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South Shields playwright’s Miss Marple-themed show wows New York

PREVIOUS SUCCESS ...Philip Meeks collects his Fringe First Award for Kiss Me Honey, Honey in 2013. Pictured with Karen Koren, who established famous Fringe venue The Gilded Balloon.

PREVIOUS SUCCESS ...Philip Meeks collects his Fringe First Award for Kiss Me Honey, Honey in 2013. Pictured with Karen Koren, who established famous Fringe venue The Gilded Balloon.

A SOUTH Shields playwright has taken a bite out of the Big Apple.

Philip Meeks has been spending time in New York City as one of his plays enjoyed a sell-out run on the Fringe NYC.

Murder, Marvellous and Me – formerly called Murder, Marple and Me – ran at the festival for two-and-a-half weeks after being one of 200 shows hand-picked from 2,000 applicants.

The one-woman show, starring Janet Price, tells the story of Margaret Rutherford, who was made famous by her movie portrayals of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.

It focuses on how Rutherford almost didn’t get the part, and her peculiar lifestyle.

Philip said: “My producer applied for a spot on the Fringe and we were chosen from about 2,000 applicants.

“We sold out before we’d even opened, I think, because the story just captures people’s imaginations.

“You know you’re on to a winner when it’s a good story, but Americans are essentially Anglophiles, especially New Yorkers. They love anything that is quintessentially English.

“It was really good to be there and to see people queuing for tickets. We were in the New York Times too and we had a wonderful review in the paper as well.

“It was syndicated all over the country and it was quite strange to think of people in San Francisco sitting reading their Daily Bugle, or whatever it is, and reading my name.”

Now back in the country, Philip is working with director Damian Cruden to re-work the play into a three-hander for a run at the York Theatre Royal.

Philip added: “The reaction in America has strengthened the show and it was optioned by the York Theatre Royal. We’re going to do a workshop for it soon and develop it into a three-hander.”

Meanwhile, another of Philip’s plays, Keeping Up With The Joans, opened last night at Greenwich Theatre, in London.

It

It stars Bouquet of Barbed Wire’s Susan Penhaligon and Doctor Who’s Katy Manning as a pair of retired amateur actresses who are reunited in a care home.

Zillah Mint and Kitty Feathers both played the title role in George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan and one of them received a rave review from a famous critic – but neither of them can remember who played Joan that night.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki

 

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