Primrose Way

by Ron Nicol

Primrose Way had 3 performances about 8 years ago (between the 15th of April 2016 and the 14th of May 2016) at The Leatherhead Theatre and Cecil Hepworth Playhouse

The ageing bag lady who opens the play is the eponymous Primrose Way, once a professional actress. As she reminisces about her life, her story unfolds and we see her enthusiastic, youthful self retracing her career in the Theatre and reliving memories of her ambitious mother who delights in playing a number of other characters who drift into Primrose’s recollections.

The challenges of this play are to create vivid, real, believable characters, bring out the humour and observe their changing emotions and ages over the years.It is important to keep the production fluid as it moves through various locations and time lines.

If all the elements come together it has the potential to be affectionately amusing and very touching.

Pictures from the final night performance at Leatherhead Festival can be found at

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Primrose Way's Mother - Anna Napolitano

Middle Aged. A sensual, ambitious woman who has a variety of lovers, drinks a lot and speaks in an actress’s affected voice. Her airy pretentiousness hides a desolate loneliness and an emotional solitude.

A glamorous, well-groomed woman she is dressed in an iconic fifties’ dress recalling the stars of that era and teeters around the stage on high heeled shoes in an affected manner.

A cold, unloving mother to Primrose she is too intent on forwarding her own career and finding her own happiness to take much notice of her needy daughter.

She glories in her bright career until she becomes disillusioned and reveals a more reflective, frightened, helpless side to her nature in her monologue at the end of the play.

She has many lost dreams and suffers from vivid nightmares, as does her daughter Primrose.

She must relish the challenge and show versatility in depicting a number of other characters in the play: Journalist Artistic Director Dance Coach Building Site Bloke Stage Manager Various Actresses Butler Director Fat slob Casting Director Landlady Jolly bloke weeing into a plant pot

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Old Primrose - Anne Nunn

60+ years. Looks over her past life on and off the stage. There are some moments of happiness but her life has mostly been made up of sadness and disappointments but somehow her indomitable spirit shines through.

Looking like a faded sepia photograph (which will be reflected in the setting of the play) she is of indeterminate age as life has been hard on her. A down-and-out on the streets she is dressed in layers of clothing. She remembers back to her mother’s life as an actress and a disinterested cold mother.

Her father left home early in her life and she had a series of ‘Uncles’ one of whom sexually abuses her. She recalls how her mother turned a blind eye and shuts the door on them.

She vividly tells the story of her early days when she excitedly decides to become an actress recalling her first professional role - having sex with a casting director; being robbed by a man she was living with and, most of all, her unsatisfactory relationship with her mother.

A needy person Old Primrose can be warm and lovable but at times bitter and recriminatory

The key to the successful portrayal of this character is to tell her story vividly and engage the audience, to find light and shade, changes of mood and energy, to mark her physical and vocal decline and to provide a distinctive contrast with her elegant mother. She will be required to find the humour in the part and perform a short music hall song & dance act.

Recapturing her emotional memories from the past can bring to life this sad, tender, human story.

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Young Primrose - Amy Horn

Plays from 11 - 20 years. A young, naïve, starry-eyed girl expecting to do well in life.

Her clear story-telling can make Primrose’s life events live for the audience and this is a vital element of the play. She will be required to show Primrose at different ages from 11 to 20.

She re-enacts scenes from Primrose’s early life, revealing her enthusiasm for acting which gradually dwindles as the story unfolds.

She re-enacts: Having elocution lessons with her Mother Auditioning for parts In a boat with a young actor Out on tour Living with a lover In a café with her mother Standing in the rain at the gate of her mother’s house

The moment when she is sitting at her father’s knee listening to the football results can be very affecting. She is small and slight and when she wears white for an important audition she looks like a stick of chalk!

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Father - Wally Walters

Non speaking role.


Director - Judith Dolley


Set Design and Construction - John Godliman


Stage Manager - Clare Pinnock


Sound - Ian Santry


Lighting - Simon Waller

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Continuity - Jill Payne

Runners Up Trophy Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2016
Best Actress Anne Nunn Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2016
Winners Trophy Leatherhead Drama Festival - 2016
Best Director Judith Dolley Leatherhead Drama Festival - 2016