CarnsTheatrePassion.com (CTP) first became aware of Tea and Good Intentions by Felicity Huxley-Miners in November 2016, when a scene was presented at the Highbury Corner, Hen & Chickens scratch night.
The character of Margaret, stole the night; a beautifully observed widowed housewife, trying to solve the ills of the world by charity fundraising, her duet with a neighbour Mary a hilarious study in casual racism and competitive niceness. Into this comfortable provincial bubble, comes a refugee from the war in Syria, the cultured and mysterious Adar. The effect is superb political satire, a bit like Hyacinth Bucket presenting Newsnight.
CTP were pleased to hear that full-length work has been completed, and public previews will take place at the Kings Head on the afternoons of 11th and 24th February, tickets on sale now. We were lucky enough to catch up with the writer over coffee and biscuits one rainy afternoon in Holborn last week.
Huxley-Miners is one of a new generation of post austerity theatre makers, working three jobs to find the money to enable her to practice her art. She defined herself as an actor from a very young age, and moved from school, in a sleepy Surrey town, to the Brit School in Croydon, and thence to the Italia Conte Academy.
Together with her creative partner Lily Driver, she formed the company, Instinct Theatre, and in 2016 the pair wrote, produced and performed the two-woman play ‘Stench’, a cutting commentary on contemporary living. She had never thought of herself as a writer, she regards herself principally as an actor, but, whilst resting, became fascinated by the true story of Helen Pidd, who took a refugee into her own home, and started to form the character of Margaret, the protagonist of the play.
She has sought out and worked with those that have recently arrived in this country as refugees, (as she corrects CTP on several occasions, these are former refugees who live here now), as she seeks to bring depth and sophistication to the character of Adar. She was determined that her work should challenge but not judge, be entertaining and funny, and avoid white middle class angst. Margaret is presented as a rounded human being, and Huxley-Miners has listened to the words of middle England, inhabiting the cheap but potent sentiment behind Daily Mail headlines.
Her meticulous attention to detail has resulted in a play that packs a potent political punch, her characters seeking to understand each other and, seeing themselves reflected in the eyes of a stranger, reconcile their own internal struggles. In doing so she has created something timeless, a piece of drama that will still be relevant in 70 years, when the rich countries of the Middle East and Africa are playing out their proxy wars in the smoking ruins of Basingstoke and Guildford.
Originally produced at the Guildford Fringe, in association with Actor Awareness, the company has the support of the Farnham Maltings, and has been selected to be part of the ‘Without Décor’ development scheme at the Kings Head. This production is directed by Adam Morley and a cast of six, including Huxley-Miners herself.
There are just two shows, both at 1.00 p.m., on 11th and 24th February and tickets can be booked via the button at the top of this article.