MF 2015

Search this site
Site search Web search

powered by FreeFind

All Rights Reserved
Text: World Copyright
Martin Foreman

Copyright of pictures acknowledged where possible

J B Priestley's The Rose and Crown Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Following our strong showing in Lochgelly (below), I am pleased to be directing The Rose and Crown at the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

9.10pm, 22 - 27 August
@ theSpace on Niddry Street (Venue 9)

More details on the Arbery Productions website.

copyright Walter Hampson Accepting the third-place award for the Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group ("The Grads")'s production of J B Priestley's The Rose and Crown at the Eastern Divisional Finals of the Scottish Community Drama Association One-Act Festival 2016. The cast below in a thoughtful mood.
In turns comic, moving and spine-chilling, this is a rarely performed but powerful drama by the Yorkshire playwright. In a working-class pub in post-war 1940s London, a group of drinkers are complaining about their lives when a stranger enters and makes an unusual request.

The Rose and Crown J B Priestley 2016


Bookseller, writer, theatre director and occasional actor

My bookselling business - Arbery Books - specialises in old and rare gay, lesbian and transgender books and ephemera, antiquarian (pre-1900) curiosities and erotica, and old and rare science-fiction and fantasy.

As a writer of fiction, I have published two novels and two collections of short stories. One of my novels - The Butterfly's Wing - was published in the UK, US and Taiwan. For twenty years my main income came from research and publication of articles, booklets and books examining the social causes and consequences of HIV/AIDS in the developing world. Some of that archive can be found here. For a few years in the mid 2000s I wrote mostly on atheism. I also spent some time writing about the issues around the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.

Apart from a brief foray in 1995, I began writing for the stage in 2012, to generally good reviews. So far these have been limited to one-actor plays, including Californian Lives ("a beautifully perceptive production" "four stars" "utterly convincing portraits of love"), Angel, Now We Are Pope (about the writer Frederick Rolfe / Baron Corvo) and Tadzio Speaks . . ., based on the classic novel and film Death in Venice.

Since 2011 I have acted on stage and in short films; I tend to be offered roles as criminals and psychopaths, which explains such reviews as "suitably unnerving, and at times completely terrifying" (The Stage on my role as a bodyguard in The Duchess of Malfi). I actually prefer comedy, as in A Man Who Lost His Mind, at the White Bear Theatre in South London in 2014 ("a welcome cameo ... suitably mysterious, baffling and comic" Views from the Gods). Most recently (November 2015) I appeared in Alan Ayckbourn's Wildest Dreams, in the role of Austen Skate ("a compellingly wheezing, sepulchral version of Uncle Fester" All Edinburgh Theatre).

I began directing stage plays in 2014 with several productions of three of my one-man plays: Angel, Now We Are Pope and Tadzio Speaks . . . in London and Edinburgh. Thanks to actors Christopher Annus and Christopher Peacock reviews included "four stars" "captivating plays" "engaging and expressive performances" and "wonderfully believable characters". These plays were published in 2015; more details here; Californian Lives will appear in 2016. As described above, I am currently working with a talented cast on J B Priestley's one-act play The Rose and Crown; having come third in the Spring Scottish Community Drama Association Eastern Divisional Finals for the Grads, we are taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe as Arbery Productions.

This website focuses on my fiction, travel and opinion writing, with extracts from recent pieces below. My theatre work can be found on My atheist writing is on

Let us recognise that the root cause of terrorism is not religion or politics but an over-populated world , where too many young people have no meaningful future. As the years pass, populations grow, climate change worsens and resources grow more scarce, we will continue to turn on each other like rats in an overcrowded cage, where politics and religion are the rationale but not the underlying cause of violence.

Whether or not I would have to show my passport on leaving Berwick, independence would make me a foreigner in a country I once called home. Which country that will be, I do not yet know; I wait for Alex Salmond’s pronouncement as to whether I should be considered an alien on Princes Street or Piccadilly.

Independent-minded Scot

What remains is a nasty smell in the air. Firstly it is the smell of hypocrisy, that HuffPo will make use of an individual's valuable capital (her time and intellectual input) to make money for itself, not for her. Secondly, there is the smell of - is it hypocrisy again? I'm not sure - HuffPo offering me choice between censorship (my comment will not be posted) or
invasion of my electronic privacy (my comment will be posted only if I allow it to invade my privacy).

HuffPo hypocrisy

The depiction of love depends on the gradual unfolding of the lovers' characters and of glimpses of the inner beauty and mystery that attracts each to the other. It depends on quiet moments that allow both the individuals on the stage and the audience watching to reflect on what they see. It depends on subtle gestures and expressions that allow us to intuit ideas and emotions without words. At only one point in the play does Chandler understand the value of silence - and it is then
that Sandel briefly reaches into our souls. But the moment is quickly disposed of and the banter returns, reminding us that we are being offered laughter not love, caricatures not portraits, superficiality not depth.

Sandel at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Meantime, there's Facebook and Twitter. I'm not a fan of these media, but they have to be used and after several years of FB and one of Twitter I'm still not sure if I am using them to my best ability. They are both theoretically a means of communication, but communication implies a communicator and a communicatee - someone giving out information and someone else receiving and acting on that information. The reality appears to be that there are far more communicators than communicatees, giving the impression that both FB and Tw are gigantic storms of noise where everybody is so busy shouting at each other that they can't hear what anyone else is saying.

Sometimes you sit, watch the trains, the sunset, the rain.

Sometimes you talk. Tell your story if you've a mind to. Trouble is, memory changes things. Things you want to forget. Things you want to remember that never happened. Happens to everybody. Gets so, nobody's story's true. Not yours, not mine. But it's all we've got.

First and Fiftieth

Brothers, I thought, seeing a resemblance.

But the family names were different. And unlike the other vaults and sepulchres, this monument had no overarching sign indicating that it belonged to a single family.

Nikolas and Nikos

We are drawn deeper and deeper into the lives of these two young men,

finding ourselves in turn irritated and empathising with each youth’s moodiness. We silently call out to Jonathan to stop sulking – until we understand why he sulks. We are embarrassed by Shane’s aggression – until we understand what drives it. We watch the two of them come together in the wrong way and at the wrong time and wonder how this ménage à trois will end.

Eternal Summer

Your support of advertisers offers me a very small income. This site does not use cookies but clicking on advertiser links may allow those companies to gather and use information, via technology installed on the computer(s) you use, about you and your visit to this and other websites to provide you with advertisements about goods and services presumed to be of interest to you.