When you make your playwriting debut at 91, there’s no time to hang about. Watch this fantastic interview with 91-year-old James Hugh Macdonald, whose first play Happy Warriors is currently premiering Upstairs at the Gatehouse: he’s got three more completed plays ready to go! (Don’t miss our special offer for £10 tickets to be in the audience for the filming of this acclaimed first one this Friday.)
During the Second World War, Winston Churchill sends his son to Yugoslavia. His mission is to supply arms to Tito to help his army rid the country of the occupying German forces. A renowned narcissist, Randolph Churchill requests to be accompanied by a companion of ‘equal intellectual standing’ – preferably the novelist Evelyn Waugh. Back in England, Captain Waugh is waiting for a new posting and, after much deliberation, agrees to join Randolph.
Along with Randolph and Evelyn, who are billeted in a small deserted farmhouse, is Zora Panic, a belligerent, young, university-educated partisan. Zora is far from thrilled when, ahead of joining her comrades in the battle against Germany, her guerrilla commander advises her to be less arrogant. In addition, she’s put in the menial position of cook/housekeeper to the two Englishmen. Can this be endured? What could possibly go right?
With Happy Warriors, producers WT Stage wanted to buck the trend of launching new young writers by giving a veteran the chance to have his script come to life on stage. Born in 1925, author James Hugh Macdonald himself lived through the Second World War and served in the Royal Scots Fusiliers.
The production, directed by Andrew C Wadsworth, stars Simon Pontin as Randolph Churchill, Neil Chinneck as Evelyn Waugh and Martha Dancy as Zora Panic.
Happy Warriors runs until 22 April 2018 at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate Village, Highgate, London N6 4BD, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, Sunday matinees at 4pm and one Saturday matinee at 3pm on 14 April. Tickets are usually priced £22-24. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Attend this Friday for just £10
For the special, filmed performance on Friday 13 April, tickets reduced to £10. Book online or call 020 8340 3488, quoting 'HW Filming N6'.
“The memory of the wartime period has actually shaped the whole of my life and shaped the categories of my thought and I refer continually in my thought to the sacrifices of that time which were so considerable.”
In this fantastic interview with London Live, James Hugh Macdonald talks about his own wartime experiences, his inspiration for Happy Warriors and the recent boon of ‘psychic energy’ which has resulted in his recent ‘tidal wave of plays’, allowing him to make his stage debut in his ninth decade.