to Black Box Productions and The Rugby Theatre for giving new local writing talent the opportunity to shine. Let's have more!


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