Kiss Me Like You Mean It

Written by Chris Chibnall

Tuesday 20th September to Saturday 24th September 2011

Directed by Callum West

It's 3am and the party inside is just coming to an end. However, this is where Tony and Ruth have their first encounter and the magic follows from there. Meanwhile, upstairs, Don and Edie are having a party of their own! This fantastic romantic-comedy was written by one of the lead writers of 'Life on Mars', 'Torchwood' & 'Dr. Who', Chris Chibnall. The story follows these two couples through the early morning to sunrise, showing just what the true meaning of love is...

Contains adult themes and strong language.

AuthorChris Chibnall

Chris Chibnall

Writer and producer Chris Chibnall's TV credits include 'Born and Bred', 'Life on Mars', Doctor Who', 'Law & Order UK' and he has been the lead writer and a producer on the series 'Torchwood'. As a playwright his works include 'Kiss Me Like You Mean It', 'Best Daze' and the football-themed 'Gaffer'. He was also Writer In Residence for 3 years with GRiP Theatre Company.

Raised in Lancashire, Chibnall studied drama at St Mary's University College in Strawberry Hill, subsequently gaining an MA in Theatre and Film from the University of Sheffield. Chibnall's first short play was produced as part of Contact Theatre's Young Playwright's Festival in 1988, directed by Lawrence Till. While studying at college, he wrote two plays which were performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His early career included work as a football archivist and floor manager for Sky Sports, before leaving to work as an administrator for various theatre companies. From 1996 to 1999 he worked as administrator with the experimental theatre company Complicite (where he met his wife Madeline) before leaving to become a full-time writer.

PlayKiss Me Like You Mean It

'Kiss Me Like You Mean It' was written as a result of Chibnall's attachment at the Royal National Theatre Studio in 1999 which was followed by a year-long attachment to Soho Theatre in 2000. The play was first produced at Soho Theatre and was shortlisted for the Meyer-Whitworth Award.

It is set on a hot Manchester midsummer night, with two contrasting couples: a young one just discovering love and an old one expressing its fulfilment. Gauche Tony meets wary Ruth in the garden of a Victorian terraced house in the course of a drunken party. Both have unseen partners but are drawn inexorably to each other. Meanwhile, the pensionable Edie and Don are having rampant sex on the ledge of an upstairs window like a rutting Darby and Joan. What transpires between the two couples is the story of what it means to be in love.

The Bench Production

Kiss Me Like You Mean It poster image

This play was staged at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre (formerly Havant Arts Centre), East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.


TonyDan Finch
RuthRosie Carter
DonPete Woodward
EdieSally Hartley


Director Callum West
Producer Mark Wakeman
Stage Manager Julie Wood
Assistant Stage Manager Jaspar Utley
Lighting Operation Jeff Bone
Sound Operation Maurice Lillie
Set Design Kevin West
Set Construction Kevin West and cast
Poster and Flier Design Dan Finch
Programme Editor Mark Wakeman
Front of House Manager Gina Farmer

Director's Notes

I hate writing director's notes. No matter what I write it always seems pretentious. So I'll try to keep this one simple and from the heart.

I love this play. Plain and simple. It's been my favourite play since I first came across it 4 years ago at a drama school audition. This guy got up and performed Tony's speech from the first act, and I immediately knew I wanted to use the piece myself. So I asked him what the play was, and I went straight home and ordered myself a copy. To my surprise, the entire play was spectacular, and seemed to define exactly the kind of thing I wanted to perform. Something with true depth and understanding of human emotion. It has an opportunity for everyone in the cast to really show how fantastic they can be. I personally think this cast has taken that to a new level.

The play is in no means perfect. After reading it several times over, I've kept changing my mind about how realistic it is. To coin a phrase, I am somewhat of an incurable romantic. I like to imagine that the play is perfectly reasonable as a portrayal of real life. But some might disagree. However I'd argue that it is a romantic play, and therefore has a romantic look on just what is possible. If someone has the guts and the personality to attempt something different, then who's to say it's wrong? If everyone followed the normal ways of romanticising their chosen, then we'd be a pretty boring species. So I find it perfectly feasible that given the right circumstances, that things like this might happen. I hope you do too.

I am very glad that I was given the opportunity to direct this play with Bench. I knew when I first saw my first Bench production that I wanted to join their ranks. It was the obvious next step, and I've always wanted to be a director. I was lucky enough to get the chance to direct last year with another group, and the Bench allowed me to take on a one act piece for Supernova 5 and the Totton Drama Festival last year. But I knew I wanted a main slot, and that this was the piece I wanted to do. It took a while to convince the company though. I in fact pitched this play on 3 separate occasions to them, but I stupidly tried to keep the ending a secret. On my final attempt, I finally let on the ending and just how brilliant the second half was as well. They eventually agreed, and here we are.

Finally, I'd like to say a quick thank you to all those at Bench, especially those who have supported me constantly with this production. To everyone who auditioned, you made it a spectacularly difficult job to try and pick a cast. My cast and crew who have been just outstanding with their constant hard work and helpfulness, going with the flow and trusting in me. It means a lot. To my parents, especially my dad, who has been so supportive and helpful in the process. And lastly, to you, the paying public who come along to support not only this show, but so many others. Without you, the last 3 months would be pointless. Please continue to support local amateur performances.

Thank you for reading my stream of thoughts,

Callum West


Daily EchoKaren Robson

Kiss Me Like You Mean It at Bench Theatre, The Spring Arts, Havant

For his debut production at Bench Theatre director Callum West has chosen this funny, tender and extremely touching play by Chris Chibnall. It follows two very different couples partying on the same night: Tony and Ruth, who meet for the first time at the party, and upstairs residents Don and Edie, who have been together for fifty years.

The piece captures perfectly the fragile uncertainty of first meetings and the comfortable familiarity born from years spent together. Callum West has rendered the tone and pacing of the play, shifting the mood from light to darker, hilarious to heartbreaking, with great precision. He is aided by a fantastic cast who have created such real and believable characters that it becomes easy to forget they are acting.

The play is blessed with some fine dialogue and the speeches made by Tony in act 1 and by Edie in act 2 were outstanding moments. Never has bad language been used to such comic effect.This is a worthy addition to the Bench Theatre repetoire.

Daily Echo, 28th September 2011

Remote GoatJill Lawrie

Kiss Me Like You Mean It

An amusing dark romantic comedy

Callum West is making his directorial debut with Bench Theatre choosing a piece he first discovered 4 years ago at a drama school audition, Chris Chibnall's first full length play "Kiss Me Like You Mean It". Chibnall has recently had considerable success with his TV scripts which range from period drama to science fiction. This particular play touches upon frustration and disappointment sandwiched between romance and dark comedy.

Tony and Ruth meet for the first time in a backyard at 3.0am, both seeking respite from a drink-sodden party. Hesitant communication begins between the two of them and as the conversation flows it emerges that Tony has had testicular cancer and Ruth is wavering on accepting a proposal of marriage from her partner of 5 years. At an upstairs window silhouetted figures of Don and Edie are seen cavorting ecstatically, but they secretly hide a tragic scenario. One love affair beginning and the other about to extinguish.

This theatre company contains many multi talented members and Bench stalwart Peter Woodward, in this production, commands the stage, excelling as the seductive and beguiling salesman Don. He gives a memorable performance firstly as the sexy pensioner and later as he faces the final plaintive moments with his beloved wife Edie. Ruth is charismatically played by Rosie Carter convincingly moving from her initial aggression to showing a sensitive tenderness as the drama unfolds. Dan Finch (Tony) takes on the role of the cautions timid young man fast falling in love with the feisty Ruth, and arouses a sympathetic sensuality to his character. Last of the quartet is Sally Hartley playing the winsome and bustling Edie, and delights with her drink fuelled quiz!

A slow start but this well produced drama gathers pace as it progresses with an entertaining look at romance and enduring love. The controversial question of the morality of suicide pacts and mercy killing remains unanswered as the play draws to a close with the young couple watching the dawn break over the rooftops.

remotegoat, 23rd September 2011

Production Photographs