Peggy For You

Previewed 18 November 1999, Opened 23 November 1999, Closed 15 January 2000 at the Hampstead Theatre
Previewed 27 January 2000, Opened 1 February 2000, Closed 10 June 2000 at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre)

Alan Plater's new play Peggy For You in London starring Maureen Lipman

A day in the life of Peggy Ramsay, the most celebrated play agent of her time. Set in her chaotic office, Peggy For You is a gloriously witty, wry and unsentimental account of this extraordinary woman as she takes on a new client... and loses two others. Eccentric, intimidating, contradictory, and inspiring, she held sway over the theatrical world during a career that spanned 30 years, representing playwrights as famous and diverse as Joe Orton, Caryl Churchill, Christopher Hampton, Stephen Poliakoff, Alan Ayckbourn and Edward Bond.

The cast at London's Hampstead Theatre and the West End's Comedy Theatre featured Maureen Lipman as 'Peggy Ramsey', with Tom Espiner as 'Simon', Selina Griffiths as 'Tessa', Richard Platt as 'Henry', and Crispin Redman as 'Philip'.

Directed by Robin Lefevre with designs by Liz Ascroft, lighting by Mick Hughes, and sound by John A Leonard.

Maureen Lipman's West End credits include the role of 'Aunt Eller' in Trevor Nunn's revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre in 1998, and transfer to the Lyceum Theatre in 1999; and the title role of 'Joyce Grenfell' in Alan Strachan's production of the Maureen Lipman and James Roose-Evans play Re:Joyce at the Fortune Theatre in 1988, the Vaudeville Theatre in 1989, and 1991.

"Author Alan Plater has plundered his memories of this great British eccentric, a woman whose scabrous personality matched her ability to spot theatrical winners. He presents her, in the gloriously gawky shape of Maureen Lipman, as a lovable gorgon firing off witticisms, critiques and staggeringly tactless comments like machine-gun bullets... Plater's play is contrived but well-crafted, narrow in scope but expansively funny. Lipman's performance illuminates a tribute to a woman who, unwittingly, became famous in a shadowy, behind-the-scenes trade. One can imagine Peggy's phone call to Plater, had she read his script: 'Very amusing, darling, but who wants to see a play about an agent?' Those who do will have a fine time." The London Evening Standard

"Peggy Ramsey was an incredible character whose life is touchingly, and movingly, recreated by Maureen Lipman in this fascinating, impressionistic new play by Alan Plater, one of Peggy's former clients... Lipman gives one of her most brilliant and physically complicated performances: she twitches her shoulders, throws off her shoes, and suggests through shrewd glasses that, in matters of art, playwriting is a mystery and talent should not be undermined by wives or drink. She juggles the attentions of a bloated, disaffected Lancashire client, modelled on the late writer, Henry, and a newcomer, Simon, who wants to know what a play is. A third creative character, Philip, demonstrates other aspects of Peggy's view of playwrights as modishly suave and doomed." The Daily Mail

"If you are looking for a play about a real-life eccentric, then take the late, great Peggy Ramsay, the celebrated play agent. This affectionate and funny new day-in-the-life-of comedy is by one of her old stable, Alan Plater. I suspect Peggy wouldn't have liked it for precisely the same reasons that I did. It's light it's short and its ambitions are modest, but it gets her maddening, dazzling personality across in vivid colours. Maureen Lipman - who could so easily have sentimentalised the part - is terrific as the drawling, eccentric, foul-mouthed, writer's go-between. Nor does she miss the streak of steel in the spine that made the woman so formidable... Meticulously directed by Robin Lefevre, this is a sparkling toast to the memory of one of theatre's true originals." The Daily Express

Peggy For You in London at the Comedy Theatre previewed from 27 January 2000, opened on 1 February 2000, and closed on 10 June 2000