Thomas Middleton's Jacobean 'city comedy', A Mad World My Masters, was Sean Foley's debut for us in 2013.
A Mad World My Masters is an outrageously wicked, brilliantly plotted farcical satire of lies and lust.
Sean Foley set the play in London, Soho... 1956. It’s a place where glamour rubs up against filth, and likes it; where the posh mix with musicians, whores and racketeers; where 'virginity is no city trade', and where a dashingly impecunious bachelor in need of quick cash and a good time has to live on his wits.
Turning con-man to fool his rich uncle, he variously becomes a lord, a high class call girl, and – God forbid – a poor actor. But a beautiful Soho tart is also on the scam: a whore to some, a religious instructor to others, and a debutante in need of an eligible bachelor to yet more...
Joe Bannister – Waiter/Servant/A Local
Ellie Beaven - Mrs Littledick
Ishia Bennison - Mrs Kidman
Ben Deery - Sponger
Richard Durden - Spunky
Richard Goulding - Dick Follywit
John Hopkins - Penitent Brothel
Linda John Pierre - Jazz Singer
Gwilym Lloyd - Caretaker/Sir Aquitaine Squodge
Harry Mcentire - Oboe
Perry Millward - Waiter/Rent Boy
Ciarán Owens - Master Whopping Prospect
Nicholas Prasad - Master Muchly Minted
Ian Redford - Sir Bounteous Peersucker
Rose Reynolds - Escort/Prostitute
Steffan Rhodri - Mr Littledick
Sarah Ridgeway - Truly Kidman
David Rubin - Private Detective/Sir Skunknodger
Badria Timimi – Waitress/Prostitute/Servant
Deborah Tracey - Jazz Singer
Dwane Walcott - Constable
Jonny Weldon - Waiter/Servant/A Local
Director - Sean Foley
Designer - Alice Power
Lighting - James Farncombe
Music & Sound - Ben and Max Ringham
Choreographer - Kate Prince
Fights - Alison de Burgh
Synopsis - A Mad World My Masters
The year is 1956. The war is over and the class system is breaking down. Lords and prostitutes mingle in the alleys. Jive and jazz fill the clubs of London's West End and none more so than Soho's infamous Flamingo Club.
Amidst the grit, grime and glamour, charming, cash-strapped bachelor Richard Follywit is out for all he can steal. The target? His rich, disapproving uncle Sir Bounteous Peersucker.
Follywit and his friends, disguised as 'Lord Owemuch' and cohorts, set out on an extravagant plan to trick as much money out of his unwitting uncle as possible. But Follywit's tricks and robberies don't always end as planned.
Meanwhile Mr Penitent Brothel just can't get the beautiful Mrs Littledick out his head. He decides he must have her. Unfortunately her extremely jealous husband stands in the way. With the help of Miss Truly Kidman (a prostitute and Sir Bounteous' mistress) Penitent Brothel concocts a cunning ruse to free Mrs Littledick from her husband and get her all to himself.
Dressed as a nun, Miss Kidman becomes Mrs Littledick's companion and moral guidance, promising to teach her the benefits of chastity and the dangers of adultery, much to her husband's approval. In reality, Miss Kidman schools Mrs Littledick in the art of seeming chaste while conducting an affair. The stage seems set for Penitent Brothel to finally have Mrs Littledick for himself. But as events develop he has to wonder if that is what he really wanted after all.
With characters mingling to create a mad, filthy mix of drunk lords, prostitutes, down-and-outs and cheats, events come to a head in the play's final act; a party at Sir Bounteous's manor. Here Richard Follywit pulls off his most audacious trick yet, Penitent Brothel is forced to face up to the consequences of his actions and, dressed up and drunk, Sir Bounteous finally gets the last laugh.
Building the set
A key part of the set for A Mad World My Masters is the truck. This is a moving piece of scenery with four sides, which is turned around, to represent four different locations: Sir Bounteous Peersucker's hallway, the front door to the Littledick's house, the entrance to the Flamingo Club and the Mocha Café.
The model of the truck is taken from the model box. Built by the designer, Alice Power, the model box is a scaled down model of the set which our workshops then use to build the set itself.