I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
I Capture the Castle based on the novel by Dodie Smith Book and lyrics Teresa Howard music Steven Edis

Monday, 28 June 2010

Dear Dodie by Valerie Grove

Valerie Grove's excellent biography of Dodie Smith, DEAR DODIE,  was published in 1996 by Chatto and Windus, and is a great read for anyone interested in Dodie's fascinating life - from failed actress to the highest paid playwright in London and then on to author 101 Dalmatians which Walt Disney made into a smash hit animation.   She is an interesting and complicated woman!

Miss Grove has recently brought out a new biography about the life of Kaye Webb, who started up the Puffin Club and changed the face of children's literature, called SO MUCH TO TELL.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


In 2003 Tim Fywell directed a film version of Dodie Smith's I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, produced by David Parfitt the producer of Shakespeare In Love.  It starred Romola Garai as Cassandra and Bill Nighy (as her father James), Tara Fitzgerald as Topaz and Sinead Cusack as Mrs Cotton.  The screenplay was by Heidi Thomas.  There is a trailer of the film on Youtube which you can watch if you click on this link.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Karen Rabinowitz

On Friday I had a meeting with Karen Rabinowitz, the course leader of the Musical Theatre Post Grad. course at the Royal Academy.  Karen is directing the workshops and reading of I CAPTURE THE CASTLE in July.   It was a constructive meeting to discuss both my concerns about the libretto and her ideas for the reading.  We talked a great deal about what each character wants, whether they get it and why.  I am concerned that the characters of Neil and Simon should be deeper than in both the book and the film and we discussed their back stories and discovered that we had arrived at ideas about their history, which were very similar.

Karen Rabinowitz’s professional work has ranged from directing plays and musicals in the theatre, to staging and choreographing operas, musicals and revues. She also coaches singers and actors in specific roles, and her work has taken her to the Royal National Theatre, Opera North, Scottish Opera, TV and many repertory companies. She has taught at several London drama schools, and gives workshops and short courses in several European countries and the USA.  Steve and I are really looking forward to working with her.

Monday, 14 June 2010


Our new show - I CAPTURE THE CASTLE - is based on the book by Dodie Smith, author of 101 Dalmatians. There was a film made of the book in 2003, directed by Tim Fywell with Romola Garai as Cassandra and Bill Nighy as her eccentric father James.

We had a reading of the first draft of the libretto in June 2009 with a cast including some wonderful young actors from RADA and Arts Ed. The cast were: Paris Arrowsmith, Amanda Carlton, Mark Edel-Hunt, Frances Knox, Lottie Latham, Antony Mason, Alice Rowell and Richard Southgate - who was hot foot from the closing of Spring Awakening. The reading went really well and it was exciting to realise that this show has a lot of humour!

We then started writing the songs and got a date for some workshops at the Royal Academy of Music in January 2010 through Mercury Musical Development. We decided that because the novel is set in 1934 there would be a 1930's feel to all the music and songs - with tango, beguine, swing and a hint of Cole Porter.

The Royal Academy of Music workshops were with students from the Post Graduate Musical Theatre degree: Phillipa Cookman, Suzanna Kempner, Matthew Johnson, Paul Allison, Terri O'Ryan, Ross Barnes, Tom Little, Becky Moult, Alex Young and Stephen Sutherland. It was an exciting few days and Steve and I managed to write an new opening song, which I heard sung for the first time by Suzanna Kempner - who played Cassandra.

After the workshop we recorded the first three songs of the show at Lynwood Studios with Suzanna Kempner and Peter Polycapou.

After the RAM workshops went so well we were asked back to do more workshops on the show in July and the course leader Karen Rabinowitz offered to direct. We are doing a private reading of I Capture the Castle at the Royal Academy for producers on 11th July.