Scribbler & Spouse, York Theatre Royal

By Steve Pratt

James Robson’s play, with its autobiographical flourishes, takes us entertainingly through the life and career of an aging playwright.

Scribbler (Alan Meadows) is giving a talk to York Writers’ Circle, with only Spouse (Vanessa Rosenthal) to keep him on track. She only partly succeeds because he can't stop himself ranting and raging against the world in general and those he feels have betrayed him in particular.

He even blames his parents for giving him an idyllic childhood.They let him down, he claims, because they didn’t leave him with scars he could exorcise through his writing.

This is a man who’s written for soaps (“I killed Dan Archer”) but failed to impress Coronation Street bosses, which may have had something to do with his alcoholism more than his writing talent.

Throughout, his long-suffering Spouse has to rein him in. “You’re not at one of your AA meetings now, this is a nice gentle talk about being a writer,” she has to remind him.

Yellow Leaf Theatre, the company presenting the production, aims to give a voice to more experienced, ie older, actors in the 50-plus age range although the work will appeal to all ages.

Alan Meadows seizes the chance to embody a writer whose work has been fuelled by his private quirks and worries in a seemingly effortless performance.

Vanessa Rosenthal shows admirable patience at controlling his urges.