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GUY MASTERSON - Solo Performer

Theatre Tours International Ltd
The Hawthorne Theatre @ Campus West
The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6BX

Tel/Fax: 01707 330360

Guy Masterson started his first theatre company (Guy Masterson Productions) in 1991 with a solo performance; Peter Flannery's The Boy's Own Story. This toured the UK and eventually played at the Chelsea Centre Theatre in London and garnered him two nominations for London Fringe Awards for 'Best Actor' and 'Best Solo Play'. In 1994 he followed this with a speculative adventure into physical theatre with Under MilK Wood - Solo! Its huge success at the Edinburgh Festival prompted a second solo adapation of a lierature classic - Animal Farm which had similar success. After these two shows, his reputation as one of the world's foremost solo performers was cemented. His two following solo works; A Soldier's Song and Fern Hill & Other Dylan Thomas were similarly heralded and both nominated for 'The Stage Best Actor' award at the Edinburgh Fringes of 1998 and 2001 respectively. He won the award for Fern Hill. He was nominated again for Best Actor in 2003 for his 50th anniversary edition of Under MilK Wood and again in 2011 for 'The Stage Best Solo Performance' for Shylock
(See: Full Actor Biography)

Fern Hill
The Half

* = Still in Repertoire


Guy Masterson in Anthem for a Doomed YouthCompiled and Performed by Guy Masterson

Premiered: Assembly Festival at Edinburgh 2014

UK Domestic Touring to present.

A compilation of WW1 poetry and short stories from both sides of No-Man's Lan. The show was a sell-out success at the Edinburgh Festival before embarking on a limited autumn tour.

The show will tour until 2018.

"Guy Masterson gives voice to the 'timeless and harrowing' words of the War Poets
In his 21st season at the Edinburgh Festival as, variously, director, producer and performer, Guy Masterson has taken a half-step back from the entirely theatrical here, to present an informal but appropriately-staged spoken word tribute to those who died in the First World War through the medium of some of the era's great war poetry.
It's a simple but effective proposition, enhanced no end by the smartness and gravitas of Masterson's performance, where his ability as an actor adds more weight to even these timeless and often harrowing works.
He explains early on that his intention isn't to dance around the build-up and fallout of the war, but to dig deep amidst the viscera of the trenches and to reflect the experiences of the men who fought and died there.
He introduces each new poet as their words enter the fray, and their personae are audibly different. Wilfred Owen, author of the titular piece, is clear-eyed and descriptive, as is Siegfried Sassoon, although his evocation of both the action and the carnage it wreaks is more frayed with nerves in Masterson's reading.
There's a more wordy literary quality to Isaac Rosenberg's In the Trenches, a particular favourite of our host's, while Irish politician Thomas Kettle's To My Daughter Betty, The Gift of God , a gift for her to take into life and adulthood after his inevitable death, is heart-breaking.
There's also an excerpt from Erich Maria Marquez' All Quiet On the Western Front, while the only slight misfire is Masterson's own The Christmas Truce, invented from accounts of the day - not because it isn't arresting, but because it appears to be an intended short play for two performers." (David Pollock - The Big Issue - 21/08/14)

"In this centenary year of World War One, I felt it would be appropriate to include one of the many shows in this year's Fringe and Festival which cover this subject. I chose this one as I was attracted by the fact that it was to be performed by Guy Masterson, a stalwart supporter of the Fringe who has directed and performed in many successful productions over the last twenty one years.
The proposition is a simple one - Masterson is alone on an empty stage with a large folder full of poems, stories and letters written by the men who fought in and experienced the horrors of war and many of whom lost their lives there.
However this is not simply a reading of these works - Masterson is an accomplished actor and from the outset, he brings the words and scenes alive to us in a most moving and powerful way. With effective lighting and a background soundtrack of machine gun fire, we are conveyed to the trenches and we can almost see the battlefield and feel the fear and helplessness.
There are poems from well-known British war poets Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brook, Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg, writings from the German side such as Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front and lesser known works such as the heartbreaking poem by Irishman Thomas Kettle 'To My Daughter Betty, Gift of God'. Knowing he will not come back from the war and knowing he will be vilified by some for fighting for the British, he writes a farewell to her and to tell her why he and others like him died: "they died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor, but for a dream born in a herdsman's shed and for the secret scripture of the poor".
It is not all relentless doom and gloom - there are a couple of lighter hearted pieces on the banter between the two sides at the Christmas truce and on the ingenious methods employed by the men against the problem of body lice.
Always, though, there is the constant and underlying presence of danger, death and dying. This is a poignant reminder of what others suffered and endured for us and the warning against glorification of war that is Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est' is a fitting way to finish." (Irene Brownlee - East Coast FM - 18/08/14)

"By turns harrowing, tender and witty, Guy Masterson's one-man commemoration of the soldiers of the First World War is a poetry reading of first-class calibre. With over a hundred shows during the course of twenty-one years at the Fringe, Guy Masterson has had plenty of time to cut his teeth as a performer, director and producer. This experience shows: he knows how to make an audience feel at home with off-the-cuff stage patter, providing light relief from some of the heavier material.
Taking its title from Wilfred Owen's poem of the same name (Owen's work features predominantly in the show), Masterson works his way through the poetry of not only the household names of English poets such as Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and Rupert Brooke but also that of Irish, French and German writers, each of which is introduced with a short biography. His renditions of classic pieces such as Brooke's The Soldier and Owen's Anthem For Doomed Youth and Dulce et Decorum Est are all delivered with a range of inflection and sense of pace that would make even the most accomplished poet jealous. Moreover, his presentation of poets to whom posterity has not been kind, such as the Irishman Tom Kettle, is an inspired directorial decision.
Despite his opening claim of not wanting to 'appropriate' the testaments of these men, Masterson is not afraid of upping the ante in some of the more dramatic pieces. At times, I felt that this detracted somewhat from the sentiment behind the poems, which are after all personal documents and not scores for dramatic exposition. This, coupled with the fact that during these pieces his delivery tended to be all one plane (one of panic and terror), made these the least effective weapons in Masterson's poetic arsenal.
By far the strongest point of the show is Masterson's own fictional account of the Christmas Truce of 1914. Spurred on by the fact that there has been surprisingly little written about it, Masterson has woven his own comic dialogue between Fritz and Tommy on Christmas Eve, 1914. Like his patter between readings and then some, this vignette strikes exactly the right balance between pathos and comedy. Simply put, this show cements Masterson's reputation as a master of his art." (Rik Baker - Broadway World - 14/08/14)

"Anthem for a Doomed Youth is Guy Masterson's new work in commemoration of the Centenary of the Great War. The show is a compilation of some of the finest poetry and literature from WW1 condensed into an hour of theatre, featuring the works of well known British poets Owen, Sassoon and Brooke, but also hitherto little known French and German authors including an excerpt from Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front.
Guy Masterson has been a Fringe regular for over twenty years. He introduces Anthem for a Doomed Youth as a tribute to those who fought in the First World War. As in most of his shows there is no elaborate set; however for this show he has also stepped back from character acting and appears as himself, simply carrying a folder containing the poems. He is at pains to point out that he has a script because he wants us to remember that these are the words of others and that he does not intend to appropriate them. Having said that he clearly knows the text he is working with very thoroughly; the show is not simply a rehearsed reading.
Although there is no set he does make good use of lighting and of sound - mostly that of the haunting thump of heavy artillery and shells falling, but also the gentle music of an andante referred to in one of the poems.
The choice of what to include must have been a challenging task with so much fine work to choose from. The result is a number of pieces from well known British poets: Owen, Sassoon and Brooke, but also hitherto little known German authors including an excerpt from Marque's All Quiet On The Western Front and a French poet Paul Granier. Granier's work (trans Higgins) provides a striking contrast to the lyrical expressions of many of the British poets that we are familiar with - his work comprising short, hard hitting lines and vivid images: 'Juddering iron buckets clanging, jerking deadweight chains clanking' and Masterson delivers the lines with a punch that hits you in the guts. However, it isn't all guns and gore; there are lighter moments - of the camaradie, the writing home to families, the imaginative ways of dealing with lice...
His presentation approach spans traditional reading and very expressive dramatic portrayals. His powerful delivery together with the variety in pace ensures that the mid-afternoon audience are never tempted to let their concentration slip. He is particularly skilled at addressing the audience with great warmth, almost as a group of friends with whom he is sharing both the poems and something of the background and biography of the poet (very few of whom survived the war).
He has also included one example of a letter home and an imagined scene in no man's land on Christmas Eve 1914. Both added to the story but, as single examples of each genre, sat a little awkwardly - hopefully he will consider adding a little more of that kind of material in the future for balance.
At sixty minutes this show felt just right for a fringe event; however, I also felt there is scope to develop it and add more (or possibly reintroduce some of those pieces that I suspect were hard to leave out in the first place) to create a full length show.
Overall, it is a powerful and moving piece; an hour where you feel you have stepped out of this frantic modern world into another, completely different one. A place where everyone's life was dominated by the war. It took me a little while to adjust to the noise and bustle of the festival and Edinburgh streets as I left; a measure of the impact it had." (Kate Saffin - - 14/08/14)

"Guy Masterson is known for his one-man shows and his amazing memory. For this production, however, he chooses to keep the book in his hand as he does not wish it to appear as if he owns the material.
This sensitive introduction to the show firmly places it as a tribute and allows Masterson to show part of his own personality for a change. His own warmth and his clear respect for these men shines through in this and all his introductions to the various pieces.
It is not, however, just a collection of poems read aloud. Masterson acts the pieces, aided by sound effects and dimmed lights, creating an atmosphere that is sombre but subtle enough to let the imagery in the poems remain the key.
Masterson creates many different characters and, even with such serious subject matter, manages to pepper the gloom with a few laughs from his German and English Christmas day conversation in the trenches.
At times quiet and reflective, at others loud and desperate Masterson uses all of his experience to create light and shade in what could have been a depressing show.
This, instead, is a moving collection of poems written by soldiers on all sides of the conflict. Some are recognisable, others less so, but Guy delivers them all with equal passion and heart." (Amy Yorston - British Theatre Guide - 13/08/14)

"Guy Masterson gives voice to the 'timeless and harrowing' words of the War Poets
In his 21st season at the Edinburgh Festival as, variously, director, producer and performer, Guy Masterson has taken a half-step back from the entirely theatrical here, to present an informal but appropriately-staged spoken word tribute to those who died in the First World War through the medium of some of the era's great war poetry.
It's a simple but effective proposition, enhanced no end by the smartness and gravitas of Masterson's performance, where his ability as an actor adds more weight to even these timeless and often harrowing works.
He explains early on that his intention isn't to dance around the build-up and fallout of the war, but to dig deep amidst the viscera of the trenches and to reflect the experiences of the men who fought and died there.
He introduces each new poet as their words enter the fray, and their personae are audibly different. Wilfred Owen, author of the titular piece, is clear-eyed and descriptive, as is Siegfried Sassoon, although his evocation of both the action and the carnage it wreaks is more frayed with nerves in Masterson's reading.
There's a more wordy literary quality to Isaac Rosenberg's In the Trenches, a particular favourite of our hosts, while Irish politician Thomas Kettle's To My Daughter Betty, The Gift of God, a gift for her to take into life and adulthood after his inevitable death, is heart-breaking." (David Pollock - The Big Issue - 07/08/14)

"Guy Masterson has been producing hit Fringe shows for over two decades. This year, however, he is on stage immersing the audience in the horrors young men had to endure in the hell of the trenches of the First World War.
The show starts explosively, literally, as with sound effects he acts out a harrowing extract from a short story encapsulating the terror men in the tranches felt as they were subjected to the relentless shelling in their squalid lice infected pits. With poems and short stories from British and German soldiers we experience vocally the annihilation of young men whose lives were brutally truncated in pursuit of patriotism.
Masterson engages wholeheartedly in the words of these soldiers who put pen to paper to recount the horrors they witnessed. The title of the show - Anthem for a Doomed Youth - was written by Wilfred Owen when he recovering from shell shock at Craiglockart War Hospital here in Edinburgh in l917. He returned to the front and was killed in action a week before Armistice was announced.
If you want to be reminded of the courage these young men displayed in the most appalling conditions then I highly recommend this moving show." (Barbara Ryan - Edinburgh Guide - 07/08/14)

For more reviews, click here:

2012 - 2013 THE HALF by Richard Dormer

Guy Masterson in The HalfWritten by Richard Dormer
Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by David Calvitto

Premiered Adelaide Fringe 2012 (The Centre For International Theatre)

Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 2012

Domestic UK Tour through 2013.

A 50 year old actor, down on his luck, attempts to reverse his fortunes by doing a one man show. Nothing new there... except that he's chosen Shakespeare's Hamlet - uncut - four-and-a-half hours!

He's sold his car and his father's gold watch to pay for it all and his wife has left him. Everything rides on it's sucess. It's his opening night - 35 minutes before curtain up (The Half) and he is starting to unravel... Will he even make it to the stage or will he self-destruct?

This is hysterical stuff by an extraordinary team: performed, directed and written by consecutive winners of the prestigious Stage Award for Best Actor at Edinburgh - Guy Masterson (2001), David Calvitto (2002) and Richard Dormer (2003)

"It's an hour before the curtain goes up and the actor contemplates his folly - two years of his life spent producing an epic one-man production of Hamlet. Will he succeed, or will he fail, bringing about his own disastrous public humiliation. Most likely the latter, he is certain. But no!
This is his time to shine, to prove the doubters wrong, to scale the heights he knows he is capable of. Or is he?
Guy Masterson's first perforamnce was likely tinged with a few opening night jitters itself, but it did not show. The Half is a very funny play and was especially enjoyed by what seemed to be some thespians in the audience, if the knowing laughs were anything to go by. Masterson is excellent as is this new material." (Cameron England - Adelaide Advertiser)

"Richard Dormer's The Half takes the audience into the actor's dressing room, some 35 minutes before the curtain rises on another opening night. It also takes us into the actor's mind. Guy Masterson is totally convincing as the manic player, a man wracked with nerves and devoid of any confidence. Despite my knowledge that Masterson was in control, there were times when I was so completely immersed in the performance that I was genuinely concerned that the character may come unstuck.
Although touted as a comedy, there's more than a whiff of tragedy about the actor and the circumstances that have delivered him to this shambolic state. This solo performance must be quite a challenge; the monologue is pacey and the action is physical. All in a day's work for Guy Masterson. Witnessing the spectacle of a man having a sword fight with himself is worth the admission price alone. There's plenty more besides. Final Word: Whole!" (David Robinson - Rip It Up Adelaide)

"Guy Masterson's presence once again fills the theatre and he demonstrates his power and command over this play with ease and expertise. This one-man show runs parallel to Hamlet, drawing on similar themes and scenes stirring emotions from a wide spectrum. The story deviates and digresses, but Masterson is entertaining and compelling as he draws the audience into the scene and giving them a taste of backstage theatrics and drama.
The story starts with an actor experiencing pre-performance jitters 35 minutes before the curtains are raised. He tries to calm down with self-analytical ramblings, exaggerated warm up techniques, and bleak humour. The play progresses in a similar fashion, but the actor delves into deeper, darker parts of his psyche. The audience is drawn into the compelling story with enigmatic clues and keepsakes that are eventually explained. The actor's initial charm and humour create an instant connection with the audience and subsequently they are prone to championing him and hoping that he rises out of the swirling madness triumphant.
Masterson gives an inimitable performance and plays the role to perfection-he is witty, charming, despondent, and vulnerable all at once. He is not afraid to leap and dance all over the stage and effect his emotions entirely. it is probably just as well that this is a one-man show as Masterson sets a very high standard and displays his passion for the theatre and embraces his character in a very unique way. The audience has a chance to appreciate Masterson's stirring performance.
The evening was a resounding success with Masterson taking centre stage and delighting once again. He is one of the few actors who are not afraid to consolidate their presence and control with enormous gestures and physical action. This Hamletesque play will stir a range of emotions from melancholy to elation and everything in between. If Masterson's backstage theatrics were anything to go by, it would certainly be a treat to watch him in a one-man production of Hamlet! (Prema Ashok - FringeReview)

For more reviews, click here:

2011 - Present SHYLOCK by Gareth Armstrong *

Guy Masterson in ShylockWritten & Directed byGareth Armstrong
Performed by Guy Masterson

Premiered Adelaide Fringe 2011 (Royalty Theatre)

Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 2011 & 2012

UK & International tours to present

NOMINATED: The Stage Award - Best Solo Performance, 2011

Villain..? Victim..? or is Shylock someone even more intriguing?

SHYLOCK is one of only two Jewish men in the whole of Shakespeare. Throughout history, he has been portrayed in ways which reflected the way Jews were popularly viewed - from Comic Villain in Shakespeare's day to victim of racial discrimination nowadays. His has always been a controversial character, but to understand him, one needs to place him in the context of his situation.

In this poignant , powerful yet very humorous account, Shylock is explained to us through his (only) friend Tubal via a series of clever impersonations from Pontius Pilate to Edmund Kean, from Portia to Dracula. Leading us through the whole of Shylock's conundrum in The Merchant of Venice - giving a rousing rendition of all of Shylock's scenes and playing all the characters! - Tubal eaves us with a much deeper understanding of the issues that Jews have faced through history since the scriptures were written. And, perhaps even more importantly, and without preaching or teaching, the play spotlights the plight of any victimised minority.

Gareth Armstrong's Shylock is rightly one of the world's most successful solo shows, and here, Guy Masterson, perhaps the world's leading exponent of the form, demonstrates its brilliance, honouring one of Shakespeare's finest creations from one of his greatest plays in a performance that celebrates the beauty of language, the power of history and the magic of theatre!

"Gareth Armstrong was nominated for The Stage's acting award in 1998 for his solo show on Shakespeare's Venetian Jew, and now Guy Masterson, who produced him then, returns to play the role himself directed by Amstrong. The differences between the two are instructive, because while Armstrong inhabited the character, Masterson always - deliberately - remains a little outside him.
His mode is that of a really, really good teacher sharing his excitement and love of the material in an irresistibly infectious way, so that the end product is just as enthralling, though perhaps not quite as moving.
Armstrong's text actually begins with the lesser character of Shylock's Jewish friend Tubal, and thus invites an external relation to the moneylender, as do the thoroughly researched and fascinating digressions into the history of Jews in British history and drama and in the later theatrical history of Shakespeare's play.
Of course the script does keep returning to Shakespeare's text, with Masterson offering intelligent readings of all Shylock's major scenes while also stepping back to comment on them.
In Masterson's hands, with Armstrong now directing, the play may not move you to tears, but it is likely to send you eagerly to the next opportunity to see The Merchant of Venice itself." (Gerald Berkowitz - The Stage - 16/08/11)

"Edinburgh is the home of the solo show and, all too often, the home of the tedious solo show. This play bucks that trend with great writing from Gareth Armstrong (and William Shakespeare) and a perfect performance from Guy Masterson as the put-upon Venetian Jew and his friend Tubal, whose calm perspective is valuable, as hatred takes over from business. Shylock works because it sets The Merchant of Venice and its central figure in perspective. The play looks at the Jewish experience in Europe over five or so centuries leading up to the play, culminating not only with Shylock but a brief burst of Barabbas from Marlowe's The Jew of Malta. It also traces Shakespeare's source to help viewers to understand where this creation came from. However, the main reason for rushing to Assembly Hall is to see Guy Masterson, under the direction of the writer, who has himself performed the monologue around the globe, affectionately playing Shylock but also those around him. He is especially good as the calmly cruel Portia, who takes anti-Semitism to a new level, at least on one reading of the text and context." (Philip Fisher - Theatreguide London 10/08/11)

"Guy Masterson presents the masterpiece that is Gareth Armstrong's Shylock in a characteristic display of exhilarating talent. The show sees Tubal (Masterson), the one and only friend of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, lead us through the literary representation of Jews throughout history focussing, of course, on Shakespeare's infamous villain.
Armstrong conveys to us the idea that Shylock's unreasonable and unrelenting demand for his 'pound of flesh' is not indicative of Shakespeare's anti-Semitism, rather a comment on the extreme behaviours that can result when a minority is shunned, ignored and ridiculed. Armstrong, like Tubal himself, makes no attempt to convince the audience of Shylock's amiability or innocence, rather he forces us to empathise with unreasonable behaviour; social exile can provoke acts of hatred.
The writing is spectacular; a recurring theme seems to be that of the 'story behind the legend' which extends beyond Shylock to incorporate Shakespeare's wider work, Biblical tales, and Nazi horror stories. Without seeming educational it is full to the brim with interesting literary facts and historical trivia ranging from Abraham to Barbara Streisand. The staging is simple yet thoughtful and the wall-like banners graffittied with the word 'Jew' in different languages underlines the idea of separatism and exclusion as a universal vice.
Masterson's performance is everything you would expect from such a legendary solo performer. The actor's own charisma ensnares us from the start whilst creating a truly textured character in Tubal, the perpetual understudy, the faithful friend. Tubal's good natured narrative manages to convey to us the horror of certain moments of Jewish persecution without instilling guilt or shame: we understand how hateful acts are not necessarily personal, simply ignorant, misguided and utterly useless.
Shylock gives us everything we want from theatre: an informative and thought-provoking story, a solid hour of comedic entertainment and a stunning display of talent. As an example of what theatre strives to achieve, this is a must see." (Phoebe Ladenburg - - 06/08/11)

For more reviews, click here:

2007 - 2013 AMERICAN POODLE by Brian Parks & Guy Masterson

Guy Masterson in American PoodlePart 1: Written & Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Peter McNally

Part 2: Written by Brian Parks
Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by David Calvitto

Premiered:Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 2007.

Adelaide Festivals 2008 & 2011.

UK & International touring to 2013

Ever wondered how Britain managed to lose the American colonies?
And what do Americans REALLY think of us?

In Part 1, Guy Masterson tells all in this scatalogically insane, hilariously absurd history lesson as he dissects the events that led to our inept loss of North America; from the Mayflower to the Boston Massacre... If you thought your knew it, think again!

In part 2, a rose-spectacled American businessman arrives in quaint old London to take home some real history in the meantime regaling us with his painfully worrying observations about the old country...

"This is laugh-out-loud comedy and caustic satire rolled into an eye-popping, mouth watering not-to-be-missed performance by a world renowned storyteller at the top of his game." (Adelaide Advertiser, 2008)

"American Poodle is an elegantly crafted, brilliantly acted two-part play that is just a few brush strokes short of being a masterpiece. Guy Masterson is extraordinary, creating characters without visibly moving a muscle, as he takes an irreverent look at the historical British/US "special relationship" through a powerfully eccentric lens.
The play sparkles with witty self-awareness. It feels positively Greek or even Freudian in its lament about fate and consequences. What makes the two pieces memorable is the precision of their tone, and the finely calibrated combination of bitterness, humour, factual information and warmth. Of course Masterson's acting is tremendous - who would expect anything less? With strong, evocative storytelling, and a sensibility that perfectly matches the script, it's easy to get caught in Masterson's grip.
In Part one, a British bulldog delivers some John Bull about the founding, colonisation and ultimate loss of the American colonies to the treacherous, ungrateful colonists. During the second act, an American businessman visits London, where everyone is either a Reeve or a Franklin. He marvels at everything from Ye Olde Worlde Heathrow Airport to black cabs looking like hearses for midgets and how the British politely use escalators.
American Poodle is full of surprises and unfolds with consummate ease. This all makes for a deeply entertaining experience that engages the mind as well as the funny bone." (Stephen Davenport, Adelaide Independent Weekly 08/03/08)

"When Guy Masterson takes you on a journey, strap yourself in as it's a full-throttle ride! In his latest Fringe offering, written by himself and Brian Parks, the master story-teller ducks and weaves through the pivotal events that led to the American War of Independence.
Masterson explores the basis of America's "freedom at all costs'' world view with nothing but an arsenal of energetic monologue and a sharp edged wit. In the first of two parts, we travel with the pioneering Anglo-American settlers as they rebel against the demands of their far away motherland and struggle for their freedom.
Fast forward past civil war, international diplomatic situations, the mass genocide of countless native Americans and one giant tea party, and we are presented with a wide-eyed account of London through the eyes of an American business man. Full of hilarious observations, Masterson delivers a rapid-fire account about the enduring pleasantries of the English, while proving that not everything is as it seems. As with previous Fringe shows by Masterson, you're guaranteed engaging, physically vibrant theatre that- shouldn't be missed. In short: Turbo-charged history." (Rosetta Mastrantone, Adelaide Advertiser 04/03/08)

"Welsh actor/director Guy Masterson presents an intriguing look at the love/hate relationship between the American and British colonies in their early days. Masterson skilfully and energetically plays the role of both Briton and American in a two-part show, hardly missing a beat with quotes, dates and the odd bit of humour thrown in. While this show should appeal to the history buffs and threatreheads there's just one tip for Guy - he'll need a big stock of T-shirts over the next few weeks. By the end of act one the poor bugger was dripping in perspiration from racing around the stage and climbing on and over chairs and a table. But it's a good show, no sweat." (Gordon Armstrong, Adelaide Messenger 27/02/08)

"This is actually two extremely funny trans-Atlantic pieces; the first, Snowball, looking at the discovery, settlement and independence of America, from a uniquely British standpoint, the second, Splayfoot, presenting a not too bright American relating his day in England for a secret, shady business meeting, from his arrival at the airport to the transaction. This is typical of Guy Masterson's work; minimal props and set with the emphasis placed firmly on the text and the actor. It takes an actor of considerable ability to handle this type of performance and Masterson fits the bill. You'll be sorry if you miss this!" (Barry Lenny, Ripitup Magazine 24/02/08)

2001 - Present FERN HILL & OTHER DYLAN THOMAS adapted by Guy Masterson *

Guy Masterson in Fern HillWritten by Dylan Thomas
Adapted & Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Tony Boncza

Premiered: Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 2001
Played Edinburgh 2002 & 2014
Adelaide Festival 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012
UK & International touring to present

WINNER: The Stage Award - Best Actor, 2001

Following the remarkable success of his solo interpretation of Under Milk Wood, which has played over 2000 times all over the globe, Guy Masterson compiled 90 minutes of his favourite 'other works' - rarely heard and rarely performed - by the Welsh Wizard, Dylan Thomas.

The programme includes three of Thomas' wonderful short stories; A Visit To Grandpa's, Holiday Memory and, of course, A Christmas Story (more popularly known as A Child's Christmas in Wales), plus a selection of ten of his greatest poems including, of course, Fern Hill, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night and Death Shall Have No Dominion.

Each element of the production is delivered in Masterson's unique physical performance style, brings each to life with astonishing versatility. His voice, increasingly reminiscent of his great uncle, Richard Burton, Masterson makes the words sing, echo and vibrate in a way that will be remembered for a long time.

"As a fan of Thomas, I remembered clearly Guy Masterson's rendering of the ten poems and three short stories which make up this mini-anthology of Thomas' work, but I had forgotten the extraordinary physicality of his performance. He literally becomes the characters, even if they appear just for a moment. His body and facial expression are constantly changing as he moves from character to character: children, strutting young men, giggling girls, decrepit old men, eccentrics, fat uncles and drunken aunts, all appear before for us for their moment in the spotlight, and then Masterson himself is with us again for a moment or two, before he embarks on another odyssey of characterisation.
His still, straight renditions of "And Death Shall have No Dominion" and "Do Not Go Gentle" are made the more effective by the contrast and left the audience stunned.
It is a tour de force which made the eighty minutes or so pass so quickly that the audience lost all sense of time. He has performed the piece hundreds of times and has clearly been developing and refining it as he has done so. In 2001 I gave it four stars: now it deserves five! (Peter Lathan, British Theatre Guide 2003)

"...sheer, unadulterated pleasure... a solo actor without equal... a master of transformation... a flurry of collective nouns and a beauty of adjectives... the fabulously capable hands of Masterson...joyous and emotive in equal measure...unutterably moving... All are given sumptuous expression in Masterson's energetic, guttural, totally undeniable performance." (Mark Brown, Scotland on Sunday

"Immersed in the words of the Welsh master ... The epic slices of Welsh life bring the biggest smiles. But the power of the more introspective works is undeniable ... glorious" (The Scotsman)

WINNER: STAGE AWARD - BEST ACTOR 2001 "The actor throws himself into Thomas' short stories and poems, sweating and gesturing with energy born of deep passion for the words...a journey into the heart of Thomas country, with its rich landscapes and unforgettable characters. ...superb timing and clownish glee...Masterson's enthusiasm for his production is unmistakable and infectious - performing at this level, he could make Thomas fans of us all." (The Stage)

"Guy Masterson enthusiastically introduces us to instantly recognisable characters... Creeping and prancing around the stage he effectively brings the writing to life, evoking smells and tastes in the process... Worth the ticket price for the description of Thomas' grandad alone." (The List)

"A tremendously enjoyable hour and a quarter... Masterson's love of the material shines through - and interestingly, as the programme progresses, the Welsh cadences and vowels grow stronger as Thomas' words work their magic... I thoroughly enjoyed myself!" (About British Theatre 2001)

"Once or twice at the Fringe you witness a rarity, an artist's great love and enthusiasm for his favourite subject. Such is the case with Guy Masterson's Fern Hill... one of those too rare productions at the festival that leaves us so much richer for the experience. Thank you for allowing us to travel in your knowledge of Dylan Thomas, Mr Masterson" (John Ritchie, Edinburgh Guide)

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1998 - 2000 A SOLDIER'S SONG by Ken Lukowiak adapted by Guy Masterson

Guy Masterson in A Soldier's SongWritten by Ken Lukowiak
Adapted & Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Tony Boncza

Premiered Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 1998
UK & International touring to 2002

"moving, lethally unsentimental. very grim and very good indeed." (Mail On Sunday)

NOMINATED: The Stage Award - Best Actor, 1998

Guy Masterson's powerful adaptation of Ken Lukowiak's brilliant account of his combat experiences during the Falklands War of 1982 was a sell-out success at the 1998 Edinburgh Festival. It since played London's B.A.C., all over the United Kingdom, and has toured to Holland, New Zealand, Ireland and Hungary.

A Soldier's Song brings the battlefield to the stage, giving the audience a strong idea of what it is like to be under fire, to kill or be killed, the fundamental horrors of war and the effects it can have on the human soul. It exposes the true nature of soldiery from mundanity to combat. It gives us all a good reason to think twice about sending our sons off to war. This is the theatre of War and all its facets, invoking the horror, terror and shame of combat, the black humour, futility and tedium of a soldier's life in the front line and the lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress. Deeply disturbing and frightening at times, it is also extremely funny, employing the dark "squaddie" humour to offset the darkness. The brutal demotic language and life of the battlefield is brought to vividly to life.

"Masterson's unique brand of poetic performance storytelling is a must-see. Only a few could attempt what he does... fewer still could get away with it." (The Times)

"A Soldier's Song is an honest and emotive evocation of life on the front line... an exact insight into the nature of futility... Bravura acting!" (The Herald)

"Masterson's beautifully understated performance delivers the bullet straight to the brain... It's an A1 top-hole, first class, first hand experience of what an exploding shell can do to human flesh." (The Guardian)

"A magnificent, powerfully haunting tour de force. Storm the box office!" (The List)

"We are transported inside the war itself, it's hard to believe you are watching a play. Brutally honest and unsentimental its the best war movie never made!" (Evening News)

NOMINATED: THE STAGE - BEST ACTOR, 2008 "An intense, powerful performance." (The Stage)

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1995 - Present ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell adapted by Guy Masterson *

Guy Masterson in Animal FarmWritten by George Orwell
Adapted & Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Tony Boncza

Premiered Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh January 1995
Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 1995 & 1996 2001 & 2004;
UK & International touring to 2005, 2013-2015

"a theatrical tour de force. Masterson IS animal farm" (Sunday Times - 16/08/95)

Animal Farm is perhaps the 20th Century's most important work of political satire. It has been translated into over 70 languages and is on academic syllabuses all over the world. Guy Masterson's unique SOLO theatrical interpretation has succeeded in bringing the book to life and making it accessible to all ages in a dramatic physical storytelling that has won world-wide acclaim.

Using nothing but a wooden box, some amazingly creative sound effects and effective lighting, the story is told with clarity, power and truth. Masterson tells the story through the characters, switching from animal to animal, each having a different voice and characterisation. The audience thus follows the narrative. The simplicity and magic of Orwell's fairytale and his allegorical message of betrayed idealism is conveyed with blinding relevance proving the work to be as important today as it was 50 years ago.

"Guy Masterson's totally committed rendition of George Orwell's Animal Farm is as essential a warning today as it was fifty years ago. Masterson does one helluva job in physically telling this story of betrayal and honour, from the initial hope and glory days of the animal's rebellion, to the deterioration toward compromise and corruption. This incredible feat of storytelling is intercut with the odd contemporary political speech. Such juxtaposition gives the moral fable the immediacy of an urgent warning. The physical exertion of this one-man tour de force leaves Masterson dripping with sweat. Orwell's book is perhaps more correct now in its outlook than it was at the time... It's all come to pass exactly as it shows... But it could never happen here, could it? The full houses for this show confirm that this is the right artiste, doing the right piece, at just the right time." (The List)

"ANIMAL MAGIC! ... Masterson ignites this famous tale bringing both humour and a sinister aspect to the rhetoric of the upwardly mobile pigs." (The Herald 26/01/95)

"The emotional texture of the book is sensitively recreated and the charm and allure of Masterson's performance makes the allegory more disturbing." (The Independent 14/08/95)

"Some actors are more equal than others, but few are quite as equal as Guy Masterson!" (The Times 16/08/95)

"A brilliant adaptation which delights with its physical grace and artistry. It's complex and entirely theatrical; a combination of bravura acting and poetic storytelling which milks new nuance and meaning. A prodigious talent!" (The Scotsman 13/08/95)

"This is Jackanory for adults!... A real treat! Masterson creates an entire environment in which his audience are as much participants as spectators... Terribly clever and terribly amusing." (BBC Radio)

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1994 - Present UNDER MILK WOOD by Dylan Thomas adapted by Guy Masterson *

Guy Masterson in Under Milk WoodWritten by Dylan Thomas
Adapted & Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Tony Boncza

Premiered Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh February 1994
Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh 1994 & 1996 2000 & 2003; UK & International touring to 2005

"one of the most inventive, remarkable performances of the decade."

NOMINATED: The Stage Award - Best Actor, 2003

Under Milk Wood is Dylan Thomas' most famous and enduring work now translated into over 50 languages. A favourite since its first broadcast with Richard Burton in January 1954, it brilliantly conjures the intimate dreams and innermost desires of the inhabitants of Llareggub - a small fictional sea-town somewhere in Wales.

Using nothing but a wooden chair, dark glasses, apposite lighting and a beautifully haunting soundscape by Matt Clifford Guy Masterson performs the entire work - playing all 69 characters
men & women, girls and boys - himself! It is unbeleivably recreated and entirely enchanting.
The show is truly remarkable. Commiting the work - word perfectly - to memory is one thing. To perform all the characters in such an engaging, delightful and totally convincing manner is another. Masterson achieves all this and more. The performance is quite simply amazing! The reviews speak for themselves.

Bawdy and beautiful, sad and sensual, through the music of language, it creates indelible, unforgettable images of humanity.

"The sight and sound of Guy Masterson performing Thomas's masterspiece is electrifying. All 69 voices spill form the lips of an actor whose talents are a fitting 50th anniversay tribute to those of the Welsh wizard himself in this refurbished production. No matter how hard you pore over the programmne, you will not find a finer performance in the whole Edinburgh Festival!" (Jeremy Hodges - The Daily Mail August 4, 2003)

"Marking the 50th Anniversary of Dylan Thomas' death, fellow Welshman Guy Masterson's solo interpretation of Under Milk Wood is an incredible performance. Playing all 69 charaters with outstanding stamina and understanding, Masterson embraces the mammoth task of playing the quaint and cheery citizens." (The Herald 11/08/03)

"THE CREAM OF THE CROP! Guy Masterson's much celebrated one-man performance of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood was created in 1994 and returns revamped with a fabulous score by award-winning composer Matt Clifford. From the outset it is utterly spellbinding. But the real trumph is Masterson's vocal precision, which, alnog with a wonderful range of gestures and movements, allow the audience to really feel they have experiences life in the village and shared desires and dreams of the inhabitants." (Edinburgh Metro 15/08/03)

"Striking a mildly comical figure, the pyjama-ed Masterson begins to speak and is immediately possessed by the magic of storytelling. It's a huge task to sustain such a incoherent story, but Masterson casts a spell over us. Simply bewitching," (Three Weeks 21/08/03)

"THE SOLO VIRTUOSO. Just the 69 characters then? Guy Masterson is everyone of them in Dylan Thomas's enduring play of voices, and somehow makes it all add up! " (The Scotsman 23/08/03)

"Masterson rises to the challenge with tremendous sensitivity and panache. It's a feat of multiple characterisation, getting right inside the words, swelling them to their fullest extent while stopping short of over inflation. Masterson achieves this through a combination of impeccable timing, vocal dexterity and precise physical control. His smooth shifts in modulation and phrasing, his energetic yet carefully judged additions of gesture and movement, flesh out perfectly Thomas's balance of sweep and intimacy, tenderness and menace, poignancy and absurdity. His characters are assiduously delineated through adjustments in accent, inflection and mannerism. Thomas's bewildering descriptive wordplay is beautifully paced and weighted, frequently punctured by a shrewdly timed drop into pathos and laughter. It's an absorbing, richly entertaining venture." (The Guardian 14/02/94)

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1992 - 1994 THE BOY'S OWN STORY by Peter Flannery

Guy Masterson in The Boy's Own StoryWritten by Peter Flannery
Performed by Guy Masterson
Directed by Tony Boncza

Premiered Christ's Hospital Theatre, Horsham September 1991
UK touring until 1993

"The loneliness of the long-distance goalkeeper"

NOMINATED: London Fringe Awards - Best Actor, 1993

NOMINATED: London Fringe Awards - Best Solo Play, 1993

A bttersweet tale of a troubled lad with an amazing talent for goalkeeping... The Boy's Own Story was Peter Flannery's first full length play produced at the Contact Theatre, Manchester in 1978. An updated version was produced in 1991 with Guy Masterson playing the goalkeeper.

The monologue furnished an "acute anatomy of individuality" ...the desire to dare to be different and the dangers of actually being so in an intolerant society.

As the final whistle sounds, the only thing that gives him hope is his belief in his talent. "You'll never beat me. You could never beat me!" leaving the field of play having displayed his agility and brilliance... while never having touched the ball...

"Guy Masterson plays a moody, paranoid, disintegrating goalie in Peter Flannery's one-man play about soccer. It says some serious things about the commercial exploitation of the short-lived pro sportsman and about the loneliness of the imaginative misfit. A rich 45 minutes each way with a totally authentic performance from Mr Masterson." WEEKEND CHOICE (Michael Billington - The Guardian 09/05/92)

"A fascinating and riveting play. Guy Masterson gives a marvellous and enthralling performance as McKenna. He throws himself around the astroturf goalmouth at the Chelsea Centre, managing to reveal his emotion and anxieties while completing hundreds of spectacular saves. Supporters of the game will love Masterson. His obsession with the game and what makes it tick is obvious and his electric portrayal, performed at a wonderful pace will ensure that audiences will be over the moon." (The Times 01/05/92)

"In Peter Flannery's excellent, engrossing one-man play, Guy Masterson, as Goalkeeper John McKenna, gives one of the finest performances I have seen on the fringe in a long time. He throws himself about the stage making save after spectacular save while maintaining an intense and personal relationship with his audience. A character that never slips and constantly surprises, and a control over his material that few can master. A great performance in an excellent play. See it." (What's On 06/05/92)

"An extraordinary one-man goal-mouth show with Guy Masterson... At the end of the 90 minutes, the lad done great!" (Time Out 03/05/92)

"Masterson's fine, energetic performance combines all-stage dynamism with emotional control and clever parody. He hurls himself round the set and flings himself into impressions of football commentators. He manages to imply much more than he says, to insinuate intelligence..." (Financial Times 02/05/92)

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