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The MSC Podcast

Warning: This episode contains language that some people might find offensive.

In this episode Gina and John talk about the fourth Manchester Shakespeare Company production, 'Summer Dreaming 1973'  an irreverent musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.  First performed at Manchester Three Minute Theatre (3MT) in July 2015

The show includes five original songs, a Marxist/Leninist version of 'Pyramus and Thisbe, arranged marriages, a Glam Rock transformation, the invention of 'Dogging', a talent show, Feminism in action, Theatrical Class Warfare, a bitter custody battle, and the unexpected effects of the Equal Pay Act. There are also a couple of rude words!

Set in the early summer of 1973 in the woods around the City of Mancia ‘Summer Dreaming 1973’ follows the lives and loves of four very different couples as they struggle against the odds to make the course of true love run smooth. 

The betrothal of Duke Charles Wilmslow to Lady Diana Expensive is cause for celebration: a concert given by the good people of Mancia in the honour of the ‘happy’ couple. But the workers at Truss & Son, led by Shop Steward Peter Quince, are planning to use the occasion to launch a subversive theatrical attack on the aristocracy.

Further down the social scale a different kind of arranged marriage is causing Hermia Strains a more immediate problem: Her father has promised her hand (and everything else) to boss’s son Donald (Dumbo) Truss, in order to facilitate his rise in polite society. Hermia has other plans though and intends to elope with her penniless true love Leroy Sanders through the enchanted Forest of Ardwick to stay with Leroy’s Gran in Glossop.


Pursued by the furious Donald and his devoted but recently dumped ex, Helena Handcart, the lovers soon become lost in dark woods, frequented by Hippies, Druids, Fairies and that ‘Merry wanderer of the night’ Robin Goodstuff.

Hearts are broken and mended before the night is out and Nick Bottom has the trip of his life when he becomes entangled in a drug-fuelled feud between Oberon and his estranged wife Titania, Queen of the Druids. 

Original Cast:

Aiden J. Harvey Peter Quince/Duke Charles Wilmslow
Dale Vicker Nick Bottom
Sophie Anne Elicott Lady Diana Expensive/Titania
Tony Charnock Oberon/Phil O'Straight
Ellen Rogerson Hermia Strains
Sophie Grace Toland Helena Handcart/Deirdrie
Josh Fyson Leroy Sanders/Snout
Allyn Thomas Robbo Goodstuff
Charlotte Rhodes Frances Flute
Jess Wood: Donald Truss/Snug

The show was written and directed by John Topliff and Gina T. Frost

Music written and arranged by John Topliff and Gina T. Frost.

12 Nights (or w.t.f??)

Warning: This episode contains language that some people might find offensive.

In this episode Gina and John talk about the third Manchester Shakespeare Company production '12 Nights or W.T.F?

This was the play that set the standard for all future productions. A wickedly twisted adaptation of Shakespeare’s gender bending comedy ‘Twelfth Night’. Twelve Nights is a madcap comedy that captures the spirit of the original play with a decidedly modern take on gender and sexuality. After its original production at the Three Minute Theatre in December 2014 '12 Nights' was performed with different casts in many venues including libraries, churches, public squares and festivals.

‘Twelve Nights or WTF?’ tells the story of Horsina Pilton, a rich, successful businesswoman, desperately lovesick for the dishy film actor Oliver De Tabloids who is holed up in the penthouse suite of the Mancia Pilton Hotel. Access to Oliver is jealously guarded by his overbearing PA, Malcolm Fabrese and Oliver is moving to Hollywood in twelve days’ time to work on his next movie.

Meanwhile, Oliver’s boozy, spendthrift Aunt, Tia Maria is also trying to get access to Oliver in order to marry him off to her air-headed Valley Girl protégé Andrea Palemuscht. Things are not going well though and Andrea is about to call it a day, leaving Tia Maria without funding for her liquid lunches.

The arrival of illegal immigrant twins Sebastian and Viola only adds to the complications as Horsina sends Sebastian (disguised as Sebrina) to woo Oliver on her behalf, with hilarious and disturbing consequences for everybody. 

Original Cast:
Sophie Anne Ellicott as Horsina Pilton
Louise Wilson as Tia Maria and Antonia Cruz
Tony Charnock as Malcolm Fabrese
Sophie Grace Toland as Viola and Andrea Palemuscht
Daniel Brotherton as Sebastian/Sebrina
Charlie Colquhoun as Oliver De Tabloids

Written and Directed by John Topliff and Gina T. Frost.
Music written and arranged by John Topliff and Gina T. Frost.


In this first episode, Gina and John talk briefly about the origins of the Manchester Shakespeare Company, from its inception at the Three Minute Theatre in 2013, its first productions and the exciting future that lies ahead.

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