Roundelay: Synopsis

Cast: 4m / 4f
Running time (approximate):
2 hours 40 minutes (not including interval)
Roundelay is available for both professional and amateur production.
Acting Edition:
Published by Samuel French.


Blanche Holgate (40s)
Tom Holgate (Her father, retired judge, 70’s)
Russ Timms (Clergyman, 30s)
Gale Devonne (Entrepreneur, 30s)
Ashley Kuyper (Neighbour, 40s)
Roz Perkins (Schoolgirl, 16)
Lindy Kuze (Escort, 30s)
Lance (Enforcer, 40s)
Mrs Miller (Choreographer, 40s)
Leo Axminster (MP, 40s)
Sean McKintyre (Journalist, 30s)
Mrs Kuyper (Constituent, 70s)

Note: Roundelay was conceived for a cast of eight, allowing for a doubling of certain roles.
Author's introduction to Roundelay
Roundelay consists of five short, self-contained plays (The Judge, The Novelist, The Politician, The Star and The Agent), written to be played in any sequence. There are therefore 120 possibilities as to the order in which they could be performed. Many of the plays are connected, sometimes through shared characters, sometimes through overlapping narrative. Some are prequels to others, being themselves in turn sequels to others.
It is hoped that during a run they will be played in as many different orders as there are performances.


Note: There is no correct order to viewing the plays within Roundelay and the order of performance should be determined randomly. They are presented here in alphabetical order.

The Agent:
In her flat, the agent Gale is accosted by Lance who has come to collect a debt owed to Mr Simmons. A terrified Gale is given a few minutes reprieve and attempts to escape but is interrupted by a neighbour and television crime addict Ashley. After several misunderstandings, he realises Gale is in danger and comes up with a far-fetched plan to save her from Lance - all thanks to his television habits.

The Judge:
In a hotel room, a retired judge - Tom Holgate - arrives for a meal organised by the underworld figure Mr Simmons, represented by his heavy Lance. Tom is to have a meal with Lindy Kuze, a prostitute and friend of the agent Gale, who is to play Tom's late wife for the evening. Unable to play the role convincingly, she begins to add in her own life story, which Tom begins to accept as they realise memory is what you make of it.

The Novelist: The Reverend Russ Timms has come to visit the retired judge, Tom Holgate, at his house to talk about the recent death of his wife. A bell rings - the same that his wife used to ring for attention - and Tom explains his novelist daughter Blanche has fitted the bells around the house and is worried about her sanity. Having disposed of the wireless bell in a bucket of water, Blanche arrives, believing her mother to be still alive and upstairs. Left alone with Russ, she describes her latest crime novel in which the victim is murdered in a suspiciously similar way to how her mother died. As she explains how the murderer can still hear the screams of the victim, the 'broken' bell begins to ring again.

The Politician: MP Leo Axminster is about to be interviewed for the BBC when young actress Roz turns up for an 'audition' arranged by her agent Gale, believing Leo to be a producer. He believes Roz is a prostitute and is alarmed his secrets and predilections may come out if Roz is seen by the BBC. She begins a bizarre 'audition' which Leo believes is a prelude to an erotic act and desperately gives her money to leave. Roz, hurt by her apparent failure but pleased with the money, leaves and bumps into the BBC reporter who asks her to come for a drink with him sensing a news story.

The Star: Reverend Russ Timms is rehearsing The Mikado with some youngsters, foremost amongst them the precocious Roz. She has arranged a meeting with an agent, Gale, who turns up only to be revealed as a former lover of Russ; who believes she has come to see him to restart their relationship. She has not and tries to borrow £10,000 from Russ to pay off a debt, but he has no money and she goes, leaving Russ a broken man.

Article by Simon Murgatroyd. Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.