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GUY MASTERSON - Solo Performer

Theatre Tours International Ltd
The Ivy Cottage, 4 Northaw Road West
Northaw, Herts, EN64NR (UK)

Tel/Fax: +44(0)7979 757490

Guy Masterson started his first theatre company (Guy Masterson Productions) in 1991 with a solo performance; Peter Flannery's 'The Boy's Own Story'. This toured the UK and eventually played at the Chelsea Centre Theatre in London and garnered him two nominations for London Fringe Awards for 'Best Actor' and 'Best Solo Play'. In 1994 he followed this with a speculative adventure into physical theatre with 'Under MilK Wood - Solo!' Its huge success at the Edinburgh Fringe prompted a second solo adapation of a lierature classic - 'Animal Farm' which had similar success. After these two shows, his reputation as one of the world's foremost solo performers was cemented. His two following solo works; 'A Soldier's Song' and 'Fern Hill and Other Dylan Thomas' were similarly heralded and both nominated for 'The Stage Best Actor' award in 1998 and 2001 respectively. (He won for 'Fern Hill'). He was nominated for Best Actor again in 2003 for his 50th anniversary edition of 'Under MilK Wood' and 'The Stage Best Solo Performance' for 'Shylock'. In 2014, he compiled a programme of poetry and stories 'Anthem for A Doomed Youth' in commemmoration of the centenary of the Great Wa,r and in 2016, he embarked on his first overtly comic autobiographical solo work, 'Love & Canine Integration' - later renamed 'Barking Mad!' for the Australian tour. (See Full Biography) In 2017, he mounted his 11th solo work, 'A Christmas Carol' adapted by Nick Hennegan

2017 - Present A CHRISTMAS CAROL - by Charles Dickens adapted by Nick Hennegan

Guy Masterson in A Christmas CarolPerformed by Guy Masterson

Adapted & directed by Nick Hennegan

Original Music by Robbie Williams

Premiered: Haystack Theatre, Shrewsbury 25/11/18
UK Tousr Christmas 2017-2020
Assembly Festival at Edinburgh 2018
USA & Milan

Domestic & International Touring to present.

Dickens' enduring classic brought to life in Masterson's inimitable multicharacter perfomance style.


(From Edinburgh 2018)

Before a wooden chair and a rumpled raincoat suspended from the ceiling on a hook, an angelic rendition of O Little Town of Bethlehem gives way to a harsh soundscape which transports the action from the workhouses and slavery of Victorian England to the food banks and zero-hotracts of Brexit Britain: a cacophony of car horns, jarring synthesisers and Neil Armstrong's iconic quote 'That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.'
The latter of which begs the question: how far have living standards leaped? Same shit different day would appear to be the answer, given that the gap between rich and poor has never been wider, the haves have even more and the have-nots are demonised as 'shirkers not workers'. Or in the case of immigrants (and by association refugees and asylum seekers), confronted with threatening billboard vans which ordered 'Go home or face arrest.'
I digress.
ur con Guy Masterson, under the deft direction of Nick Hennegan who has adapted Dickens' festive tale of redemption into a taut 75 minutes, is quite simply spellbinding. Dressed in casual attire, he begins his rapid but never rushed narration in his natural voice and with his body in a state of balance, but as soon as he speaks of the 'squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner' his expansive frame clenches into a tight fist. A fitting metaphor for a miser described as ';No wind that blew was bitterer than he'.
Relying entirely on Masterson's undoubted talent as a storyteller, he never imposes himself on the material, but like a fine musician filters Dickens' dense and descriptive passages through his well-tuned vocal and physical instruments, Hennegan draws upon the simplest of theatrical techniques to powerful effect.
For example, Marley's nocturnal visitation is characterised by a stark footlight which throws an imposing shadow on the back wall which combined with a faint reverbation and an ominous rumbling by composer, Robb Williams, recreates what the second spirit calls,';A place where Miners live, who labour in the bowels of the earth'. The sure destination of Scrooge should he refuse to mend his ways.
But, as we know, an 'alteration' takes place and the man who was once described as ';hard and sharp as flint'; becomes 'as giddy as a drunken man';. As was the 'small but perfectly formed audience' who marvelled at Masterson's spellbinding performance as they reengaged with Dickens' wonderful and timeless tale of redemption. (Peter Callahan - Reviewsphere - 06/08/18)

Edinburgh Legend/stalwart Guy Masterson gives a tour de force of one man show virtuosity in this faithful yet innovative, unseasonal yet oddly appropriate much loved Christmas classic.
Oh not A Christmas Carol AGAIN! It's been filmed innumerable times for TV and cinema, muppeted, adapted as a musical, updated, re-interpreted, turned into Panto, pastiched, lampooned and, perhaps most damning of all, put in the GCSE curriculum. Is there any short novella that has been more culturally exploited in history? Almost certainly not.
A dangerous decision then, for Olivier Award-winner Guy Masterson to select what many would see as a hackneyed and overworked piece and apply to it his undoubtedly impressive talents, both as writer and performer. It's a cash cow that has been ridden by many other eminent performers after all; Simon Callow and Patrick Stewart in recent years spring to mind, and Gary Sefton's magnificent adaptation in 2016.
What does Masterson bring to the already groaning A Christmas Carol table that is new? Well for a start, it's the Summer. ';Australians do it!'; is the publicity gag, but actually, it really isn't a problem.  Quite the reverse. It may be Summer, but this is Edinburgh, so the skies are leaden and grey as any midwinter day elsewhere. Less flippantly, there is something immediately refreshing about looking at a Christmas classic from the fresh perspective of the Summertime;  it's a piece that is infused with cold, with the physical privations of ice and snow and dark, and the enjoyment of merriment and togetherness that can keep the real and metaphorical dark at bay.  Being reminded of the dark days, and how to be a better person, and keep a better Christmas, seems more instructive, more actually useful, with a bit of distance in the year. Even Scrooge gets some advance warning, after all.
The second innovation is much more important. This is, truly, a one-person show. It has elements of narration and storytelling, yes,  (and Masterson's Burtonesque baritone does this beautifully), but unlike any other solo version I have seen, it is a genuine and astonishingly successful attempt by one person to people the stage with all of Dickens characters. Masterson uses the full panoply of voice, characterisation, physicality, mime, dance, sound effect and music to terrific effect, effortlessly slipping between character and place, simultaneously building word pictures of the scenes as he goes.   It is only when he pauses briefly for a drink he wishes was beer about forty minutes in that you appreciate the awesome work rate this requires.
It is a mesmerising, breathless construction,  and finally answers the question: can a one man show be truly a drama?   Turns out, yes it can, providing you have a world class actor, a tight and atmospheric script, and minimal but clever and evocative sound design.  These three things have to work doubly hard when you consider the set is a chair, a hook for a coat, and a coat. That is it; but you will have been as present at Mr Fezziwig's revels as you have ever been; as enchanted and frightened by the ghosts as you were at the age of ten, and you wilL let slip involuntary tears of pity for a Tiny Tim who is only seen in the place Masterson makes for him in your mind's eye.  
The final refreshment of this well trodden path is the adaptation.  It is muscular, spare, but full of the richness and wit of the original.  It seems remarkably faithful to the source, and there is no concession to modernity, which is a blessing to all true fans of Dickens and his wit. Making Dickens' jokes lift off the page and sing is no simple matter, but this version, in the hands of Masterson, makes you remember anew why A Christmas Carol is such a perennial favourite. Because it is wonderful. It is funny, scary, moving and uplifting, and once the encrustations of a hundred other Christmases and innumerable other versions are knocked off it, the shiny sixpence of brilliance and originality remains undimmed underneath.  
I urge you to go and rediscover something you thought you knew all too well, and join the standing ovation at the end. (David Mounfield -FringeReview - 16/08/18)

Summoning the ghost of A Christmas Carol, Guy Masterson's adaptation is a creative show by a talented and energetic performer.
Banish any scepticism or bah humbugs about seeing a Christmas show in August because this will have you feeling more festive than a John Lewis Christmas advert in no time.
The show is performed through spoken work, word from word from the book, but with a genuinely funny and charismatic delivery. Masterson jumps from character to character, going from old man to echoing ghost to the squeaky-voiced tiny Tim with ease, aided by effectively utilised lighting and sound effects and the flow was never disrupted or disjointed. More scaled back than big budget, this minimalist performance merges together into a ballet of festivity. Masterson performs each part well, taking advantage of the whole space in a dynamic display of skill.
Go see this play if you're a fan of Dickens, A Christmas Carol or just want to see what can be achieved with a minimal set, some imagination, and plenty of Christmas spirt. (Johnny Rhodes - EdFestMag 16/08/18)

On a bare stage there is a solitary chair, with a raincoat suspended in mid-air to one side. That's all the setting required for this one-man retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Celebrating his 25th season on the Edinburgh Fringe with no less than four productions, Guy Masterson may not be the first person to bring a one-man Dickens to the stage, but it might be a first for this summer festival.
The familiar characters are all present and correct and Masterson slips easily from one to the other. His Scrooge sounds refreshingly robust – not unlike Ray Winstone – but this abridged adaptation is a thing of beauty, rich in descriptive detail and emotional impact. The actor brings warmth and genuine Christmas spirit to Fezziwig's party, with even a brief nod to a same-sex relationship. At the other end of the story, the Cratchits' Christmas feast is a bustling affair, busy with chatter, good cheer and of course, Tiny Tim's homespun philosophies.
To lend atmosphere, Masterson wears a radio mic, which lends volume and echo to the Spirits voices but other than some sensitive lighting, there is nowhere for the actor to hide. Masterson defiantly fills the stage however and holds the audience rapt from beginning to end. (Paul Vale - The Stage 11/08/18)

Dickens' timeless tale of redemption at Christmas is once again brought to life in this tour de force of a performance by an accomplished actor.
Using only a single chair and a raincoat, Guy Masterson manages to populate the stage with the familiar cast of characters – Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Old Fezziwig and the others – with enormous energy and enthusiasm.
This tale has been told so many times and in so many ways in films, animations, musicals – and one-man shows, so it is quite extraordinary that it still retains such a powerful hold over us. We all know that Tiny Tim is not going to die, but the very idea of it is still enough to move us to tears.
As the story is so very well-known, the critical focus has to be on how well it is told, and it is told very well, with as much focus on physical agility as verbal dexterity; the dancing at Fezziwig's and the party games at Fred's are hilariously frantic. We might have expected a little more contrast between the voices of Jacob Marley, The Ghost of Christmas Past and The Ghost of Christmas Present, rather than just a mild echo effect to indicate that we were in the world of spirits.
The story moves along with great pace, rushing towards its joyful and convivial conclusion.
A Christmas Carolis a faithful and impressive re-telling of a classic. Dickens himself frequently performed, dramatised versions of his own work. He would have loved this show. (Jon Cross - Edinburgh Guide - 10/08/18)

A Christmas Carol may sound like an unlikely selection for the Edinburgh Fringe in August but it proves to be a perfect vehicle for Guy Masterson to deliver a masterclass in the art of solo performance.
For 75 minutes, aided by no more than a chair and coat, the actor magically creates the Victorian classic, using every skill in the acting repertoire. It helps that both the lighting and a soundscape composed by Robb Williams are well judged to enhance the performance.
Nick Hennegan directs and has skilfully adapted the novel, bringing out the beauty of Dickens's language, building the drama to a truly uplifting climax.
Even if you are sick to death of Edinburgh solos, give this one a go as it will refresh your palate for what can, in the hands of mere mortals, all too frequently seem like a jaded and over-used art form.

Reviews from the World Premiere 25/11/17

The Haystack Theatre - (25/11/17)
';God Bless us everyone!'’ cries Tiny Tim. Indeed. God Bless Guy Masterson, whose revival of Dickens’s immortal tale, A Christmas Carol, saw its first performance at the Haystack Theatre, Ford last week. Masterson is no stranger to one-man presentations. His skill in defining a multitude of characters with a turn of the head or an eyebrow raised brings echoes of his earlier triumphant shows such as ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘Under Milk Wood’. Here Dickens'’s cast, from Jacob Marley to Tiny Tim and Old Fezziwig jostle for space in a show that runs for nearly an hour and a half. There is barely a break for Scrooge to snooze, between each ghostly visitation. This one-man show is a prodigious trial of memory, but also a test of an actor’s mettle in terms of concentration and physical fitness. There is plenty of dancing too, as we move from the narrow Counting House to the jollity of Christmas Past, the making-do of Christmas Present and grim forebodings of the grave that must await us all. Subtle use of an echo mic for the Spirits’ visitation, along with some fine underscoring, underlines the shifting mood. But the actor bears the load of adding light and shade to Dickens'’s tale. Masterson has used the original text from the author’s own dramatic readings of the story. But thanks to the minimal staging - a wooden chair, a raincoat on a hook, echoes of the modern world are never far behind. Skinflint Scrooge’s journey to redemption from despair is something more than a cosy tale to wile away a winter'’s night. Ghosts of Ignorance and Want remind us of the final question ‘Are these shadows of the things that Will be, or of things that May be?'; Masterson’'s production is an understated warning and a celebration of the hope for human kind. In short, it is A Christmas Carol for our time.” (Peter Fanning - Public Review - 27/11/17)

Magic from One Man and his Mac (25/11/17)
Guy Masterson is a bear of a man and a phenomenal actor. And he draws deep upon both those attributes to power his way through his latest theatrical challenge; his one-man presentation of Charles Dickens' Christmas tale.
He premiered this latest creation in a cosy barn, deep in the Shropshire countryside, before an audience who had seen sufficient Masterson shows to be full of anticipation. And their expectations were more than fulfilled.
It's a bare stage, wreathed in black drapes, from which hangs a limp, pale raincoat that becomes all manner of things including the illusion of flying.
The other weapons in Masterson's armoury are a subtle sound track, some startling lighting, and himself; his frame almost filling the space, like a human prop in a Victorian mine shaft.
The characterisations (of practically every major figure in the book) are devoid of cliché. Like all the very best actors, he does very little - but just enough - to differentiate between the kind and the cruel, and the quick and the dead.
Scrooge, for example, is played remarkably straight with barely a croak or stoop. And yet, with just one sideways stare, the cold chill of a Christmas-unobserved pours across the footlights; in sharp contrast with the wafting warmth of the Cratchit parlour. It's all done with cross-fading lights and variations of voice; and, in the case of the four spirits, with a resounding echo box. It was so intricate I was left wondering how it was done – and Masterson wasn't telling. (Someone at the back of the barn must have had very nimble fingers).
What he does tell - wonderfully well - is Dickens' classic story, with purity, poignancy and panache. Just when you thought youd seen enough Christmas Carols to guide you to your grave along comes one of the best yet; seemingly effortless, but hugely effective.' (Chris Eldon Lee – BBC Radio - 01/12/17)

2016 - 2019 BARKING MAD!

Guy Masterson in Barking Mad!Written Performed by Guy Masterson

Premiered: Assembly Festival at Edinburgh 2016

Domestic & International Touring to present.

An autobiographical comedy about meeting his wife and getting her dog!

REVIEWS: Adelaide Fringe Festival 2017

ABC RADIO Peter Goers Show 28/02/17
It's all in the telling and it's absolutely hilarious! Really good actors can transform themselves physically and Guy Masterson does this with all the characters - especially the evil little dog, Nelson! I just laughed uncontrollably. Just wonderful night of laughter, empathy and whether you are a dog lover or not you will empathise' culminating in a very funny graveside tale! Marvellous! (Carole Whitelock - ABC Radio - 28/02/17)

GUY Masterson's Barking Mad! is a story about a man and his dog, well his wife's. But it's not your typical 'man's best friend' heart-warming-type story.
After meeting his German Parisian actor and model wife, Brigitta, Masterson - who still can't believe his luck 18 years on, it seems - quickly realises his dream woman comes with baggage, namely a 12-year-old Spitz named Nelson.
This is an autobiographical show which sees Masterson reflect on his love life and a dog he claims to have hated.
It's funny, of course, but it's also simply great and enthusiastic storytelling by an award-winning performer who takes his audience on a journey. Dog lovers will either love it or hate it, but it is very relatable.
Though the ending may suggest otherwise, I'm on to you Masterson, you loved all 12kg of that puff ball. (Kazia Ozog - Adelaide Advertiser - 21/02/17)

Guy Masterson has been visiting Adelaide for many years and is always worth putting at the top of your list of productions to see during the Adelaide Fringe. This year he is offering something different in Barking Mad!, an hilarious true tale that begins with him meeting a stunning French model and actress. Well, she eventually turned out to be German, but she had lived and worked in France for so long that her accent was impeccable. He was instantly captivated, and she walked past as if he was invisible, at first.
To his amazement, things changed and progressed positively, but there was a fly in this romantic ointment, or should I say a dog in the manger. He had to share her with the other man in her life, Nelson, her dog, a Spitz that he quickly re-spelled by replacing the 'p' with an 'h'. The dog's antagonism towards him was mutually returned, and a life of conflict began, worsened when he and Brigitte married and she moved to live at his home in England, bringing Nelson.
Masterson is a sensational storyteller, as we have seen many times in the past, his American Poodle was a marvellous piece of comic theatrical monologue that demanded superior skills in that area, but his personal connection to this story adds another dimension, making it his best yet. He recalls the history of his relationship with her dog, adding in the voices of Brigitte and their two daughters, and giving voice and characterisation to Nelson.
This has to be one for the top of your Fringe list this year. Everybody loves a good laugh, and this show is packed with them. Aching sides and jaws are possible side effects from this brilliantly written and told tale of ongoing woe, and there are so many incidents and anecdotes that are sure to ring a bell with any dog owners or their partners. Yes, Masterson has done it again!
Masterson is also involved with other Adelaide Fringe productions, including presenting A Regular Little Houdini and directing The Devil's Passion with the remarkable Justin Butcher, who received great acclaim for his performance in Scaramouche Jones. Make sure that these are also on your list. (Barry Lenny - Broadway Baby - 21/02/17)

What would you endure for the sake of love? Would you share your beloved with another? Break the law on two continents? Contemplate the taking of a life?
When Guy Masterson, the acclaimed British actor, director, producer and writer, met Brigitta, the trilingual 'model-slash-actress', he fell hard. So hard, in fact, that he was prepared to play second fiddle to the 'other man in her life' - her dog Nelson, a 12-year-old German Spitz.
Masterson is a frequent festival visitor to Adelaide but this is his first time in the comedy section of the Fringe guide, and audiences familiar with his previous one-man shows (Under Milk Wood, Animal Farm) should come prepared for a very different experience.
The story of his desperate attempts to adapt to life with his canine nemesis is a frenetic and physical performance, with Masterson almost foaming at the mouth as he spits out a series of increasingly hysterical anecdotes.
He paces the stage, moving between two large easels that display images of the other key characters in his sorry autobiographical tale. On the left, the impossibly glamorous Brigitta - then a model in Paris, now mother of Masterson's children. On the right, the cause of all the torment - Nelson, the perky, garbage-eating, super-pooper ball of fluff.
There are high-energy characterisations of the evil dog's antics, lots of shouting, and a fair dose of self-deprecation. It's over-the-top but certainly got the laughs from the opening-night audience.
At the start of the show, Masterson took a quick 'hands-up' poll to survey our opinions on dogs versus cats. He didn't declare his own preferences but I think it's fair to say he won't be adopting a puppy to replace Nelson any time soon. (Jo Vabolis - Adelaide Independent - 21/02/17)

Guy Masterson has been a regular feature of Adelaide Fringes for many years, either as performer or director. This time round, as well as directing other shows, Masterson the performer turns his hand to comedy. Barking Mad is about a dog. It's not a tale about dogs in general, nor is it, as the show's promotion suggests, really about a transcontinental relationship. The first part of the show does touch on the early days of his relationship with his German wife, but that is just background context for the main event – the next six years of his life spent with the dog he inherited with his new wife.
Masterson is a superb character actor - one of the best there is. In Barking Mad he utilises his characterisation skills on sketching out the moods and quirks of a mutt that becomes his nemesis. The cute looks, the endless barking, the guilty tail-wagging, the jealousy inspired snapping - are all done perfectly. Anyone who has lived with a dog will recognise these stereotypical hound behaviours, and get a good laugh from them.
Masterson is a compelling stage presence and is always good to watch - there's a depth of craft in everything he does. (Michael Colghan - Clothesline - 21/02/17)

Reviews from Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016

When Guy Masterson punched above his weight and married the beautiful Paris-based model Brigitta, he forgot the first rule of life: no person is an island. Brigitta's personal little slice of Alcatraz comes in the form of her oh-so-cute German Spitz: Nelson. Never in the course of human history has one man fought so hard against one dog for the heart of a beautiful woman.
In this show, Masterston relates the autobiographical story of how first he met his (now) wife Brigitta and her 'other man', Nelson. Only one of the matches here are made in heaven. Masterson uses the entirety of the small stage to reveal the darkest recesses of this epic battle of wills between man and dog. Plots are hatched. Fantasies are spun. Opportunities taken. It is a sign of character that Nelson is able to rise above these foolish webs laid at his feet by a mere human. Nelson is channelled through his rival, with Masterson performing every snarl, growl and sniff of contempt. In suitable tones, he explains Nelson's stratagems: exploring the options that could lead to victory over the new would-be Alpha male.
As an award-winning actor and story teller, Masterson is a great gift to the stage. Extensive experience of one-man shows means that the audience is in the hands of a consummate professional. That is, once the story gets going. I think the preamble, where he explains the genesis of the show, while 'enjoying' a cold jacuzzi in a bargain four star spa retreat with his wife, does not work so well. Hearing Masterson relating Brigitta's question 'Why can't you be more funny? led me to think, at that time, she may have a point mate. Fortunately once the main course is delivered, it is no dog's dinner. The story is taut: Masterson's exasperation palpable as failure is piled upon defeat.
The delivery is flawless but Masterson is an honest man. This is his first foray into standup and I suspect he has stuck too closely to the truth and, in doing so, has sacrificed some laughs for the sake of integrity. A more experienced comic may well have hanged truth from the nearest lamppost and had the audience rolling in the aisles.
A certain truth is this: Masterson has a problem. He thinks it is all over but it isn't. Guy Masterson is suffering from PTPS: post traumatic pet syndrome. (Martin Veart - Edinburgh 49+3 18/08/16)

What happens when you fall for a gorgeous German model with a manipulative uber-intelligent rabbit-hunting dog? Guy Masterson (pictured) can tell you, and does in his one man show Love and Canine Integration.
In this autobiographical confession, Masterson takes us through the many intricacies of his life with Brigitta and her hellhound Nelson, a patch-eyed cutie who bit, fought, and outmanoeuvred Masterson at every stage of his early days with Brigitta, and continued to blight his marriage.
Masterson is a master of delivery, and can impersonate Nelson to a canine T. We can actually see the little shite as he claims his rightful place as the number one man in Brigitta's life. Even the birth of the Masterson first child did not shake Nelson's certainty - he knew who his progeny was.
This is an amusing and entertaining hour. Masterson has a good grip on his script and carries his audience with him. It's good fun, witty and very entertaining. (Ros Mackenzie - Lothian Life 11/08/16)

Guy Masterson has several shows at the Fringe and is a prolific writer, performer, producer and director. This one is personal, looking as it does at how he and his wife came together and how his wife's little dog nearly tore them apart.
An enertaining ramble through Guy's relationship with ';Ze bastard';, as he renamed the dog, and a nice break for those on a theatre binge at the fringe. (Anon - UK Theatre Web - 18/08/16)

After some of the Fringe's eclectic fare what a relief it is to sit down and enjoy an hour of a Guy Masterson show, safe in the knowledge ones seeing a consummate professional at work. This year he's bravely offering a comic monologue based on his own experiences of courting his beautiful wife Brigitta and discovering, to his horror, that she has another all-important man in her life, her German Spitz Nelson. Once he starts relating the main story we accelerate into overdrive and all proceeds at a cracking pace.
Masterson knows he has won the lottery of life in finding Brigitta and such luck brings inevitable sacrifice, in this case much of his sanity over the ensuing years. As relayed by Masterson Nelson is no ordinary dog. An animal who can defecate at random and has an uncanny ability to predict Masterson's actions, an epic battle of wills commences with the dog invariably triumphant.
Hatching plots that would credit any criminal mastermind (like sneaking Nelson surreptitiously into Britain via hovercraft) Masterson does his level best to try and maintain his equilibrium which is a challenge in the face of Brigitta's adoration for her pooch and his thinly veiled contempt which often escalates into all-out war.
Masterson is a superb storyteller and he brings Nelson to life so vividly one can see the dog in all his glory, every snarl, sniff and gesture of canine disdain conjured with absolute veracity. A treat for dog-lovers and naysayers everywhere. (Amanda Hodges - Essential Surrey- 22/08/16)

2014 - 2018 ANTHEM FOR A DOOMED YOUTH (various)

Guy Masterson in Anthem for a Doomed YouthCompiled and Performed by Guy Masterson

Premiered: Assembly Festival at Edinburgh 2014

UK Domestic Touring to present.

A compilation of WW1 poetry and short stories from both sides of No-Man's Lan. The show was a sell-out success at the Edinburgh Festival before embarking on a limited autumn tour.

The show will tour until 2018.

REVIEWS - Edinburgh 2014

';Guy Masterson gives voice to the 'timeless and harrowing' words of the War Poets
In his 21st season at the Edinburgh Festival as, variously, director, producer and performer, Guy Masterson has taken a half-step back from the entirely theatrical here, to present an informal but appropriately-staged spoken word tribute to those who died in the First World War through the medium of some of the era's great war poetry.
It's a simple but effective proposition, enhanced no end by the smartness and gravitas of Masterson's performance, where his ability as an actor adds more weight to even these timeless and often harrowing works.
He explains early on that his intention isn't to dance around the build-up and fallout of the war, but to dig deep amidst the viscera of the trenches and to reflect the experiences of the men who fought and died there.
He introduces each new poet as their words enter the fray, and their personae are audibly different. Wilfred Owen, author of the titular piece, is clear-eyed and descriptive, as is Siegfried Sassoon, although his evocation of both the action and the carnage it wreaks is more frayed with nerves in Masterson's reading.
There's a more wordy literary quality to Isaac Rosenberg's In the Trenches, a particular favourite of our host's, while Irish politician Thomas Kettle's To My Daughter Betty, The Gift of God , a gift for her to take into life and adulthood after his inevitable death, is heart-breaking.
There's also an excerpt from Erich Maria Marquez' All Quiet On the Western Front, while the only slight misfire is Masterson's own The Christmas Truce, invented from accounts of the day - not because it isn't arresting, but because it appears to be an intended short play for two performers.'; (David Pollock - The Big Issue - 21/08/14)

';In this centenary year of World War One, I felt it would be appropriate to include one of the many shows in this year's Fringe and Festival which cover this subject. I chose this one as I was attracted by the fact that it was to be performed by Guy Masterson, a stalwart supporter of the Fringe who has directed and performed in many successful productions over the last twenty one years.
The proposition is a simple one - Masterson is alone on an empty stage with a large folder full of poems, stories and letters written by the men who fought in and experienced the horrors of war and many of whom lost their lives there.
However this is not simply a reading of these works - Masterson is an accomplished actor and from the outset, he brings the words and scenes alive to us in a most moving and powerful way. With effective lighting and a background soundtrack of machine gun fire, we are conveyed to the trenches and we can almost see the battlefield and feel the fear and helplessness.
There are poems from well-known British war poets Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brook, Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg, writings from the German side such as Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front and lesser known works such as the heartbreaking poem by Irishman Thomas Kettle 'To My Daughter Betty, Gift of God'. Knowing he will not come back from the war and knowing he will be vilified by some for fighting for the British, he writes a farewell to her and to tell her why he and others like him died: ';they died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor, but for a dream born in a herdsman's shed and for the secret scripture of the poor';.
It is not all relentless doom and gloom - there are a couple of lighter hearted pieces on the banter between the two sides at the Christmas truce and on the ingenious methods employed by the men against the problem of body lice.
Always, though, there is the constant and underlying presence of danger, death and dying. This is a poignant reminder of what others suffered and endured for us and the warning against glorification of war that is Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est' is a fitting way to finish.'; (Irene Brownlee - East Coast FM - 18/08/14)

';By turns harrowing, tender and witty, Guy Masterson's one-man commemoration of the soldiers of the First World War is a poetry reading of first-class calibre. With over a hundred shows during the course of twenty-one years at the Fringe, Guy Masterson has had plenty of time to cut his teeth as a performer, director and producer. This experience shows: he knows how to make an audience feel at home with off-the-cuff stage patter, providing light relief from some of the heavier material.
Taking its title from Wilfred Owen's poem of the same name (Owen's work features predominantly in the show), Masterson works his way through the poetry of not only the household names of English poets such as Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and Rupert Brooke but also that of Irish, French and German writers, each of which is introduced with a short biography. His renditions of classic pieces such as Brooke's The Soldier and Owen's Anthem For Doomed Youth and Dulce et Decorum Est are all delivered with a range of inflection and sense of pace that would make even the most accomplished poet jealous. Moreover, his presentation of poets to whom posterity has not been kind, such as the Irishman Tom Kettle, is an inspired directorial decision.
Despite his opening claim of not wanting to 'appropriate' the testaments of these men, Masterson is not afraid of upping the ante in some of the more dramatic pieces. At times, I felt that this detracted somewhat from the sentiment behind the poems, which are after all personal documents and not scores for dramatic exposition. This, coupled with the fact that during these pieces his delivery tended to be all one plane (one of panic and terror), made these the least effective weapons in Masterson's poetic arsenal.
By far the strongest point of the show is Masterson's own fictional account of the Christmas Truce of 1914. Spurred on by the fact that there has been surprisingly little written about it, Masterson has woven his own comic dialogue between Fritz and Tommy on Christmas Eve, 1914. Like his patter between readings and then some, this vignette strikes exactly the right balance between pathos and comedy. Simply put, this show cements Masterson's reputation as a master of his art.'; (Rik Baker - Broadway World - 14/08/14)

';Anthem for a Doomed Youth is Guy Masterson's new work in commemoration of the Centenary of the Great War. The show is a compilation of some of the finest poetry and literature from WW1 condensed into an hour of theatre, featuring the works of well known British poets Owen, Sassoon and Brooke, but also hitherto little known French and German authors including an excerpt from Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front.
Guy Masterson has been a Fringe regular for over twenty years. He introduces Anthem for a Doomed Youth as a tribute to those who fought in the First World War. As in most of his shows there is no elaborate set; however for this show he has also stepped back from character acting and appears as himself, simply carrying a folder containing the poems. He is at pains to point out that he has a script because he wants us to remember that these are the words of others and that he does not intend to appropriate them. Having said that he clearly knows the text he is working with very thoroughly; the show is not simply a rehearsed reading.
Although there is no set he does make good use of lighting and of sound - mostly that of the haunting thump of heavy artillery and shells falling, but also the gentle music of an andante referred to in one of the poems.
The choice of what to include must have been a challenging task with so much fine work to choose from. The result is a number of pieces from well known British poets: Owen, Sassoon and Brooke, but also hitherto little known German authors including an excerpt from Marque's All Quiet On The Western Front and a French poet Paul Granier. Granier's work (trans Higgins) provides a striking contrast to the lyrical expressions of many of the British poets that we are familiar with - his work comprising short, hard hitting lines and vivid images: 'Juddering iron buckets clanging, jerking deadweight chains clanking' and Masterson delivers the lines with a punch that hits you in the guts. However, it isn't all guns and gore; there are lighter moments - of the camaradie, the writing home to families, the imaginative ways of dealing with lice...
His presentation approach spans traditional reading and very expressive dramatic portrayals. His powerful delivery together with the variety in pace ensures that the mid-afternoon audience are never tempted to let their concentration slip. He is particularly skilled at addressing the audience with great warmth, almost as a group of friends with whom he is sharing both the poems and something of the background and biography of the poet (very few of whom survived the war).
He has also included one example of a letter home and an imagined scene in no man's land on Christmas Eve 1914. Both added to the story but, as single examples of each genre, sat a little awkwardly - hopefully he will consider adding a little more of that kind of material in the future for balance.
At sixty minutes this show felt just right for a fringe event; however, I also felt there is scope to develop it and add more (or possibly reintroduce some of those pieces that I suspect were hard to leave out in the first place) to create a full length show.
Overall, it is a powerful and moving piece; an hour where you feel you have stepped out of this frantic modern world into another, completely different one. A place where everyone's life was dominated by the war. It took me a little while to adjust to the noise and bustle of the festival and Edinburgh streets as I left; a measure of the impact it had.'; (Kate Saffin - - 14/08/14)

';Guy Masterson is known for his one-man shows and his amazing memory. For this production, however, he chooses to keep the book in his hand as he does not wish it to appear as if he owns the material.
This sensitive introduction to the show firmly places it as a tribute and allows Masterson to show part of his own personality for a change. His own warmth and his clear respect for these men shines through in this and all his introductions to the various pieces.
It is not, however, just a collection of poems read aloud. Masterson acts the pieces, aided by sound effects and dimmed lights, creating an atmosphere that is sombre but subtle enough to let the imagery in the poems remain the key.
Masterson creates many different characters and, even with such serious subject matter, manages to pepper the gloom with a few laughs from his German and English Christmas day conversation in the trenches.
At times quiet and reflective, at others loud and desperate Masterson uses all of his experience to create light and shade in what could have been a depressing show.
This, instead, is a moving collection of poems written by soldiers on all sides of the conflict. Some are recognisable, others less so, but Guy delivers them all with equal passion and heart.'; (Amy Yorston - British Theatre Guide - 13/08/14)

';Guy Masterson gives voice to the 'timeless and harrowing' words of the War Poets
In his 21st season at the Edinburgh Festival as, variously, director, producer and performer, Guy Masterson has taken a half-step back from the entirely theatrical here, to present an informal but appropriately-staged spoken word tribute to those who died in the First World War through the medium of some of the era's great war poetry.
It's a simple but effective proposition, enhanced no end by the smartness and gravitas of Masterson's performance, where his ability as an actor adds more weight to even these timeless and often harrowing works.
He explains early on that his intention isn't to dance around the build-up and fallout of the war, but to dig deep amidst the viscera of the trenches and to reflect the experiences of the men who fought and died there.
He introduces each new poet as their words enter the fray, and their personae are audibly different. Wilfred Owen, author of the titular piece, is clear-eyed and descriptive, as is Siegfried Sassoon, although his evocation of both the action and the carnage it wreaks is more frayed with nerves in Masterson's reading.
There's a more wordy literary quality to Isaac Rosenberg's In the Trenches, a particular favourite of our hosts, while Irish politician Thomas Kettle's To My Daughter Betty, The Gift of God, a gift for her to take into life and adulthood after his inevitable death, is heart-breaking.'; (David Pollock - The Big Issue - 07/08/14)

';Guy Masterson has been producing hit Fringe shows for over two decades. This year, however, he is on stage immersing the audience in the horrors young men had to endure in the hell of the trenches of the First World War.
The show starts explosively, literally, as with sound effects he acts out a harrowing extract from a short story encapsulating the terror men in the tranches felt as they were subjected to the relentless shelling in their squalid lice infected pits. With poems and short stories from British and German soldiers we experience vocally the annihilation of young men whose lives were brutally truncated in pursuit of patriotism.
Masterson engages wholeheartedly in the words of these soldiers who put pen to paper to recount the horrors they witnessed. The title of the show - Anthem for a Doomed Youth - was written by Wilfred Owen when he recovering from shell shock at Craiglockart War Hospital here in Edinburgh in l917. He returned to the front and was killed in action a week before Armistice was announced.
If you want to be reminded of the courage these young men displayed in the most appalling conditions then I highly recommend this moving show.'; (Barbara Ryan - Edinburgh Guide - 07/08/14)

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2012 - 2013 THE HALF by Richard Dormer

Guy Masterson in The HalfWritten by Richard Dormer
Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by David Calvitto

Premiered Adelaide Fringe 2012 (The Centre For International Theatre)

Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 2012

Domestic UK Tour through 2013.

A 50 year old actor, down on his luck, attempts to reverse his fortunes by doing a one man show. Nothing new there... except that he's chosen Shakespeare's Hamlet - uncut - four-and-a-half hours!

He's sold his car and his father's gold watch to pay for it all and his wife has left him. Everything rides on it's sucess. It's his opening night - 35 minutes before curtain up (The Half) and he is starting to unravel... Will he even make it to the stage or will he self-destruct?

This is hysterical stuff by an extraordinary team: performed, directed and written by consecutive winners of the prestigious Stage Award for Best Actor at Edinburgh - Guy Masterson (2001), David Calvitto (2002) and Richard Dormer (2003)

REIVEWS: Adelaide 2012

';It's an hour before the curtain goes up and the actor contemplates his folly - two years of his life spent producing an epic one-man production of Hamlet. Will he succeed, or will he fail, bringing about his own disastrous public humiliation. Most likely the latter, he is certain. But no!
This is his time to shine, to prove the doubters wrong, to scale the heights he knows he is capable of. Or is he?
Guy Masterson's first perforamnce was likely tinged with a few opening night jitters itself, but it did not show. The Half is a very funny play and was especially enjoyed by what seemed to be some thespians in the audience, if the knowing laughs were anything to go by. Masterson is excellent as is this new material.'; (Cameron England - Adelaide Advertiser)

';Richard Dormer's The Half takes the audience into the actor's dressing room, some 35 minutes before the curtain rises on another opening night. It also takes us into the actor's mind. Guy Masterson is totally convincing as the manic player, a man wracked with nerves and devoid of any confidence. Despite my knowledge that Masterson was in control, there were times when I was so completely immersed in the performance that I was genuinely concerned that the character may come unstuck.
Although touted as a comedy, there's more than a whiff of tragedy about the actor and the circumstances that have delivered him to this shambolic state. This solo performance must be quite a challenge; the monologue is pacey and the action is physical. All in a day's work for Guy Masterson. Witnessing the spectacle of a man having a sword fight with himself is worth the admission price alone. There's plenty more besides. Final Word: Whole!'; (David Robinson - Rip It Up Adelaide)

';Guy Masterson's presence once again fills the theatre and he demonstrates his power and command over this play with ease and expertise. This one-man show runs parallel to Hamlet, drawing on similar themes and scenes stirring emotions from a wide spectrum. The story deviates and digresses, but Masterson is entertaining and compelling as he draws the audience into the scene and giving them a taste of backstage theatrics and drama.
The story starts with an actor experiencing pre-performance jitters 35 minutes before the curtains are raised. He tries to calm down with self-analytical ramblings, exaggerated warm up techniques, and bleak humour. The play progresses in a similar fashion, but the actor delves into deeper, darker parts of his psyche. The audience is drawn into the compelling story with enigmatic clues and keepsakes that are eventually explained. The actor's initial charm and humour create an instant connection with the audience and subsequently they are prone to championing him and hoping that he rises out of the swirling madness triumphant.
Masterson gives an inimitable performance and plays the role to perfection-he is witty, charming, despondent, and vulnerable all at once. He is not afraid to leap and dance all over the stage and effect his emotions entirely. it is probably just as well that this is a one-man show as Masterson sets a very high standard and displays his passion for the theatre and embraces his character in a very unique way. The audience has a chance to appreciate Masterson's stirring performance.
The evening was a resounding success with Masterson taking centre stage and delighting once again. He is one of the few actors who are not afraid to consolidate their presence and control with enormous gestures and physical action. This Hamletesque play will stir a range of emotions from melancholy to elation and everything in between. If Masterson's backstage theatrics were anything to go by, it would certainly be a treat to watch him in a one-man production of Hamlet! (Prema Ashok - FringeReview)

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2011 - 2019 SHYLOCK by Gareth Armstrong

Guy Masterson in ShylockWritten & Directed byGareth Armstrong
Performed by Guy Masterson

Premiered Adelaide Fringe 2011 (Royalty Theatre)

Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 2011 & 2012

UK & International tours to present

NOMINATED: The Stage Award - Best Solo Performance, 2011

Villain..? Victim..? or is Shylock someone even more intriguing?

SHYLOCK is one of only two Jewish men in the whole of Shakespeare. Throughout history, he has been portrayed in ways which reflected the way Jews were popularly viewed - from Comic Villain in Shakespeare's day to victim of racial discrimination nowadays. His has always been a controversial character, but to understand him, one needs to place him in the context of his situation.

In this poignant , powerful yet very humorous account, Shylock is explained to us through his (only) friend Tubal via a series of clever impersonations from Pontius Pilate to Edmund Kean, from Portia to Dracula. Leading us through the whole of Shylock's conundrum in The Merchant of Venice - giving a rousing rendition of all of Shylock's scenes and playing all the characters! - Tubal eaves us with a much deeper understanding of the issues that Jews have faced through history since the scriptures were written. And, perhaps even more importantly, and without preaching or teaching, the play spotlights the plight of any victimised minority.

Gareth Armstrong's Shylock is rightly one of the world's most successful solo shows, and here, Guy Masterson, perhaps the world's leading exponent of the solo form, demonstrates its brilliance, honouring one of Shakespeare's finest creations from one of his greatest plays in a performance that celebrates the beauty of language, the power of history and the magic of theatre!

REVIEWS: Edinbuergh 2011

';Gareth Armstrong was nominated for The Stage's acting award in 1998 for his solo show on Shakespeare's Venetian Jew, and now Guy Masterson, who produced him then, returns to play the role himself directed by Amstrong. The differences between the two are instructive, because while Armstrong inhabited the character, Masterson always - deliberately - remains a little outside him.
His mode is that of a really, really good teacher sharing his excitement and love of the material in an irresistibly infectious way, so that the end product is just as enthralling, though perhaps not quite as moving.
Armstrong's text actually begins with the lesser character of Shylock's Jewish friend Tubal, and thus invites an external relation to the moneylender, as do the thoroughly researched and fascinating digressions into the history of Jews in British history and drama and in the later theatrical history of Shakespeare's play.
Of course the script does keep returning to Shakespeare's text, with Masterson offering intelligent readings of all Shylock's major scenes while also stepping back to comment on them.
In Masterson's hands, with Armstrong now directing, the play may not move you to tears, but it is likely to send you eagerly to the next opportunity to see The Merchant of Venice itself.'; (Gerald Berkowitz - The Stage - 16/08/11)

';Edinburgh is the home of the solo show and, all too often, the home of the tedious solo show. This play bucks that trend with great writing from Gareth Armstrong (and William Shakespeare) and a perfect performance from Guy Masterson as the put-upon Venetian Jew and his friend Tubal, whose calm perspective is valuable, as hatred takes over from business. Shylock works because it sets The Merchant of Venice and its central figure in perspective. The play looks at the Jewish experience in Europe over five or so centuries leading up to the play, culminating not only with Shylock but a brief burst of Barabbas from Marlowe's The Jew of Malta. It also traces Shakespeare's source to help viewers to understand where this creation came from. However, the main reason for rushing to Assembly Hall is to see Guy Masterson, under the direction of the writer, who has himself performed the monologue around the globe, affectionately playing Shylock but also those around him. He is especially good as the calmly cruel Portia, who takes anti-Semitism to a new level, at least on one reading of the text and context.'; (Philip Fisher - Theatreguide London 10/08/11)

';Guy Masterson presents the masterpiece that is Gareth Armstrong's Shylock in a characteristic display of exhilarating talent. The show sees Tubal (Masterson), the one and only friend of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, lead us through the literary representation of Jews throughout history focussing, of course, on Shakespeare's infamous villain.
Armstrong conveys to us the idea that Shylock's unreasonable and unrelenting demand for his 'pound of flesh' is not indicative of Shakespeare's anti-Semitism, rather a comment on the extreme behaviours that can result when a minority is shunned, ignored and ridiculed. Armstrong, like Tubal himself, makes no attempt to convince the audience of Shylock's amiability or innocence, rather he forces us to empathise with unreasonable behaviour; social exile can provoke acts of hatred.
The writing is spectacular; a recurring theme seems to be that of the 'story behind the legend' which extends beyond Shylock to incorporate Shakespeare's wider work, Biblical tales, and Nazi horror stories. Without seeming educational it is full to the brim with interesting literary facts and historical trivia ranging from Abraham to Barbara Streisand. The staging is simple yet thoughtful and the wall-like banners graffittied with the word 'Jew' in different languages underlines the idea of separatism and exclusion as a universal vice.
Masterson's performance is everything you would expect from such a legendary solo performer. The actor's own charisma ensnares us from the start whilst creating a truly textured character in Tubal, the perpetual understudy, the faithful friend. Tubal's good natured narrative manages to convey to us the horror of certain moments of Jewish persecution without instilling guilt or shame: we understand how hateful acts are not necessarily personal, simply ignorant, misguided and utterly useless.
Shylock gives us everything we want from theatre: an informative and thought-provoking story, a solid hour of comedic entertainment and a stunning display of talent. As an example of what theatre strives to achieve, this is a must see.'; (Phoebe Ladenburg - - 06/08/11)

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2007 - 2013 AMERICAN POODLE by Brian Parks & Guy Masterson

Guy Masterson in American PoodlePart 1: Written & Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Peter McNally

Part 2: Written by Brian Parks
Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by David Calvitto

Premiered:Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 2007.

Adelaide Festivals 2008 & 2011.

UK & International touring to 2013

Ever wondered how Britain managed to lose the American colonies?
And what do Americans REALLY think of us?

In Part 1, Guy Masterson tells all in this scatalogically insane, hilariously absurd history lesson as he dissects the events that led to our inept loss of North America; from the Mayflower to the Boston Massacre... If you thought your knew it, think again!

In part 2, a rose-spectacled American businessman arrives in quaint old London to take home some real history in the meantime regaling us with his painfully worrying observations about the old country...

';This is laugh-out-loud comedy and caustic satire rolled into an eye-popping, mouth watering not-to-be-missed performance by a world renowned storyteller at the top of his game.'; (Adelaide Advertiser, 2008)

';American Poodle is an elegantly crafted, brilliantly acted two-part play that is just a few brush strokes short of being a masterpiece. Guy Masterson is extraordinary, creating characters without visibly moving a muscle, as he takes an irreverent look at the historical British/US ';special relationship'; through a powerfully eccentric lens.
The play sparkles with witty self-awareness. It feels positively Greek or even Freudian in its lament about fate and consequences. What makes the two pieces memorable is the precision of their tone, and the finely calibrated combination of bitterness, humour, factual information and warmth. Of course Masterson's acting is tremendous - who would expect anything less? With strong, evocative storytelling, and a sensibility that perfectly matches the script, it's easy to get caught in Masterson's grip.
In Part one, a British bulldog delivers some John Bull about the founding, colonisation and ultimate loss of the American colonies to the treacherous, ungrateful colonists. During the second act, an American businessman visits London, where everyone is either a Reeve or a Franklin. He marvels at everything from Ye Olde Worlde Heathrow Airport to black cabs looking like hearses for midgets and how the British politely use escalators.
American Poodle is full of surprises and unfolds with consummate ease. This all makes for a deeply entertaining experience that engages the mind as well as the funny bone.'; (Stephen Davenport, Adelaide Independent Weekly 08/03/08)

';When Guy Masterson takes you on a journey, strap yourself in as it's a full-throttle ride! In his latest Fringe offering, written by himself and Brian Parks, the master story-teller ducks and weaves through the pivotal events that led to the American War of Independence.
Masterson explores the basis of America's ';freedom at all costs'' world view with nothing but an arsenal of energetic monologue and a sharp edged wit. In the first of two parts, we travel with the pioneering Anglo-American settlers as they rebel against the demands of their far away motherland and struggle for their freedom.
Fast forward past civil war, international diplomatic situations, the mass genocide of countless native Americans and one giant tea party, and we are presented with a wide-eyed account of London through the eyes of an American business man. Full of hilarious observations, Masterson delivers a rapid-fire account about the enduring pleasantries of the English, while proving that not everything is as it seems. As with previous Fringe shows by Masterson, you're guaranteed engaging, physically vibrant theatre that- shouldn't be missed. In short: Turbo-charged history.'; (Rosetta Mastrantone, Adelaide Advertiser 04/03/08)

';Welsh actor/director Guy Masterson presents an intriguing look at the love/hate relationship between the American and British colonies in their early days. Masterson skilfully and energetically plays the role of both Briton and American in a two-part show, hardly missing a beat with quotes, dates and the odd bit of humour thrown in. While this show should appeal to the history buffs and threatreheads there's just one tip for Guy - he'll need a big stock of T-shirts over the next few weeks. By the end of act one the poor bugger was dripping in perspiration from racing around the stage and climbing on and over chairs and a table. But it's a good show, no sweat.'; (Gordon Armstrong, Adelaide Messenger 27/02/08)

';This is actually two extremely funny trans-Atlantic pieces; the first, Snowball, looking at the discovery, settlement and independence of America, from a uniquely British standpoint, the second, Splayfoot, presenting a not too bright American relating his day in England for a secret, shady business meeting, from his arrival at the airport to the transaction. This is typical of Guy Masterson's work; minimal props and set with the emphasis placed firmly on the text and the actor. It takes an actor of considerable ability to handle this type of performance and Masterson fits the bill. You'll be sorry if you miss this!'; (Barry Lenny, Ripitup Magazine 24/02/08)

2001 - Present FERN HILL & OTHER DYLAN THOMAS adapted by Guy Masterson

Guy Masterson in Fern HillWritten by Dylan Thomas
Adapted & Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Tony Boncza

Premiered: Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 2001
Played Edinburgh 2002 & 2014
Adelaide Festival 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012
UK & International touring to present

WINNER: The Stage Award - Best Actor, 2001

Following the remarkable success of his solo interpretation of Under Milk Wood, which has played over 2000 times all over the globe, Guy Masterson compiled 90 minutes of his favourite 'other works' - rarely heard and rarely performed - by the Welsh Wizard, Dylan Thomas.

The programme includes three of Thomas' wonderful short stories; A Visit To Grandpa's, Holiday Memory and, of course, A Christmas Story (more popularly known as A Child's Christmas in Wales), plus a selection of ten of his greatest poems including, of course, Fern Hill, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night and Death Shall Have No Dominion.

Each element of the production is delivered in Masterson's unique physical performance style, brings each to life with astonishing versatility. His voice, increasingly reminiscent of his great uncle, Richard Burton, Masterson makes the words sing, echo and vibrate in a way that will be remembered for a long time.

';As a fan of Thomas, I remembered clearly Guy Masterson's rendering of the ten poems and three short stories which make up this mini-anthology of Thomas' work, but I had forgotten the extraordinary physicality of his performance. He literally becomes the characters, even if they appear just for a moment. His body and facial expression are constantly changing as he moves from character to character: children, strutting young men, giggling girls, decrepit old men, eccentrics, fat uncles and drunken aunts, all appear before for us for their moment in the spotlight, and then Masterson himself is with us again for a moment or two, before he embarks on another odyssey of characterisation.

It is a tour de force which made the eighty minutes or so pass so quickly that the audience lost all sense of time. He has performed the piece hundreds of times and has clearly been developing and refining it as he has done so. In 2001 I gave it four stars: now it deserves five! (Peter Lathan, British Theatre Guide 2003)

';...sheer, unadulterated pleasure... a solo actor without equal... a master of transformation... a flurry of collective nouns and a beauty of adjectives... the fabulously capable hands of Masterson...joyous and emotive in equal measure...unutterably moving... All are given sumptuous expression in Masterson's energetic, guttural, totally undeniable performance.'; (Mark Brown, Scotland on Sunday

';Immersed in the words of the Welsh master ... The epic slices of Welsh life bring the biggest smiles. But the power of the more introspective works is undeniable ... glorious'; (The Scotsman)

WINNER: STAGE AWARD - BEST ACTOR 2001 ';The actor throws himself into Thomas' short stories and poems, sweating and gesturing with energy born of deep passion for the words...a journey into the heart of Thomas country, with its rich landscapes and unforgettable characters. ...superb timing and clownish glee...Masterson's enthusiasm for his production is unmistakable and infectious - performing at this level, he could make Thomas fans of us all.'; (The Stage)

';Guy Masterson enthusiastically introduces us to instantly recognisable characters... Creeping and prancing around the stage he effectively brings the writing to life, evoking smells and tastes in the process... Worth the ticket price for the description of Thomas' grandad alone.'; (The List)

';A tremendously enjoyable hour and a quarter... Masterson's love of the material shines through - and interestingly, as the programme progresses, the Welsh cadences and vowels grow stronger as Thomas' words work their magic... I thoroughly enjoyed myself!'; (About British Theatre 2001)

';Once or twice at the Fringe you witness a rarity, an artist's great love and enthusiasm for his favourite subject. Such is the case with Guy Masterson's Fern Hill... one of those too rare productions at the festival that leaves us so much richer for the experience. Thank you for allowing us to travel in your knowledge of Dylan Thomas, Mr Masterson'; (John Ritchie, Edinburgh Guide)

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1998 - 2000 A SOLDIER'S SONG by Ken Lukowiak adapted by Guy Masterson

Guy Masterson in A Soldier's SongWritten by Ken Lukowiak
Adapted & Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Tony Boncza

Premiered Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 1998
UK & International touring to 2002

';moving, lethally unsentimental. very grim and very good indeed.'; (Mail On Sunday)

NOMINATED: The Stage Award - Best Actor, 1998

Guy Masterson's powerful adaptation of Ken Lukowiak's brilliant account of his combat experiences during the Falklands War of 1982 was a sell-out success at the 1998 Edinburgh Festival. It since played London's B.A.C., all over the United Kingdom, and has toured to Holland, New Zealand, Ireland and Hungary.

A Soldier's Song brings the battlefield to the stage, giving the audience a strong idea of what it is like to be under fire, to kill or be killed, the fundamental horrors of war and the effects it can have on the human soul. It exposes the true nature of soldiery from mundanity to combat. It gives us all a good reason to think twice about sending our sons off to war. This is the theatre of War and all its facets, invoking the horror, terror and shame of combat, the black humour, futility and tedium of a soldier's life in the front line and the lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress. Deeply disturbing and frightening at times, it is also extremely funny, employing the dark ';squaddie'; humour to offset the darkness. The brutal demotic language and life of the battlefield is brought to vividly to life.

';Masterson's unique brand of poetic performance storytelling is a must-see. Only a few could attempt what he does... fewer still could get away with it.'; (The Times)

';A Soldier's Song is an honest and emotive evocation of life on the front line... an exact insight into the nature of futility... Bravura acting!'; (The Herald)

';Masterson's beautifully understated performance delivers the bullet straight to the brain... It's an A1 top-hole, first class, first hand experience of what an exploding shell can do to human flesh.'; (The Guardian)

';A magnificent, powerfully haunting tour de force. Storm the box office!'; (The List)

';We are transported inside the war itself, it's hard to believe you are watching a play. Brutally honest and unsentimental its the best war movie never made!'; (Evening News)

NOMINATED: THE STAGE - BEST ACTOR, 2008 ';An intense, powerful performance.'; (The Stage)

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1995 - 2015 ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell adapted by Guy Masterson

Guy Masterson in Animal FarmWritten by George Orwell
Adapted & Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Tony Boncza

Premiered Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh January 1995
Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 1995 & 1996 2001 & 2004;
UK & International touring to 2005, 2013-2015

';a theatrical tour de force. Masterson IS animal farm'; (Sunday Times - 16/08/95)

Animal Farm is perhaps the 20th Century's most important work of political satire. It has been translated into over 70 languages and is on academic syllabuses all over the world. Guy Masterson's unique SOLO theatrical interpretation has succeeded in bringing the book to life and making it accessible to all ages in a dramatic physical storytelling that has won world-wide acclaim.

Using nothing but a wooden box, some amazingly creative sound effects and effective lighting, the story is told with clarity, power and truth. Masterson tells the story through the characters, switching from animal to animal, each having a different voice and characterisation. The audience thus follows the narrative. The simplicity and magic of Orwell's fairytale and his allegorical message of betrayed idealism is conveyed with blinding relevance proving the work to be as important today as it was 50 years ago.

';Guy Masterson's totally committed rendition of George Orwell's Animal Farm is as essential a warning today as it was fifty years ago. Masterson does one helluva job in physically telling this story of betrayal and honour, from the initial hope and glory days of the animal's rebellion, to the deterioration toward compromise and corruption. This incredible feat of storytelling is intercut with the odd contemporary political speech. Such juxtaposition gives the moral fable the immediacy of an urgent warning. The physical exertion of this one-man tour de force leaves Masterson dripping with sweat. Orwell's book is perhaps more correct now in its outlook than it was at the time... It's all come to pass exactly as it shows... But it could never happen here, could it? The full houses for this show confirm that this is the right artiste, doing the right piece, at just the right time.'; (The List)

';ANIMAL MAGIC! ... Masterson ignites this famous tale bringing both humour and a sinister aspect to the rhetoric of the upwardly mobile pigs.'; (The Herald 26/01/95)

';The emotional texture of the book is sensitively recreated and the charm and allure of Masterson's performance makes the allegory more disturbing.'; (The Independent 14/08/95)

';Some actors are more equal than others, but few are quite as equal as Guy Masterson!'; (The Times 16/08/95)

';A brilliant adaptation which delights with its physical grace and artistry. It's complex and entirely theatrical; a combination of bravura acting and poetic storytelling which milks new nuance and meaning. A prodigious talent!'; (The Scotsman 13/08/95)

';This is Jackanory for adults!... A real treat! Masterson creates an entire environment in which his audience are as much participants as spectators... Terribly clever and terribly amusing.'; (BBC Radio)

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1994 - Present UNDER MILK WOOD by Dylan Thomas adapted by Guy Masterson

Guy Masterson in Under Milk WoodWritten by Dylan Thomas
Adapted & Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Tony Boncza

Premiered Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh February 1994
Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 1994 & 1996 2000 & 2003; UK & International touring to 2005

';one of the most inventive, remarkable performances of the decade.';

NOMINATED: The Stage Award - Best Actor, 2003

Under Milk Wood is Dylan Thomas' most famous and enduring work now translated into over 50 languages. A favourite since its first broadcast with Richard Burton in January 1954, it brilliantly conjures the intimate dreams and innermost desires of the inhabitants of Llareggub - a small fictional sea-town somewhere in Wales.

Using nothing but a wooden chair, dark glasses, apposite lighting and a beautifully haunting soundscape by Matt Clifford Guy Masterson performs the entire work - playing all 69 characters
men & women, girls and boys - himself! It is unbeleivably recreated and entirely enchanting.
The show is truly remarkable. Commiting the work - word perfectly - to memory is one thing. To perform all the characters in such an engaging, delightful and totally convincing manner is another. Masterson achieves all this and more. The performance is quite simply amazing! The reviews speak for themselves.

Bawdy and beautiful, sad and sensual, through the music of language, it creates indelible, unforgettable images of humanity.

';The sight and sound of Guy Masterson performing Thomas's masterspiece is electrifying. All 69 voices spill form the lips of an actor whose talents are a fitting 50th anniversay tribute to those of the Welsh wizard himself in this refurbished production. No matter how hard you pore over the programmne, you will not find a finer performance in the whole Edinburgh Festival!'; (Jeremy Hodges - The Daily Mail August 4, 2003)

';Marking the 50th Anniversary of Dylan Thomas' death, fellow Welshman Guy Masterson's solo interpretation of Under Milk Wood is an incredible performance. Playing all 69 charaters with outstanding stamina and understanding, Masterson embraces the mammoth task of playing the quaint and cheery citizens.'; (The Herald 11/08/03)

';THE CREAM OF THE CROP! Guy Masterson's much celebrated one-man performance of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood was created in 1994 and returns revamped with a fabulous score by award-winning composer Matt Clifford. From the outset it is utterly spellbinding. But the real trumph is Masterson's vocal precision, which, alnog with a wonderful range of gestures and movements, allow the audience to really feel they have experiences life in the village and shared desires and dreams of the inhabitants.'; (Edinburgh Metro 15/08/03)

';Striking a mildly comical figure, the pyjama-ed Masterson begins to speak and is immediately possessed by the magic of storytelling. It's a huge task to sustain such a incoherent story, but Masterson casts a spell over us. Simply bewitching,'; (Three Weeks 21/08/03)

';THE SOLO VIRTUOSO. Just the 69 characters then? Guy Masterson is everyone of them in Dylan Thomas's enduring play of voices, and somehow makes it all add up! '; (The Scotsman 23/08/03)

';Masterson rises to the challenge with tremendous sensitivity and panache. It's a feat of multiple characterisation, getting right inside the words, swelling them to their fullest extent while stopping short of over inflation. Masterson achieves this through a combination of impeccable timing, vocal dexterity and precise physical control. His smooth shifts in modulation and phrasing, his energetic yet carefully judged additions of gesture and movement, flesh out perfectly Thomas's balance of sweep and intimacy, tenderness and menace, poignancy and absurdity. His characters are assiduously delineated through adjustments in accent, inflection and mannerism. Thomas's bewildering descriptive wordplay is beautifully paced and weighted, frequently punctured by a shrewdly timed drop into pathos and laughter. It's an absorbing, richly entertaining venture.'; (The Guardian 14/02/94)

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1992 - 1994 THE BOY'S OWN STORY by Peter Flannery

Guy Masterson in The Boy's Own StoryWritten by Peter Flannery
Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Tony Boncza

Premiered Christ's Hospital Theatre, Horsham September 1991
UK touring until 1993

';The loneliness of the long-distance goalkeeper';

NOMINATED: London Fringe Awards - Best Actor, 1993

NOMINATED: London Fringe Awards - Best Solo Play, 1993

A bttersweet tale of a troubled lad with an amazing talent for goalkeeping... The Boy's Own Story was Peter Flannery's first full length play produced at the Contact Theatre, Manchester in 1978. An updated version was produced in 1991 with Guy Masterson playing the goalkeeper.

The monologue furnished an ';acute anatomy of individuality'; ...the desire to dare to be different and the dangers of actually being so in an intolerant society.

As the final whistle sounds, the only thing that gives him hope is his belief in his talent. ';You'll never beat me. You could never beat me!'; leaving the field of play having displayed his agility and brilliance... while never having touched the ball...

';Guy Masterson plays a moody, paranoid, disintegrating goalie in Peter Flannery's one-man play about soccer. It says some serious things about the commercial exploitation of the short-lived pro sportsman and about the loneliness of the imaginative misfit. A rich 45 minutes each way with a totally authentic performance from Mr Masterson.'; WEEKEND CHOICE (Michael Billington - The Guardian 09/05/92)

';A fascinating and riveting play. Guy Masterson gives a marvellous and enthralling performance as McKenna. He throws himself around the astroturf goalmouth at the Chelsea Centre, managing to reveal his emotion and anxieties while completing hundreds of spectacular saves. Supporters of the game will love Masterson. His obsession with the game and what makes it tick is obvious and his electric portrayal, performed at a wonderful pace will ensure that audiences will be over the moon.'; (The Times 01/05/92)

';In Peter Flannery's excellent, engrossing one-man play, Guy Masterson, as Goalkeeper John McKenna, gives one of the finest performances I have seen on the fringe in a long time. He throws himself about the stage making save after spectacular save while maintaining an intense and personal relationship with his audience. A character that never slips and constantly surprises, and a control over his material that few can master. A great performance in an excellent play. See it.'; (What's On 06/05/92)

';An extraordinary one-man goal-mouth show with Guy Masterson... At the end of the 90 minutes, the lad done great!'; (Time Out 03/05/92)

';Masterson's fine, energetic performance combines all-stage dynamism with emotional control and clever parody. He hurls himself round the set and flings himself into impressions of football commentators. He manages to imply much more than he says, to insinuate intelligence...'; (Financial Times 02/05/92)

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