David Lloyd's Introduction
This was written by David Lloyd a.k.a. Graeme the Knight on Tuesday July 21st 1998.
"To all those asking about the Stage Show, here's a copy of a promotional blurb done when it was performed at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre in April 1996: MAID MARIAN AND HER MERRY MEN - The Musical Spellbound by ³Godspell²? In love with ³Aspects of Love²? Starry-eyed over ³Jesus Christ Superstar²? Then a word of warning...Maid Marian isn¹t like any of these shows. It¹s a fresh, funny, contemporary musical featuring the kind of music today¹s young people want to hear. Maid Marian is based on the multi award-winning TV series, but doesn¹t retread old ground or rely on the original TV cast for its appeal. (Apart from Tony Robinson, who co-wrote and co-directed it, so it¹s his ball and he said if he wasn¹t the star he¹d be taking it straight home and no-one else could play either. So there). The show features an ensemble company of all-singing, all-dancing, all-knackered-by-the-end-of-the-show performers, and is fresh, vibrant and different. When Maid Marian and her Merry Men first hit your TV screen, it was like no other kid¹s TV show, and the stage version takes a similarly fresh and irreverent approach to the cosy world of musical theatre.
Fed up with having to do yet another performance of Malcolm MacMillan¹s traditional production of that perennial family favourite ³Robin Hood and His Merry Men², the actors stop the show and decide to tell it how it really was; the story of Maid Marian and her Merry Men. Marian soon has the audience on her side, and MacMillan is forced to let her do things her way as the cast launch into their own up-tempo, improvised and very funny version of events. Marian and her rapidly assembled band of freedom fighters stand up for the rights of freedom, justice, democracy and the right to party in their fight against the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and his horrid henchperson, Susan who are terrorising the innocent and brain-dead villagers of Patchway. When the baddies make off with all the villagers clothes, Marian realises its time to act, and in a spectacular confrontation kills the evil Sheriff. Unfortunately the show has barely reached the interval, and as MacMillan needs the audiences ice cream money he is forced to assume the mantle of the new and even more evil Sheriff of Nottingham and start telling the story from his point of view. Thanks to the trickery of the Sheriff and the incompetence of Robin and the rest of the gang, Marian is tricked, outwitted, humiliated and eventually tied to a huge missile which is programmed to destroy Patchway...is this the end for Maid Marian and her Merry Men? Of course it isn¹t, but you¹ll have to come and see the show to find out exactly what happens at the end. The show was co-written by Tony Robinson, Mark Billingham and David Lloyd, with music by John O'Hara and Akintayo Akinbode."
Maid Marian And Her Merry Men- The Musical
By Tony Robinson, Mark Billingham and David Lloyd
Pustule: Grant Anthony
Whilst training at the Italia Conti Stage School in London, Grant performed on two Royal Variety Shows and a Tribute to Bernie Winters at the London Palladium. During this time he also appeared in the Brian Connolly Show, Aspects of Dance at the Hackney Empire, and Dick Whittington at the York Theatre Royal. Upon leaving stage school he joined the company of Starlight Express where he assumed a number of parts, including the lead roles of Rusty and Greaseball.
Thrush: Claire Cattini
Claire is 22, hails from Nottinghamshire and trained in her bedroom with a brush and a book on Overcoming being Northern in Showbusiness. recently Claire has worked alongside comics such as Billy Pearce and Joe Pasquale. Her first love is writing and recording, most recently David Essex Beauty and the Beast where she played the comical Ugly Sister. She once saw the CD in HMV. Her last job woz Princess in Aladdin/Manchester Palace (luvly!) so it’ll be nice to GET DOWN in Bristol.
Earwig: Donna Dandridge
Donna began her professional training at 16 on a two-year dance foundation course at Lewisham College. She left there and went on to further training at London Studio Centre, where she graduated in July. Her credits include playing the lead in the first episode of the new series of BBC1’s Casualty as Kelly Turpin; and as Sharon in The Bill. Donna is delighted to be working with Tony Robinson and Andy Hay at Bristol Old Vic.
Coldsore: Charlotte Eaton
Having recently graduated from the Court Theatre Training Company Charlotte’s credits include: Mother Goose (British tour); Insomnia in Goodnight Gilda at the Colour House Theatre; various roles in Rogues and Vagabonds at the King’s Head Theatre, Islington; and the Queen of Hearts in Alice at the Riverside Studios. Her Courtyard productions include: Bawd in Pericles; Herald in Marat/Sade; Nina in Nosferatu;; and Isabella in Court Comedia. Charlotte thinks it’s top to be working at the Bristol Old Vic.
Rabies: Alan Gear
Alan Gear (assembly Salford 1953) Master Patisserie chef turned actor/stained glass artist/shopkeeper )shop at the Royal Exchange in Manchester - under the theatre). Loads of TV, loads of commercials, loads of theatre and the odd film. Last appeared at the Bristol Old Vic in 1994 playing Sadie in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Currently making fitness video for the fuller figure.
Barrington: Kwame Kwei-Armah (Yes he's from casualty!!)
Kwame’s glad to be back with his old pal Andy Hay after all this time (hint, hint). With Andy at Bolton: In The Midnight Hour, Choo Choo Cha Boogie and Cricket at Camp David. Kwame has done lots of rep and his West End credits include Blues Brothers (Whitehall Theatre), Carmen Jones (Old Vic), Elegies (Criterion), and Waiting (Sadler’s Wells). His face should be bobbing about in the new Geena Davis movie Cutthroat Island as well as in The Knock and The Gambler on LWT.
Robin Hood: Damien Matthews
Damien left the BOV Theatre School in May ‘94 to play Stuff in Richard Eyre’s production of Sweet Bird of Youth at the National Theatre. Other theatre credits include Tom in The Glass Menagerie (Plymouth), The Gentle Hook (Thorndike, Leatherhead), Robbie in Stags and Hens (Edinburgh Fringe), Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (BOVTS West Country Tour) and most recently Stephen Flowers in Privates on Parade (Greenwich Theatre and tour). Radio: The Bristol Flyer. Television: Drummonds (LWT) and Charlie in John Sullivan’s Over Here.
Maid Marian: Penny Layden
Penny trained at Rose Bruford College. Since graduating in 1991 companies worked for include: New Vic, Stoke - three seasons, Manchester Library, Polka Theatre and Major Road Theatre Co. More recently she played Cathy in What I Did in The Holidays, directed by Mike Alfreds, and Sarah in Wink Productions’ The Art of Random Whistling at the Young Vic. She has just completed her fourth BBC Radio 4 play, playing Emily in Uganda, to be aired in April.
The Sheriff Of Nottingham: Mark Billingham
Mark is an actor, writer and half of the stand-up comedy duo The Tracy Brothers. He created the role of Gary in Maid Marian and her Merry Men, and worked as a writer with Tony Robinson and David Lloyd on the TV, film and stage versions. The first non-rubber actor to appear on screen in Spitting Image, he also wrote and presented the award-winning BBC music series What’s That Noise? He lives in London with his wife Claire and baby Katharine. Mark supports Wolverhampton Wanderers and has an extensive collection of hats.
Mad Bloke: Kevin McCurdy
Trained at the Welsh College of Music and Drama and graduated in 1991. Since leaving he has appeared as Benvolio and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet at Plymouth and Wolverhampton; Fabian in Twelth Night at the Library Theatre, Manchester; George in A Raisin in the Sun, Manchester; Touchwood in UK/USA tour Touchwood. TV appearances include Family Pride, Central TV; Blue Heaven, Channel 4; Sharman,Carlton TV.
Susan: Nicola Reynolds
After facing a choice of school or Borstal, Nicola was educated in a convent, enduring a daily diet of physical and mental torture. This initial grounding led her to become an actress. After a spell with National Youth Theatre, Wales, she trained at the Welsh College of Music and Drama and since graduating last summer has worked at Bolton Octagon and recently nicked Jim McDonald in Coronation Street. Nicola likes bubble wrap and has an imaginary friend called Ariel.
Mr MacMillan: Tony Robinson
Zeus looked down upon London. He beheld a young maiden named Phyllis Robinson, and she pleased his eye. ‘Hmmm! She may be afeared, for I am a Great God’, he thought, and donned the guise of a seller of milk and did visit her. And her heart leapt at his crate of red-top, and he went in with her and they did dally together. And lo! A child was born and his name was Tony Robinson, and he walked upon the earth and dug up antiques in a lively and entertaining fashion.
John is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music. Work includes: Halle Orchestra, R.L.P.O., Rambert Dance Co., Lindsay Kemp, Gavin Brayars Ensemble, Kalengo Percussion Ensemble. As well as four years at the BOV, John has worked for the Royal Exchange, the National, and as Musical Director on Morte d’Arthur at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith. More recently orchestrated and arranged Calamity Jane and M.D for No Trains to Lime Street at Liverpool Playhouse.
Tayo lives in Manchester, in picturesque Withington. He has written for many companies around the country, including Bristol Old Vic, The Royal Exchange, Sheffield Crucible, Bolton Octagon, Avon Touring, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Contact and the BBC. Most recently he wrote music for Chester Gateway’s Once Upon A Time, and will be seen as the presenter of Stop Look Listen on Channel 4 in autumn 1996. More important than all this, Tayo has a four year old son called Remi and is well chuffed.
For BOV: Stone Free (1994 & ‘95). Kit’s diverse musical talents have made him one of the busiest session players in the region. At thirteen, he worked regularly with club bands, and has since played for many household names - Billy J Kramer, Guys and Dolls, Lulu, Vince Hill, Wall Street Crash, Michel Barrymore - the list is endless. He has been heard on dozens of TV themes and countless radio broadcasts, and can be seen locally playing anything from jazz through to heavy metal.
All the other parts are played by the same actors in different hats.
Directed by: Andrew Hay and Tony Robinson
Andrew’s wide experience in contemporary theatre began as an actor and musician. He has been Associate Director at Nottingham Playhouse, Artistic Director at Bolton Octagon and, since November 1991, Artistic Director at BOV, where the productions include Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and Twelth Night; the regional premiere of Jim Cartwright’s Rise and Fall of Little Voice; and world premieres of Trevor Griffiths’ Thatcher’s Children, Jim Cartwright’s Stone Free, David Goodland’s Life and Death of a Buffalo Soldier and two plays by Catherine Johnson, Too Much Too Young, and Renegades.
Set Designed by: Mick Bearwish
Mick is mentioned in the Domesday Book and learned his craft while touring in the Middle East with ENSA during the Third Crusade. His work includes Knight of the Iguana, Saladin Days, The Mystery of Edwin Druid, Under Sher Wood, The Bow Stratagem and No Sex Please, We’re Normans. His hobbies include impersonating Tony Robinson, claiming to have made four episodes of Blackadder without anyone noticing.
Costumes designed by: Sue Mayes
Sue trained at Central School of Art and Design and began her career at Ipswich Rep. She was then resident at Coventry Belgrade TIE, Contact Theatre, Manchester and Liverpool Everyman. A long freelance career has included work for Sheffield Crucible, Traverse Edinburgh, New Victoria Stoke on Trent and Talawa Theatre Company. Her most recent designs were Waterfall for Moving Theatre at the Riverside, A Yearning for Tamasha Theatre Company and Jack and the Beanstalk at Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Music composed and directed by: John O’Hara and Akintayo Akinbode
Choreography by: Kirsty Davide
Kirsty was recently seen on Inside Story with Upside Down whom she had personally trained and choreographed. Other credits include Sean Maguire (choreographing and directing his two UK tours); Eternal (Brit Awards); Michelle Gayle (UK tour, including ‘Freedom’ and ‘Sweetness’); Jinny, Pauline Henry, Darren Day and West End. Kirsty was assistant to renowned choreographer Jeff Richer. Televison credits include: Michael Barrymore series, Laughter Show series, Marti Caine Special, Laurence Olivier Awards, Bruce Forsyth & Ronnie Corbett and Les Dennis Special.
Lighting designed by: Tim Streader
Chief Electrician for the Bristol Old Vic, where he has designed the lighting for many shows, including most of the BOV’s recent Theatre Royal productions. Tim is also co-author of a book called Create Your Own Stage Lighting.
Sound designed by: Matthew Valentine
Deputy Electrician at BOV, where work includes Neville’s Island, Translations, Renegades, Dick Whittington, Much Ado About Nothing. Trained: Lincoln College and LAMDA. Professional experience includes work for Theatre Roayl Lincoln, Theatre Mafia, Great Eastern Stage, Thorndike Theatre Leatherhead, Edinburgh Festival, Wexford Opera Festival, an international tour of Anna Karenina, and two years as Sound Technician at the Nuffield Theatre Southampton.
Company Stage Manager: Ali Henry
Stage Manager: Maxine Kenny
Deputy Stage Manager: Niki Ewen
Assistant Stage Managers: Nik Haffenden/Hainy Davies
Programme written by: Mark Billingham with a big crayon, and Tony Robinson with a smaller but perfectly formed one.
(Keith, these also featured in the programme, the first one I couldn’t fit in elsewhere, but the rest were put in as a joke)
David Lloyd (Writer)
As an actor, David has appeared in loads of TV shows, including Casualty, Eastenders, Brookside, Bottom, The New Statesman, The Young Ones, and of course as Graeme in Maid Marian and her Merry Men. David has written the stage, TV and film versions of Maid Marian, as well as Harry’s MAd, Viva la Diva, Musical Tables, Home James and other stuff. He lives in Bristol and enjoys watching Bristol City and eating curry, both of which have a similar effect on his digestive system.
Cousin of George and daughter of the late great Nat ‘King’ Cole, Stephanie is best known as the cantankerous old bat in One Foot In The Grave. No, hang on, it’s that other one...God there are so many sitcoms about crusties these days that you lose track, don’t you! Oh yes, Waiting for God, that’s it. By Samuel Beckett. Stephanie is not in this production.
This is Alison’s first professional acting job. She met producer Andy Hay last summer on a Club 18-30 holiday in southern Turkey and he was immediately struck by her enourmous talent. Alison is looking forward to her next engagement, at Spud-U-Like, Knowle West.
Dame Jane is one of the most established actresses of her generation. She has won countless awards for her work at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre and the Royal BBC. She is unable to take part in thsi production as she is currently presenting The Big Breakfast and playing the part of Fifi, the French maid, in Whoops Vicar, Is That You Church Spire? at the Comedy Theatre
Tim’s impressive list of credits includes The Lst Days of teh Raj, India, Mya India, Bombayside, Keep That Upper Lip Stiff Punkahwallah! and a whole lot of other stuff where he wears a nice tight-fitting uniform. He’s not in this production at all - despite a stream of begging letters and an offer of a substantial sum of money from his agent.
Tim played Churchill in Churchill, Churchill in The Churchill Years and Old Pappy Chruchill in Son of Churchill. He has also played a host of other bkunt, bald caharcters with cigars. Though he very much wanted to be part of the Maid Marian ensemble, Pru said he couldn’t because he had to stay in and wait for an extensive delivery from Tesco’s.