Marlowe Players to stage Palin’s first play

Michael Palin’s first stage play The Weekend, described as a comedy with teeth, will be the next production by The Marlowe Players who are celebrating their 70th year.

Martin Illston plays the lead character Stephen Febble, a role taken by Richard Wilson in the West End in 1994 and Palin himself last year when the play was turned into a BBC Radio 4 drama.

But Martin will not be playing the part like Victor Meldrew. “It’s a mixture of Meldrew-type delivery, Basil Fawlty humour and Reggie Perrin soliloquies when Stephen is fed up with life,” he said.

“It’s challenging because of the number of lines I’ve got to learn. We’re putting our own interpretation on the play and I’m really enjoying it.”

Director Janet Townes says the play has sad undertones. “Stephen has emotions pent up over many years which he’s been unable to talk about and a weekend dinner party with family, neighbours and an uninvited guest provides an outlet for him.”

The production calls for a dog which will be played by Janet’s 18-month-old rescue dog Tinker. “He comes to rehearsals and knows everyone so I think he’ll behave himself,” she said.

The Weekend is at Darley Abbey Village Hall from March 20-24.


For tickets go to or call 07961 607372.