Robin Hawdon has had an extremely varied career. From novelist and West End playwright, to soap actor, beefcake film star and Hamlet, to director of one of England’s foremost theatres, his activities have spanned numerous aspects of the arts.
For two decades he was a successful actor, whilst plying a concurrent trade as a playwright. In his early twenties his face became well known to British television viewers through regular appearances in such series as ‘Compact’, ‘Flying Swan’, ‘Robin’s Nest', etc. He later co-starred with Michael Crawford in the ITV sit-com ‘Chalk and Cheese’. He made a number of films, going on to star in ‘When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth’ and ‘Zeta One’. On stage Robin was seen in several leading roles in London’s West End, and also played a number of classical leads around the country, such as Hamlet, Henry V and Henry Higgins in ‘Pygmalion’.
At the same time his career as a writer flourished. His early plays BARN DANCE, THE SECRET and THE HERO were seen at such venues as the Hampstead Theatre and the Edinburgh and Salzburg festivals, and his first major commercial success, THE MATING GAME achieved a long run at London’s Apollo Theatre, and has subsequently played in over thirty countries around the world. This was followed by other much performed and published plays such as BIRTHDAY SUITE, REVENGE, DON’T ROCK THE BOAT and PERFECT WEDDING, and the huge success of DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER (based on an early French play by Marc Camoletti) which ran in the West End for six years, and has played all over America, Australia, Canada and the English speaking world.
Recently his play GOD AND STEPHEN HAWKING, about the phenomenal advance of modern science and its effect on traditional philosophical thinking, caused something of a stir in the national press when Stephen Hawking himself took objection to being portrayed on stage, despite the fact that the play was seen by most people as a tribute to his extraordinary life and career. That play has now been published by Josef Weinberger.
Robin has also directed a number of stage productions, and in the nineteen eighties was Director of the Theatre Royal Bath, England’s premier touring theatre.
His first novel – A RUSTLE IN THE GRASS – was published by Hutchinsons in 1984 and by Dodd Mead in the US, and sold some sixty thousand copies. His second book THE JOURNEY was published by Hawthorn’s in 2002.
By Robin Hawdon
BARN DANCE Hampstead Theatre, London 1965
Film and Television
BARN DANCE Austrian and German TV 1965
A RUSTLE IN THE GRASS UK (Hamlyn) and US 1984
THE MATING GAME (Published Samuel French USA)
A new, updated version of the comedy that has regularly played around the world since its hit run in London in the seventies. Set in a smart Mayfair apartment, full of gadgets with a mind of their own, the story concerns the frantic attempts of a trendy young TV personality to both lose his virginity and avoid true love, whilst at the same time preserving his image as a notorious stud.
"Audience nearly raised the roof"
- Daily Telegraph.
A small scale (cast of 6) musical in the Sondheim vein which got rave reviews for its two productions at the Richmond Orange Tree and Windsor Theatre Royal in the 1980's. Concerns the efforts of a typically modern middle class family to sort out their tangled emotional relationships without breaking up the household altogether.
"This delightful piece about love in and
out of marriage is clever, witty, and well worth seeing and hearing"
(Windsor & Eton Express).
BIRTHDAY SUITE (published Samuel French)
Five hander comedy much produced and toured in the U.K and Europe. Taking place in adjoining hotel bedrooms it concerns the chaos which ensues when two 'blind dates' commence with introductions between the wrong partners. The confusions get worse throughout the evening, exacerbated by the efforts of an over-zealous Italian room waiter.
THE OLD DEVILS (Published Dramatic Publishing U.S.A.)
Stage adaptation of Kingsley Amis's Booker Prize winning and arguably finest novel. Produced here and in the USA to splendid reviews, it requires a cast of twelve, and an open plan set.
"Extremely funny in its portrayal of fake
Welshness and the morose discontents of old age." (The Guardian).
REVENGE (published Warner Chappell)
Two handed thriller often performed in the U.K. and on the Continent. An attractive female reporter arrives at the London penthouse apartment of a powerful politician to interview him about a fatal accident. But things are never quite what they seem as a series of revelations builds to an unexpected and surprising conclusion.
"The plot has more twists and turns than
DON'T DRESS FOR DINNER (Published Samuel French)
Hugely popular farce loosely based on an original play by Marc Camoletti. After its six year run in the West End this comedy has been performed all over America, Canada, Australia and the English speaking world.
"Hurtling along at the speed of light, this breathtaking farce is a near faultless piece of theatrical invention." (Sunday Times)
DON'T ROCK THE BOAT (Published Warner Chappell).
A comedy with a serious theme set in the unusual location of the rural River Thames. A brash self-made property developer invites a local planning committee chairman and his family to spend what is supposed to be a restful week-end on board the builder's treasured houseboat. But he has ulterior motives, and the visit turns to disaster as the personalities and lifestyles of the two families clash at every turn. A six-hander which has been performed to splendid notices both in the U.K. and abroad.
PERFECT WEDDING (Published Samuel French)
A highly successful comedy which has been performed all over Europe and America. A bridegroom wakes on his wedding morning in his own bridal suite, with his bride-to-be about to arrive any moment, and finds a naked girl in bed beside him. What's more an extremely attractive naked girl whom, in the depths of his post stag-night hangover, he can't remotely remember even having been introduced to. The ensuing chaos reaches nuclear proportions. The six-hander play is that rare combination - a riotous comedy and a touching love story at the same time.
'Laughs abound in the American premiere...
It all works out in the end, but not before playgoers have aching sides.'
GOD AND STEPHEN HAWKING (published Josef Weinberger)
A unique and innovative play which caused a minor sensation during its first production in the U.K. when Stephen Hawking himself denounced it in the press as an intrusion on his privacy. The work is in fact a tribute to his extraordinary life and achievements, and explains in simple terms much of the mysteries of modern science which Hawking himself unfolds in his best-selling 'A Brief History Of Time'. The cast is only four, but God himself appears with relish in various guises as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, the Pope, and even the Queen, to debate with the scientist the essential clash between orthodox religious views and modern scientific progress.
"The theatrical equivalent of the Big
Bang." (Daily Telegraph)
A new farce only recently premiered with great success in the U.S.A. A pair of dancing girls at a Soho night-club desperately try to sort out their tangled love lives without incurring the wrath of their gangster boss, 'Big Mack' and his side-kicks.
"...packed with high energy and mad comedy
that rarely takes a breath until its side-splitting conclusion."
(Door County Advocate).
New two-handed drama covering some of the same subject matter as GOD AND STEPHEN HAWKING. An agnostic professor in the forefront of modern scientific thinking and a devoutly Christian female psychiatrist meet for the first time in five years after the cataclysmic break up of their marriage. In a single tempestuous evening they re-enact the philosophical arguments, temperamental differences and sexual skirmishes of their marriage in a confrontation that mirrors the wars between nations, races and creeds. 'Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf' without the peripheral characters.
The French Riviera. Where the well-to-do rent luxury villas for exorbitant sums, in order to get their annual fix of sun, sea, and haute cuisine. But what happens if the French owners of one such villa decide to take an impromptu holiday there without realising that the agents have already let it? And to representatives of the old enemy, the English? And furthermore if the English couple have invited some Irish friends to join them? The Common Market might well implode under such conditions. This play poses such a scenario, and adds the ingredients of copious champagne, heightened sexual impulses and exaggerated cultural differences. It is more than just a sparkling comedy – it is also an exploration of marital frustrations, national differences, and the eternal battle of the sexes.
Single set, cast of six (3m, 3f)
Epic account of this greatest of all sea battles and the death of Nelson, one of England's finest heroes. Originally commissioned by major Hollywood producers, but abandoned because of cost. Now the digital revolution makes this a much more feasible project, which is looking for new producers with a view to taking advantage of the huge publicity which will herald the bicentennial of the battle in 2005. Alternatively could be adapted as a major TV series.
THE BIG DAY Screenplay of the stage comedy 'Perfect Wedding' (see above). Low budget, fast moving romantic comedy set in the house and grounds of an English country house hotel.
THE JOURNEY (Novel published Hawthorns)
Very filmable account of the huge journey across a mountain range undertaken by a gang of children orphaned by one of the planet's pointless ethnic conflicts. In the course of this epic ordeal they are forced to invent their own methods of organization, arbitration and survival, independent of any mature advice or example. And when they finally regain the adult world they are a radically altered band, who force a confrontation between the different cultures and generations that has extraordinary consequences.