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The Play

Set in North London bedsit land, in this gritty black comedy, two women and a man form a dangerous love triangle while trying to hide the truth from themselves and each other. A compelling and very funny play about self-delusion, addiction and suppressed sexuality.

The cost of a packet of fags, a bottle of vodka and a sofa to kip on rockets to Machiavellian proportions. Can Thatcher be blamed for everything? This thunderous black comedy plumbs the depths of bad taste and the height of camp noir melodrama.

Penny lurches from one inane thought to the next, painfully trying to fill the void of her pointless life. Tony, the failed poet, clinically depressed, weak willed and esperately addicted to the drink. Joan a bitter, broken down something in the city, her brain addled with cocaine and morbid childhood memories. All three attempting petty deceits in a scramble for advantage.

“The Royle Family” meets “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane”

Jim Madden – The Playright/ Director

Jim Madden was born in County Limerick, Ireland. Since moving to London he has written three successful short plays that were performed as part of Take Two at the Canal Café Theatre last year: So Bloody Important, performed off Broadway.

His last production of Artist’s Model at Bristol Old Vic & Komedia Brighton received critical acclaim. His short film: The Snatching of Bookie Bob, starring Rod Steiger, was recently premiered at Planet Hollywood

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2000

Author Alison Freebalm
PublicationThe Stage
Date August 24, 2000
Venue Southside

Flatshare comedies will never be the same again. Writer and director Jim Madden’s new play is up front and blackly humorous, but it leaves a very nasty aftertaste.
Sarah Mann is astonishing as the hyperactive and frustrated Penny. She invites alcoholic writer Tony (Michael D’Cruze) to stay, and proceeds to batter him with endless babbling sentences and to make crude attempts to control him.
Penny’s flatmate – soon to be revealed as her similarly psychotic sister – is the viperfish Joan (Stephanie Prince), who sees Tony as the weapon that will break her weird sibling once and for all.
D’Cruze has the heavy-lidded lushness of Serge Gainsbourg and a tangible air of danger about him. He is quietly wonderful in the role of Tony, who crystallises the unsavoury emotions and machinations of the sisters.
There’s nothing subtle about this production. ‘Good’ sister Penny wears white, ‘bad’ sister Joan is dressed in black, vodka boy Tony’s clothing is dark grey. And the acting is knowingly melodramatic, with Prince in particular stopping barely short of foaming at the mouth.

The Nuffield, Southampton

Author: Andrew White
Publication: Southern Daily Echo
Date: March 21st 2001

Mental illness is a common theme in drama, but it can also make for winning comedy.
Writer-director Jim Madden gets to grips with one of Western society’s few remaining taboos and leaves political correctness quietly exiting by the back door.
There may be hardly any plot to speak of. However, this is one of the most delightfully inconsequential plays I have seen in a long time.
Michael D’Cruze is the unwitting homeless man who, having just been sent packing from a psychiatric institute lands up on the sofa of a North London flat – whose inmates turn out to be far more certifiable than him.
The joy of the play is in its brilliant dialogue.
Until Saturday.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2001

Venue Komedia Roman Eagle lodge (21), 2 Johnstone Terrace
Reviewer Garry Platt

‘I Know What You Want’ was a big hit on the Fringe last year and the piece has been reprised for the benefit of theatre audiences who want to see it again or missed it the last time. I’m not sure I agree with repeats, in some ways it doesn’t seem in keeping with the spirit of the fringe which is essentially about new and fresh pieces of work, revolution or evolution. This production is virtually the same as last year’s.

That said the work is excellent and it’s obvious why the show won 5 stars during its previous run. Sarah Mann captures the very wacky and weird character of Penny superbly and the little flashes of ice-cold terror that swim beneath that dotty exterior and break to the surface occasionally are startling. Jim Madden, the unreformed alcoholic and professional sponger delivers a well-studied bumbling delivery. Lorna Ford as Joan is every inch the She Bitch Queen Yuppy who’s clearly lost her way but can’t admit it either to herself or her flat mates, though mates is hardly the word to describe these three characters.

A worthy play delivered by a more than excellent cast. Worth seeing if only for the fantastically lurid green set Robert Palfrey the set designer has put together. Please tell me no one actually lives with that sort of colour scheme?

Bath Fringe Festival 2001

Author: John Christopher Wood
Publication: Venue
Date: 22 June – 6 July 2001
Venue: The Rondo

But my favourite show this year (modesty requires me to draw a veil over ‘An Evening With Sir Cliff Richard and John Selwyn Gummer’ by John Christopher Wood at The Rondo) was Incisor Theatre’s ‘I Know What You Want’. This three-handed comedy, about two strange sisters who invite a forlorn and broke writer to stay in their flat, developed superbly, layer on layer, as more and more was revealed about each character’s strangeness, not least their sexual proclivities. Wonderful, confident, versatile performances, tight direction and a carefully crafted script brought the production to peaks of comic frenzy. More, please.