Madness Sweet Madness


It’s 2am, and Vesuvius would do anything for a few hours’ sleep. But the arrival of two unorthodox authority figures threatens to disrupt his night further – and make a right mess of the kitchen.

A strange and compelling new drama  about personal space, private grief, public interventions, and eggs.

The performance on Sun 26, 3.30pm is followed by a Q&A session.

Writer: Georgina Tremayne
Director: Phil Bartlett
Company: 1486 miles in company
Type of performance: Drama
Running time: 60 minutes
Rating: 12
Show warning: Coarse Language
Venue: Martin Harris Centre, Cosmo Concert Hall
Company website:
Show 3 of 5
  • Trailer

  • Cast and Crew

    Matt HoltAdj
    Matt Holt – Walt
    Matt is a recently graduated actor based in Manchester. He graduated from ALRA North in December 2014 and has since appeared in a MANACTCO production of King Arthur, as well as an advert alongside Neal the Sofaworks sloth. This is his first appearance at 24:7 and he is looking forward to getting involved!
    sarah 3Adj
    Sarah MacGillivray – Maarten

    Sarah studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where her roles included Anya (The Cherry Orchard), Edgar (King Lear), and Jenny (The Special). Professional stage credits: title role in Beauty and the Beast (Fizzgig Productions), Hex (Hill St Theatre) and she is a regular cast member at the Village Pub Theatre. TV credits: Outlander (Sony/Starzz) and Murder (BBC) as well as commercial work (Visit Scotland and Stena Line).

    Matt Aistrup
    Matt Aistrup – Vesuvius
    Matt is delighted to be performing at the 24:7 festival again, having made his professional debut in the festival a number of years ago. More recent credits include Tram (Shred Productions) at Chorlton Arts Festival, Carnival Of Souls (North West Film Hub) which featured in part of the HOME opening programme, Rough Cut (Cornerhouse Artist Film), and Coronation Street (ITV).
    sophie full res b&w-6
    Sophie Harrison – Grace
    Sophie has recently worked with Jeff Pope and Sandy Johnson on the new ITV drama series From Cradle to the Grave along with Peter Kay. This is her first 24:7 play and she’s thrilled to be playing the role of Grace in Madness Sweet Madness. She started her training at Arden in Manchester and pursued it further with David Johnson, ActUpNorth and has trained with Peter Hunt for the past two years. She also keeps pro active taking intensive workshops such as studying with Simon Trinder at ICAT in Bolton.
    Madness_Georgina Tremayne
    Georgina Tremayne – writer

    Georgina won the New Writing Award at the Leatherhead Drama Festival for Marie’s Crisis Café. She loves theatre played in all types of spaces, from big to small to odd. She’s finishing a new play Breathing The Diesel, adapting her radio play Beauty for the stage, and extending her one-act play River Limpopo into a 6-part audio series. She’s thrilled that Madness Sweet Madness is part of 24:7.

    Phil Bartlett
    Phil Bartlett – Director

    Recent directing credits include: The Madness of Lady Bright (CCA); The Special (Traverse, and touring); A million hearts in stereo (The Arches). Phil was a finalist for the JMK Award in 2014, and was Resident Assistant Director at Theatre Royal Plymouth from 2014-2015. This August he is directing La JohnJoseph: Practically Royalty at the London Wonderground.

    Jade Lewis
    Jade Lewis – Assistant Director
    Jade is an emerging theatre director who has directed youth theatre for The Southbank Centre and Southwark Playhouse and is now running her own youth drama company. She assisted at The Young Vic on The Suit, Venus/Mars for the Radar Festival (The Bush Theatre) and was Associate on an Old Vic New Voices project. Further credits include On The Edge of Me (Rose Theatre, Kingston) and working alongside David Lan as Boris Karloff Trainee Assistant Director on Blackta.
    Matt Fox – Associate Producer

    Matt is an emerging writer, director, and all round theatre-maker based in Manchester. He has worked with Assembled Junk Prod. on The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Kings Arms) and is currently developing new writing for both stage plays and radio drama. Directing credits include Singing in the Rain and ‘Allo ‘Allo (Salford University).

  • Blog


    Space – A blog

    When it comes to putting a performance together one major factor is the space that it will be performed in. This can affect everything from costume, to staging, to how a line is delivered and how you can get on and off, every tiny decision – It’s a sweet madness trying to figure it all out.

    Sometimes traditional scripts have a stage plan, which is great if you happen to have exactly the same size, same shape, and same resources as the location the script was originally performed. Someone has done the hard work for you and now all you have to do is adapt it to your environment.

    So what happens with new writing? What happens when you are the person designing the stage plan? How do you find the questions to ask that no-one has asked before?

    Madness Sweet Madness had been allocated the Cosmo Concert Hall at the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama. A wonderfully vibrant space, with a large wide playing area, and forward facing acoustics. It was fabulous.

    If you were doing a concert.

    24:7 has a tradition of performing in none specific Theatre Spaces and this carried through into the Cosmo. It looks like a theatre space, it feels like a theatre space but is not a theatre space. The question was could we turn it into one?

    This is where a little help from our friends came in. The Plant  who were sharing our space had decided to use the rostra – a square raised platform that limited the space down to a more intimate one. In the interests of time and space sharing our director decided to use similar staging. Which solved one problem – that the cast wouldn’t get lost in the expanse of the Cosmo.

    He felt however that it was still too empty and hit upon the idea of a large house like structure that would serve as a lightbox for transitions and play to the strangeness of the piece. There was a through line of houses in the script. Grace’s house with Charlie, The neighbours house, Vesuvius house, and the house gifted at the end. Indeed the very title of the show is a play on the phrase “Home Sweet Home”.  A creative idea caused specifically by the space. Even though it divided opinion should you remove the lightbox house – visually you would have a very different – very empty looking piece in such a big space.

    The space performed in is almost another character, it lends itself to the performance and creates the confines of the world in which it is set. So what happens when you give the show a second space?

    We took the show to The Lantern Theatre Liverpool as part of the Shiny New Festival. The space was a more traditional studio space. Much much smaller than the Cosmo. The first thing cut? The lightbox house. It wasn’t needed in a smaller space, the atmosphere came from the fact that the smaller space gave the show a more claustrophobic feel, that Grace and Vesuvius really were living on top of each other.

    It was interesting to note the changes – Actors were behind the curtain instead of in view at the beginning. The lights cycled through the transitions with the music, but this time they were directly on Vesuvius’ house instead of the lightbox – giving a sense of eeriness and surrealism, possibly not felt in the expanse of the Cosmo. Could he be dreaming in this space? When he quite clearly wasn’t in the former? The biggest change however was a simple one. Because of headroom Walt could not stand on the chairs at the Lantern – a re staging meant that he came forward instead. Right to the front of the audience. It pulled them in to his reactions – as if we were now a part of his “magic” and lent more weight to his words. A fix, a creative choice dictated by the demands of the space.

    So the space does matter, it can present two different versions of the same piece a day apart and radically change your interpretation. Perhaps because the script of Madness Sweet Madness is deliberately open, that it invites you to create your own interpretation of certain elements – that it is the perfect piece to transfer into different spaces. That just because you have seen it done one way doesn’t mean it won’t work another.

    I’m glad that the script doesn’t come with a stage plan, that the space becomes another character to tell the story, that in future productions interpretation can be decided by the space the show is performed in.

    After all it can only add to the madness.


    The sweet madness.




    Matt Fox


    Madness Sweet Madness Audition Process – by Matt Fox

    The Madness Sweet Madness audition process was an early indicator of how director Phil Bartlett likes to do things. He decided on a workshop audition that latest about an hour and a half and had approximately ten people.
    Six times.
    In two days.
    Perhaps this is foreshadowing the intensive rehearsal process that is to come before the 24:7 Festival Big Weekend,  but it certainly set the bar high and indicated what it is possible to achieve in a short space of time.
    After some details about Georgina Treymane’s script each group was on to ice breakers. The rules of Zip Zap Boing were debated and discussed as it seems everyone who has ever played has been taught differently. Phil ‘ s version contained added showstopping (should that be game stopping) elements – Tic Tic Boom. Although it reminded me of a summer song from the nineties, the energy and the laughter of the groups was apparent.  This was going to be hard work, but it was going to be fun.
    Moving on to another game called Sheriff (and / or Splat/Bang or James Bond amongst others), there was a remarkable constant across the two days. In half of the games played, Phil was out first. His only respite was in a smaller group on day two where the first person out was me. Perhaps this is why we are on the production side of things!
    Getting down to some exercises Phil asked the groups to pair up and mirror each other. The specific detail was the connections and accuracy between the actors. It was, slow and detailed, fast and loud but as an observer it was incredible to see the chemistry between people, where the sparks were and how creative people can be with a simple premise.
    Developing from this Phil led an exersise called Atmospheres. In which a given atmosphere affects the actor. It was at this point the words on the page came alive. The actors had been asked to memorise a line and deliver it affected by the given atmosphere.  One small sentence – given life. The result every time, in every group? A little moment of magic.
    In the second section of the workshop it was all about the script. The wonderful thing about the way Georgina has written the characters of Walt and Maarten is that they aren’t gender specific.  This meant in auditions that there were lots of combinations to be played with and lots and lots of fun as a result. The characters of Grace and Vesuvius were worked on too, pushed and pulled in different directions, towards and away from the script.
    To see the words lifted off the page, the skills that the actors brought with their interpretations and characterisations really highlighted the strength of the script. To watch Phil working with them,  exploring who the characters were and how they would react in any situation was fascinating.
    It was great to see that somewhere over the course of the two days, in the maze of choices and interpretations, the next steps for the characters were found. A spark of life. Another moment of magic.
    There is something special here, just waiting to be unleashed and I for one am looking forward to seeing how that develops through the intensive rehearsal process and on to the performances at the 24:7 Festival and beyond.
    So a big thank you to all who auditioned  for your time, energy and enthusiasm, but mainly for showing that sometimes unconventional is the best way to do things.
    Perhaps that is the heart of this production and the essence of 24:7.
    It may seem like madness – but it sure is sweet.
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