A Literary Cabaret

Written by Mark Wakeman, David Penrose and Lucy Flannery

Friday 25th September 2009

Directed by David Penrose

This series of specially written comedy songs and sketches has been created by members of Bench Theatre as a special production in aid of the 2009 Havant Literary Festival. Another chance to see some of the hilarious sketches form last year with a few new ones added for good measure.

AuthorVarious Authors

Mark Wakeman (b 1972)

Mark Wakeman is an amateur author, amateur playwright, amateur actor and an amateur director. He started writing short stories, at the age of 8 and spurred on by positive comments from a teacher, was inspired to write many more. It wasn't until he went to university, however that his writing achieved wider recognition when two of his situation comedy scripts (co-written with Neil Kendall) - 'The Quiet Life' and 'Helpline' were performed by the University of North London Theatre Society. The success of these two works led to a full-length thriller, 'Undue Aggravation' being taken to Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1995. Following university, he directed his own comedy 'Terror at Blagg Castle', which was produced by Goggles Theatre Company at Portsmouth Arts Centre in 1996, and Bench Theatre has produced several of his his one-act plays; 'The Unusual Suspects', 'Ice Station Zeros', 'Father for Justice', 'Lonesome Pine', 'Unworkable', 'The Big Freeze', 'Stand and Delivery' and 'The Girl in the Corner' for various 'Supernova' festivals of new writing since 2003.

His novels (as yet unpublished) include works in the detective, comedy, thriller, fantasy and sci-fi genres and he hopes to one-day see one of his screenplays for sit-coms, TV detectives or sci-fi/action-spy thrillers accepted by the BBC. As an actor, Mark Wakeman has been performing since he was at school. The first of many acting roles with Bench Theatre was Dr John Jobling in 'Martin Chuzzlewit' in 1990 and he frequently receives excellent reviews. He directed several one-act plays at University of North London Theatre Society and his first directing role with Bench Theatre was 'The Office Party' by John Godber in 1998. As a member of the Soop Theatre Company, he has performed improvisational comedy in their 'Dude, Where's My Script?' shows since 2008.

Wakeman won Best Original Play for 'Stand and Delivery' (2007) and The Madge and Stanley Williams trophy for Best Script for 'Father for Justice' (2009) both in the All-England Drama Festival. Since he joined Bench Theatre in 1990, he has been a member of both the Bench Committee and Artistic Panel, and was Editor of Bench Press for a number of years. Mark Wakeman currently has four cats and lives in Havant.

David Penrose (b 1950)

David Penrose is an amateur actor, designer, director and writer with Bench Theatre, where he has been a member since 1976.

David penned his first writing; revue sketches at Leeds University when he was an under-graduate. Apart from these, most of his writing has been adaptations for the stage of extant work. In 1980 he adapted 'The Brothers' and 'The Merchant', originally written by Plautus, both of which were staged by Bench Theatre in the open air at Fishbourne Roman Palace. He has adapted Martin Chuzzlewit (also performed by The Bench), compiled the 1981 musical revue 'The Only Way to Cross' and (together with Dik Bird) adapted the Bench production of 'A Frankenstein' which was taken to the Edinburgh Fridge Festival in 1982.

David's creative flair has been employed many times with Bench Theatre where he has been responsible for countless poster and set designs and he has occupied committee roles on many occasions - notably as Chair for five years - during his membership. As an actor, David's first Bench role was as Orlando in Ingrid Corrigan's production of 'As You Like It' in 1977. He appears regularly in Bench plays and reviews of his performances are consistently outstanding. He has won numerous acting awards including The News 'Guide' Awards and an All-England Theatre Festival Award. His directorial debut with Bench Theatre was 'The Philanthropist' in 1978. David was instrumental in the formation of the annual Havant Literary Festival in 2008 and continues to work with its organisation. He is also part of 'The News' theatre review team and his reviews of local productions appear regularly in print. David is currently Bench Archivist and lives in Havant with his wife Jacquie.

Lucy Flannery

Lucy has lived in Havant for over 30 years, and although she only joined the Bench in 2008, she has been coming to productions since the 1980s. The first Bench Production she saw was 'Hedda Gabler'. A keen theatre goer, she also frequently attends Chichester Festival Theatre and Spring productions whenever she can.

She has been a professional writer for over 20 years and has been published in a number of humorous magazines, including Punch. Her film and TV credits include episodes of 'Close to Home', 'The Two of Us', 'The Story of Tracy Beaker', and the 1994 film 'A Business Affair', (starring Christopher Walken, Jonathan Price and Sheila Hancock). Her radio series 'Rent' (which starred Patrick Barlow and Barbara Flynn) won the 1993 Writers' Guild Award for Best Radio Comedy and ran for 4 series on Radio 4, from 1993 to 1998.

Sketches and SongsA Literary Cabaret

The Great Escape by David Penrose

A bungled escape job has hilarious consequences.

Criminal Writing by Mark Wakeman

At a book festival, crime writers start taking liberties with their genre and quality writing suddenly takes a turn for the worse.

The Hound of the D'Urbervilles by Mark Wakeman

Alternative Endings to Great Novels: Jane Eyre by Mark Wakeman

Book Technology by David Penrose

It's medieval England and this new "book" technology has some of the older scroll-users flummoxed. If only the technology help-desk was actually helpful.

Enter The Librarian by Mark Wakeman

The rules of the library are taken to extreme as the customers (forbidden to talk or make a sound in the library) must act out the titles and plots of the books they want to borrow.

The Fear You Won't Fall

Song by Joshua Radin

The Word-a-Tron by Mark Wakeman

Alternative Endings to Great Novels: The Lord of The Rings by Mark Wakeman

The Other Dead Parrot by David Penrose

A twist on the classic sketch, an expert doesn't really know what he's talking about.

A Modern Corps Theatrical

Song by Lucy Flannery (after Gilbert and Sullivan)

Alternative Endings to Great Novels: Moby Dick by Mark Wakeman

Goal by Mark Wakeman

A truly literary team doesn't really have what it takes, when it comes to competing on the sports field.

The Bench Production

Havant Literary Festival Logo

This revue of songs and sketches was staged at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre (formerly Havant Arts Centre), East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977. The performance was given free of charge after the Friday evening Bench production of 'A Higher Education'.


Eat Your Words Cabaret CastNathan Chapman
Dan Finch
Kathryn Kendall
Jaspar Utley
Alice Corrigan
Sian Green
David Penrose
Mark Wakeman


Director David Penrose
Producer David Penrose