Double Acts by John Finnemore , writer of Cabin Pressure and star of Miranda, was a series of radio comedies produced for BBC Radio 4. It is an anthology series of unconnected, and some connected, two-handers. The first series of six episodes was broadcast in 2015. A second series was broadcast in 2017.
Each episode features only two main speaking parts and is a self-contained play, although some of them are loosely connected.
The story so far –
In 2015, whilst on tour, a chance conversation in a car about a little radio play involving an unusual burglar was the beginning of a project that would span a further three years. But we couldn’t remember the name of the play, and so had no way to find out anything more about it.
Then in 2016 I made further investigations through direct contact with the BBC, and discovered its name Red Handed, chapter 3 of a radio series called Double Acts. In 2017, we were finally able to present Red Handed as a live-action studio production for the first time ever, a world premiere. It was a sell-out hit, John himself came to see it and gave it his approval. A year later it was revived for the Welwyn Drama Festival and won three awards.
Following its success and with John’s blessing I proposed a new idea; to stage a bigger, bolder, brighter production, a double-header featuring Wysinnwyg & Hot Desk (chapters 2- 6 of the series), both of which having direct connections to Red Handed. Double the plays, double the characters, double the fun, in 2018 Double Acts was born and enjoyed another sell-out run.
So that brings us to now, and what all of this has been building to…putting on all three plays in a row – Wysinnwyg, Red Handed and Hot Desk, in one big production. Six characters, three stories, all connected and very, very funny.
About the plays –
In Wysinnwyg, Kerry’s first day in the Sales Support Department of Willard & Son Bath Suppliers – where she meets her new colleague Joel, and her horrific new boss Adele for the very first time. Adele is bossy/patronising/ruthless, she thinks she is the boss of everybody who works with her, and she thinks she is clever and manipulative, when really, she is all talk. At first, Kerry allows Adele to push her around and make ridiculous demands of her, but is there more to Kerry than meets the eye?
In Red Handed, Joel comes home unexpectedly early from work one day to find an unusual visitor in the shape of Henry, an older gentleman dressed in a suit…who just happens to be burgling Joel’s house. Henry is charming/suave/well-spoken, on the surface he seems perfectly pleasance and reasonable, but he has always got something up his sleeve, and he’s always one step ahead of the hapless and naïve Joel…
In Hot Desk, at Willard & Son Bath Suppliers, for a few minutes, twice a day, at precisely seven in the morning and seven in the evening, receptionist Sarah and security guard Barnaby meet to swap ownership of a desk…which blossoms into an unusual relationship. Awkward romance at its funniest! Barnaby is unsure of himself and a hopeless romantic, he jumps to conclusions quickly and is not very good at talking to women, however he is adorably sweet and kind. Sarah is very similar to Barnaby in her ways but with slightly more confidence, she is very much the driving force in their relationship developing. If only she could get Barnaby to pluck up the courage to ask her out!