General News

16Jan 14

Reading for May play

We had advertised Ayckbourn and The Time of My Life, which is a possible, but the director Malcolm Barker has learned that perhaps a reasonable number of people might be interested in the May slot, and the cast of that play is relatively small (and fairly strictly defined as to ages). This might give the opportunity to see if we can cast another play Tom Stoppard’s brilliant farce, “On The Razzle”.

Just to see if this is practical for numbers, there is a reading at the Kingsley  Community Centre for Monday 3rd February 2014. If you can make it, please come along, start at 7.30pm. If you cannot but are interested, please let Malcolm know. There is a .pdf file of the script for anyone who wants to have an on screen preview although we will have scripts available on the night.

Here are some details of the play and the characters:


1900 Vienna – costume to be in keeping with the period. The city is going through a fashion craze for all things Scottish, so there should be a lot of tartan (but Joan does not know this yet!).


The play is a farce, in two acts, requiring either 7m/7f or 8m/6f. Set in 1900, the action takes place in various locations: Herr Zangler’sshop; the road to Vienna; Mme Knorr’s shop; a café; Miss Blumenblatt’s apartment and Miss Blumenblatt’s garden, amongst others.

“Why do I have a sense of impending disaster?” Herr Zangler, a linguistically challenged successful greengrocer in suburban Vienna, muses halfway through the first scene. He’s about to go into town to wine and dine a wealthy widowed milliner, Madame Knorr, while packing off his ward and niece Marie to his sister-in-law, Miss Blumenblatt, to prevent her from eloping with an impoverished gentlemen, Sonders. Little does he know that his chief clerk, Weinberl, and apprentice, Christopher, are going to close up shop for a day of adventure on the town, that his niece is wearing a Scottish outfit on precisely the day that everyone in Vienna is in the grips of a Macbeth-and-Sir- Walter-Scott-inspired highland fashion craze, and that all these people, along with his fiancee’s widowed friend, Frau Fischer, his newly

hired servant, Melchior, and various waiters, policemen and servants, including a rump-obsessed coachman, will end up, in various disguises, tartans and states of dress and undress in the same fashionable restaurant.

“One false move,” Zangler concludes, “and we’ll have a farce on our hands.”

Character Notes

There are 8 major characters (3m/4f, 1m/f) to be played by a single actor each and around 21 other parts to be played by 2f and 3m actors, doubling-up with between 2 and 4 roles each. The “other” parts are anything but minor. The play is a real ensemble piece and  everyone has a decent chunk of the play to work on. Additionally, two actors might be portraying “Lightning”, a horse!

Weinberl (M)

Age 20s – 40s. The head clerk at Zangler’s grocery emporium. Clever, witty, easily bored. Decides to go ‘On The Razzle’ to Vienna while Zangler is away.

Christopher (F)

Age 20s – 40s. The male junior clerk at Zangler’s shop. Younger than Weinberl, but respects him deeply. Happy to go along with any scheme of Weinberl’s. Traditionally played by an actress.

Zangler (M)

Age 40s – 60s. Owner of Zangler’s grocery emporium. Employer of Weinberl and Christopher. Engaged to Madame Knorr. Perpetually angry and prone to spoonerisms and malapropisms.

Melchior (M/F)

Age 20s – 40s. Zangler’s new manservant. Cheeky and sharp, but still ends up outwitted by the two shop-boys. Ideally a male part but could be played by  a woman.

Marie (F)

Age 20s – 30s. Zangler’s niece and his ward. Works in the shop. Pretty and clever. Loves Sonders and dreams of marrying him.

Sonders (M)

Age 20s – 30s. Marie’s penniless lover. Despised by Zangler, owing to his lack of prospects.

Madame Knorr (F)

Age 30s – 50s. Zangler’s fiancee. Owns and manages a fashionable haberdasher shop in the centre of Vienna.

Frau Fischer (F)

Age 30s – 50s. A wealthy widow. Friend of Mme Knorr. Weinberl pretends to be her husband in order to avoid Zangler in Vienna.

Other named characters with fewer lines are also available and will be doubled. Below is a chart showing a possible doubling of each character in the play. Characters that may be grouped together to be played by the same actor.









RAGAMUFFIN   (although an ideal role for one of our juniors)



HUPFER (tailor)







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