Who Was Hilary Maconochie?

by James Saunders

Who Was Hilary Maconochie? had 3 performances about 11 years ago (between the 15th of October 2009 and the 26th of July 2010) at Thameside Theatre and Riverside Arts Centre

This play is to be RDG's entry in the Woking and Spelthorne & Runnymede Drama Festival 2009.

James Saunders was one of Britain’s main exponents of the Theatre of the Absurd in the 1960s and later his works explored the limits of traditional theatre. He may be better known to some for his full length plays ”Next Time I’ll Sing to You” and “Bodies” or more recently on the festival circuit for “After Liverpool”. He was associated with the Questor’s Theatre in Ealing where “Who Was Hilary Maconochie??” was first performed in 1963. Since then it has proved popular both in fringe venues and festivals.

It is an absurdist farce set in the 1970s or perhaps any time. Who knows? It is much to do with memory and traditions. Mrs Brute and Mrs Drudge, two middle-aged widows, share afternoon tea and a game of strip poker. Through the interjections of the maid we learn much about Mrs Brute’s past; more than she cares to remember or admit.

A fun text, needing absolutely truthful playing and excellent comic timing.

As winner of the Spelthorne & Runnymede Festival, this production was invited to compete in the NDFA All-Winners Festival on July 26th. The adjudicator, Paul Fowler was effusive in his praise of every aspect of the production but the standard of the festival was exceptionally high and the production received no awards. However, nominations for The Amateur Theatre Trophy, the Adjudicator's discretionary award, were given for the excellent set and to Nicola Cutcliffe for her performance as the 'delicious' Hilda. A review and film of part of the production can be downloaded from the links at:



Mrs Brute - Frankie Godliman

(50+ years and perhaps more) Supposedly once married to Hilary Maconochie (yes he is a man!) She starts the play and has several monologues to deal with. Very upright and proper.

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Mrs Drudge - Anne Nunn

(50+ years and perhaps more) Mrs Brute's friend (we suppose) and tea and poker/cribbage companion. Very upright and proper in her own way.

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Hilda, the Maid - Nicola Anderson

(flexible age but needs to have saucy possibilities and has been with Mrs Brute for a while) Lots of direct address – good rapport with the audience.

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Director - Jane Walters


Stage Manager - Clare Pinnock

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Lighting - Bill Payne


Set Design and Construction - John Godliman


Sound - Ian Santry

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Continuity - Jill Payne

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Continuity - Gillian Smithies

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Stage Manager - Michelle Blake

Best Supporting Actress Nicola Anderson Woking Drama Festival - 2009
Technical Excellence Award Woking Drama Festival - 2009
Festival Winners Spelthorne & Runnymede Drama Festival - 2009
Best Actress Frankie Godliman Spelthorne & Runnymede Drama Festival - 2009
Mary FitzHugh Award for Comedy Nicola Anderson Spelthorne & Runnymede Drama Festival - 2009
Stage Presentation Spelthorne & Runnymede Drama Festival - 2009