In a Handbag, Darkly
A surreal sequel to Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.
cast: 5M* + 4F + puppeteer
* 4M is possible with doubling, but the doubled characters are frequently on stage together
Self-produced at the Edinburgh Fringe, 2012
Official Sell-Out Show
Produced by iDiom Theatre, Bellingham WA, 2015
★★★★★ Broadway Baby “It is testament then to the brilliance of In a Handbag, Darkly [...] that I will never again look at The Importance of Being Earnest without feeling there is something slightly missing. [...] As an audience it is clear at once that we are in the hands of a master; the author, Robin Johnson, far from falling into the trap of slavish copying of Wilde, has instead engaged in a loving but acute dissection of Wildean language and plotting.”
★★★★ Scotsman “No MATTER how conceited or foolhardy a venture writing a sequel to Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest might be, this piece from playwright Robin Johnson and director Tim Murphy deserves credit for winning doubters over in confident style.”
★★★★ Fringe Guru “The founding strength of In A Handbag Darkly lies in its finely-honed writing: it’s a bold thing to say, but I genuinely feel the best of Johnson’s epithets can hold their own against Wilde’s.”
An exploration of the dysfunctional relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. (Before it was cool!)
cast: 3M + 1F + puppeteer
Self-produced at the Edinburgh Fringe, 2009 and 2013
Official Sell-Out Show in 2013
Five productions by companies in the UK and US between 2011 and 2015
Scotsman “Robin Johnson's script, while demonstrating a detailed knowledge of Conan Doyle's original tales, is an irreverent joy, and its hilarious denouement an absolute jaw-dropper.”
★★★★ Broadway Baby “Robin Johnson’s script is delightfully silly, the language rooted in nineteenth-century toff but liberally sprinkled with contemporary colloquialisms.”
FringeReview “A huge amount of credit is due to the author/director/producer, Robin Johnson. The play is written very, very well; the wit is sharp and acerbic, the characters well-realised, the plot excellent and the rhythm well-timed. This is farce of the highest order: the timing is nigh-on spot on, and this is no mean feat.”
A deconstruction of the Frankenstein story in its various incarnations, performed by characters from the novel and films.
Self-produced at the Edinburgh Fringe, 2010
Published and rights-managed by Stagescripts
Two productions by companies in the UK in 2016 and 2020
★★★★ Fest “Though comparisons to Monty Python have long been trite journalistic cliché, they are entirely warranted [...] Broadly appealing though unashamedly intellectual, the play is essential viewing for any discerning Fringe-goer.”
A parody of the farcical stories of P. G. Wodehouse.
Self-produced at the Edinburgh Fringe, 2014
A science fiction comedy-drama in the same literary satire space as my stage plays, in which classic speculative fiction writers go on time travelling adventures and take over at least one third of one planet. The complete first season is now available.
Untrue Stories home page on simplecast (listen, read transcripts, or find more info)
Sample dialogue in which George Orwell derides H. G. Wells' tea-making ability
Submitted for the Approval of the Midnight Pals (in production)
An upcoming comedy-horror anthology based on Bitter Karella's Hugo-nominated social-media based microfiction The Midnight Pals (content note: NSFW language), which I'm writing and producing in close collaboration with its creator. Versions of famous living and dead horror authors gather around a campfire to tell their stories in the style of '90s teen anthology Are You Afraid of the Dark? A season of (at least) nine episodes is in production, planned for release in late 2023. Using the existing characters from the microfiction, I'm writing and editing episode scripts in close collaboration with the series creator; casting, directing and providing feedback to voice actors; editing and producing the final audio; and composing and recording music.
I have a knack for rhyming nonsense and have occasionally been published, including in Poetanoster, an anthology of poems lamenting the decommissioning of an elevator at Leicester University, and the filk music zine Xenofilkia.