Tony Hawks Productions Ltd
13th Sep 2019 - 6th Oct 2019
Main House - Pleasance London
7:30pm, 6:30pm, 2:30pm
Please note concession prices are available on matinee performances only
Written by Tony Hawks
Starring Debra Stephenson, Duncan Wisbey, Tony Hawks, Georgina Field and James Thackeray
Midlife Cowboy is a warm, funny and entertaining new musical written by comedian and best-selling author Tony Hawks. Featuring a cast of talented actors and musicians it is tale of heartache, love, and friendship with some great new country, blues, romantic and comedy songs. The show follows the fortunes of the members of the Swindon Country and Western Club as they discover the true nature of heroism in their bid to end many years of hurt by finally winning first prize at the prestigious local Railway Museum Gala Evening !
The stakes are high but this is not just about country music. A marriage is in crisis, friendships are at risk, there is more than a sniff of infidelity in the air, and lives are changed when two new members to the club arrive and turn everything upside down.
Midlife Cowboy is packed full of warm, funny, moving and very entertaining songs (Sir Tim Rice)
charming, funny and touching (Helen Fielding)
A joyous show with a lot of laughter and silliness (Andy Hamilton)
Huge fun to perform in, with some cracking original country songs that I hum to this very day (Ben Miller)
A beautiful, funny and moving musical about the bumpy ride through middle aged love and how to get back in the saddle no matter how saddle sore you might be! (Caroline Quentin)
Debra Stephenson stars as Jane, a country music loving puppet-maker who is trying to save her failing marriage and revive their home based Cowboy Club. Debra is one of Britain’s most talented actors and impressionists and her credits include Coronation Street, Bad Girls, Dead Ringers, The Impressions Show and most recently The Imitation Game. Tony Hawks plays her midlife crisis suffering husband Stuart. A regular on many of BBC Radio 4's best loved comedy programmes including Just a Minute, I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue and The Unbelievable Truth. Tony is also one of the UK's most successful authors having written many best selling books including Round Ireland with a Fridge. Their friends include Duncan Wisbey (Graham) an actor, musician and impressionist best known for Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression, Dead Ringers, Four in a Bed, The Hive and Ultimate Brain, Georgina Field (Penny) whose multiple skills have led her to perform in numerous musicals around the UK including Godspell, Salad Days, The Phantom of the Opera and Guys & Dolls and James Thackeray (Dan), an outstanding young actor who has been seen in Doctor Who and is soon to appear in Trainspotting: Live at the Edinburgh Fringe
Director - Tony Hawks
Set & Costume Designer - Edward Lidster
Lighting Designer - Ben Jacobs
Sound Designer - Chris Mock
Graphic Designer - Steph Pyne
Company Stage Manager - Amy Spall
Open/closeReviews and Quotations
Tony Hawks talks about Midlife Cowboy
Q: What can you tell us about Midlife Cowboy?
A: Midlife Cowboy is a new comedy musical about a couple, Jane and Stuart, who run a cowboy club in the garage on the side of their house in Swindon. Their marriage is in crisis, something happens that makes it feel threatened and the whole show is about how they bring it all back together.
With the help of their friends Graham, Penny and Dan they learn how to communicate and reconnect and retrieve their life and marriage and then attempt to end many years of hurt by finally winning first prize at the prestigious Railway Museum Gala Evening - and along the way discover the true nature of heroism.
There is a lot of fun and music along the way and, even though I say so myself, lots of great songs !
Q: How did the show come about?
A: It had a somewhat unusual birth as I originally wrote it because a friend of mine was putting on a one act show in a theatre many years ago which was set in a cowboy bar room set and needed something for the second half so he asked me to write something that could work in that environment. It was called The Heartbreak Kid, had just a few songs and starred me and Ben Miller but that gave me the idea for Midlife Cowboy although it took a couple of decades for me to have the time to sit down and turn the initial thought into a full length musical.
Q: You are perhaps best known for your best selling books and Radio 4 comedy work so had you always wanted to write a musical as well?
A: Yes, very much so and long before I became a comedian or wrote the books. I wanted to be a songwriter while I was still at school and I was a finalist three years in a row for the Vivian Ellis Prize for young composers for the musical stage so in a way I’ve always wanted to do this and have been preparing for many years.
Q: Who is with you in the cast?
A: We’ve got a multi talented cast of actor musicians so they will be like a band at times during the show as we’ll play all the instruments between us.
We are delighted to have the wonderful Debra Stephenson in the lead role of Jane. She is obviously very well known for her roles in shows such as Coronation Street and Bad Girls as well as her amazing skills as an impressionist on Dead Ringers and The Imitation Game but she is also an incredibly talented singer and I think that her songs and performance will make a big impact on audiences.
We’ve also got Duncan Wisbey in the role of Graham. He is probably best known for his impressions on Dead Ringers and Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression and his numerous voice-over work on programmes such as Four in a Bed but he’s a phenomenal musician and a very funny man.
Dan is played by James Thackeray, a young actor who is also a brilliant singer and guitarist and Georgina Field, who plays all sorts of instruments and is a very funny and talented actor and singer, plays the role of Penny.
Q: Why is it set in Swindon?
A: The songs are all my own compositions but are drawn from across more than 20 years of writing so I’ve gone back through my own catalogue to pluck, rewrite and rework them as well as composing several new songs as the script and characters evolved in this new full length version.
One of the songs I wrote many years ago was called Swindon Bound as my response to the many tracks that American artists write about their own cities such as New York, Philadelphia or Chicago. I thought it was about time we hit back and as Swindon Bound is a funny and affectionate tribute to the town I wanted to include it in the show so it then made sense to place the whole musical there as well.
Q: What can the audiences expect?
A: We hope the audiences will have a great night out as we’ve showcased it in various formats during the development and it has always gone down well and got lots of laughs. People seem to enjoy the songs, it’s a fun evening and I also hope they’ll be touched at times as well.
We did a one off charity version of the show with a read and sing through at the Lyric Theatre in the West End with a star studded cast that included Ben Miller, Jack Dee, Alistair McGowan and Doon Mackichan and was introduced by Graham Norton on film and Sir Tim Rice in person.
We were delighted that it got a standing ovation and was a big success and the audience seemed to love it, which gives us a confidence that the show works as it has been tried and tested in front of almost 1000 people.