Setting the Scene

John and his assistant, Mary, are working on a biography of a pre-Raphaelite rogue. A project with great literary merit, perhaps, but hardly a money spinner. They both dream of ‘What Can It Be Like’ to be famous and successful writers. To keep the wolf from the door, and possibly to exorcise some romantic demons of their own, both John and Mary request, unbeknown to each other, instructions from True Love Publishers on how to write and sell romantic fiction.

Love off the Shelf parodies every clich√© of the romantic novel genre as the two stories come to life before our eyes, the interactions of their characters mirroring the ever-more-complicated relationship between John and Mary. Occasionally, the fictional characters rebel against the constraints put upon them by their creators. Here, we see two of the characters as skiers in ‘The Virgin Slopes of Love’.

All the characters join the two authors in the finale of the first act, ‘We Want Lovers’

The second Act starts with a parody of American gospel singing on the theme of the commercial aspects of love and the ‘business’ of romantic fiction ‘Love is Commercial’.

Sabrina is a sensuous character who attempts to steal the attention of the male characters. Here she performs the Soul number ‘The Other Woman’.

There are many musical styles in this show. Here the whole cast perform a fast moving ‘rap’ number ‘Deus ex Machina’.

As the end of the play approaches, John and Mary start to look at each other in a different way, and romance is in the air. They sing the duet ‘The Play of Love’.

Eventually, John and Mary and the other characters all come together for a triple wedding. They then receive the news that a publisher wishes to buy John’s book. Success at last!

In the end, despite the tongue in cheek treatment doled out by the authors, romance is the winner all round in the blissful send-them-home-happy finale ‘A Happy ending’

Musical Numbers

Act 1

Love Off the Shelf – Full Company

What can it be like – John & Mary

Hotel Caribbeanini – Jose & Chorus

The Thinking Womens Crumpet – Hamilton

The Virgin Slopes of Love – Lucinda & Skier

All Our Heroes – Clare, Mary & Hamilton

You’d Think it was Fine to be Virile – Chorus

What you Mean to Me – Clare

Success – Full Company

Act 2

Love is Commercial – Full Company

The Other Woman – Sabrina

Deus Ex Machina – Sean / John / Kathleen Mary & Full Company

The Romantic Rogue – Gosport

Do as the Romantics Do – Claire Hamilton

The Play of Love – John & Mary

A Happy Ending – Full Company

The Production team

  • Stage Direction – David Armitt & Ian Caldecourt
  • Musical Director – Anthony Calnan
  • Keyboards – Anthony Calnan
  • Choreography – Kaz Cockburn, Barbara Hill & Loraine Taylor
  • Set Design & Construction – Sam & Sally Moulton, Richard Seagroatt & Charlie Seagroatt
  • Costumes – Debbie Featherstone & Pauline Seagroatt
  • Properties – Emma Weeks
  • Stage Manager – Sarah Daman
  • Lighting – Darren Knight
  • Sound – David Clarke
  • Prompt – Catherine Bates
  • Front of House – Pat Caldecourt

The Cast

  • John – Sam Moulton
  • Mary – Sally Moulton
  • Cecilia – Emma Weeks
  • Lance / Jose – David Armitt
  • Lucinda / Kathleen – Pauline Seagroatt
  • Clare – Karen Caldecourt
  • Hamilton – Richard Seagroatt
  • William – John White
  • Tanya – Loraine Taylor
  • Skier – David Armitt
  • Sean – Mat Stevens
  • Preacher – Emma Weeks
  • Sabrina – Lorna Sales
  • Thomas Gosport – Graham Wattis
  • Chief Purser – Jude Figueira
  • Telegram Boy – Sarah Hake
  • Vicar – John White
  • Chorus – Ian Caldecourt / Kaz Cockburn / Debbie Featherstone / Nicki Parry / Emma Weeks / Barbara Hill / John White / Jude Figueira / Lorna Sales / Sam Leach / Sarah Hake / Edward Seagroatt / Marie Seagroatt / Graham Wattis
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