Shades of Lipstick

Shades of Lipstick



Twisted Willow Theatre present an entertaining evening of monologues performed by the charismatic, chameleonic actress Saskia van Ryneveld.

The two monologues “Bed Among the Lentils” by Alan Bennett and “Medea Redux” by Neil Labute both explore complicated women who are unsatisfied with their lot in life and take drastic actions to envigorate their lives or take control. They are presented by special arrangement with Samuel French.

Tickets are only a mere £1. Not only that, if you’re coming to see the show then you can get 10% off CB2’s delicious food!

Buy your tickets on the door in CB2 Bistro Basement.

Butterfly Effect

Butterfly Effect

Twisted Willow Theatre, in partnership with WRiTEON, recently produced a fully-staged play that was shown at the Corpus Playroom between Wednesday 25th May and Saturday 4th June.

The Production

Wait … what has just happened? Oh.

In the time it takes a butterfly to flap its wings, whole lives fall apart. We collide or even just brush against each other and in that moment, we cause immense changes. Changes that have practical, legal, emotional, relational or societal consequences which no one could have predicted. With each decision we make, we change the world which, in turn, changes ourselves.

Imogen and Jack are spending a Saturday morning in the park with their daughter Sarah who is going off to university soon. There’s cracks in the family relationships. Meanwhile, Ben is having a hard time coping with his loved one’s depression and is putting his own job at risk. At the same time, Melissa struggles being a single parent with only her friend Clare to confide in. But in a blink of an eye, their worlds are turned upside down by a terrible accident.

Do accidents really happen? Or is everything someone’s responsibility? Could all tragedies be avoided? Unlikely.

But once a tragedy does happen, what remains? What is it that made us who we are and how much of ourselves can we hold on to after an accident that split our lives open?

Butterfly Effect is a collaboratively written piece by local playwrights who have been challenged to explore cause and effect via a new dramaturgical approach. This innovative production is being brought to you by WRiTEON in partnership with Twisted Willow Theatre.

The Cast

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Directed by Richard McNally, the cast was as follows:

Imogen– Suzanne Emerson
Jack– Declan Lynch
Sarah– Emma Von Schreiber
Melissa– Amber-Page Moss
Clare– Tamsin Baty
Ben– Max Digby Carpenter
Beth- Saskia van Ryneveld
Lawyer– David John
Pete– Colin Simpson

The Writing Process

The collaborative process by which the play has been created (led by Dramaturge Kim Komljanec) started with a playwriting workshop with 25 writers:


Inspired by the central scene of this new play written by Kim, the writers were then given two weeks to write scenes of their own. Ten of these scenes were then chosen to be used in the final production. The writers of the chosen scenes were:

Melanie Taylor, James Stedman, Richard Peoples, Rachel Mariner, Philip Webb Gregg, David Lambert, Trish Rawson, Sue Whitney and Julia Bolden.

Anglesey Abbey Winter Lights- A Midsummer Night’s Dream


At the end of 2015 Twisted Willow Theatre brought an illuminous, invigorating piece of theatre to Anglesey Abbey for their sold-out Winter Lights Festival. In this unique interactive piece performers invited you to become immersed in their world of magic and mystery. The performance included elements of physical theatre and Shakespearean wordplay and brought the supernatural conflict at the heart of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ into this place of natural beauty turned supernatural by the festival of lights. Oberon (Richard McNally) & Titania (Sochel Rogers) were illuminated by colourful, majestic costumes which brought them to life in a way never before seen. The piece certainly breathed life and energy into the venues’ eclectic, electric evening of entertainment.

Seven Words For Love

Seven Words for Love

A Devised Project

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Seven Words for Love was a successful collaborative devised play about Love. It was staged at the Corpus Playroom from Tuesday 26th – Saturday 30th May 2015.  Here are some of the reviews of the production:

“There are instances of skilled dramatic craftsmanship, as the play structures itself beautifully around the character of John, homeless, isolated, and unloved, an ingenious core for the events to circle around, and played with incredible rawness by Jonathan Totman.” Varsity- Sarah-Jane Tollan

“The weaving together of agape, storge, philautia and eros amongst other aspects of love is often startling and poignant” Cambridge Theatre Review- Elizabeth Crowdy

Below is the blurb for the play:


Love is undeniably the most potent force known to humanity. The Ancient Greeks had many different words to describe its plentiful forms. Through seven of the most powerful words this compelling new play explores contemporary interconnected stories set in Cambridge.


Heart-warming moments demonstrate how love can keep a couple together despite age and sickness, or bind a family together unconditionally. Meanwhile, burning passion and love-sick intensity threatens to tear lovers apart and bring their lives to ruin.  In moving scenes one woman finds out if the mindfulness she teaches can actually help her through a silent crisis. This riveting play reminds us of the importance of having empathy for humanity and how we are unified through our shared experience as human beings.


The words that inspired the play were:


Agape – The Love of Humanity

Storge – Family Love

Pragma- Love that Endures

Philautia – Self-Respect

Philia – Shared Experience

Ludus – Flirting, Playful Affection

Eros- Romantic and Erotic Love


Meet the Writers


The play was written by a team of writers, who wrote one act each and brought their unique perspective and writing style to each of our words for love. They were:


   From left to right; Ian OslerDavid LambertRachel MarinerThomas Dedola,

Kim KomljanecHamish WilsonColin Hume.


Meet the Cast


The play had a cast of eleven actors. You can read all about them below:


Final Cast

   From left to right; Sochel Rogers, Sam GowansJonathan Totman,

Kim Komljanec, Richard McNally (Director), Emily Calderbank, Andrew Shepherd, Michael Southgate,

Jodie Sully, Heidi Bowes, Tom Ellis, Colin Simpson.


The Book of the Play


Book of Play


The book of the play was self-published in 2015 and is available to purchase. Please email if you’d like to purchase a copy. The book costs a bargain £4 + £1.20 p&p, and includes a colour cover, foreword, notes on the authors and appendix.

Show & Tell- Tuesday 20th November 2012

Show & Tell was a variety show that was previously hosted by Twisted Willow Theatre at the Portland Arms. The first night was massive success. We had a great turnout, each of the acts did a fantastic job and we raised over £80 for our chosen charity Arts & Minds!  One of the performers, Patrick Widess, wrote a review of the evening, which you can read here. You can also listen to an interview about Show and Tell with Twisted Willow Theatre’s Artistic Director Richard McNally on Cambridge Radio 105, you can do so here. (the interview is about a quarter of the way through the slot. Below is a list of all the acts that performed on the night and their entries in the programme, or you can view the PDF of the programme here, Show and Tell Programme.


-Richard McNally (Compere)

Richard is the Artistic Director of Twisted Willow Theatre. He has acted in and directed many productions both professional and amateur. This is, however, his first experience as a compere.


-Kate Vowles (Music)298

Growing up around the heart of American folk and bluegrass scenes in the mountains of    Colorado, Kate Vowles brings freedom and passion to her songs. She began playing on her mother’s old guitar, teaching herself with the help of books and the internet. Many years and guitars later, she has been sharing her music with people on three different continents, with albums in over seven countries. Kate has been delighted by the response, and finds song  writing a terrific outlet. It has been such a joy to share music with others in so many places.


-The Youthful Exuberants (Improvisational Comedy)

The Youthful Exuberants is a brand new comedy group made up of talented teenagers from around Cambridge.  Although some have been working together, and practising improvisation, for years,    tonight is their first show to members of the public – who we know you will be as supportive and generous as they are good-looking and kind.  Here’s to the first, hopefully, of many amusing performances.
-J.S.Watts (Poetry)

J.S.Watts is a local writer and poet. Her poetry and short stories appear in publications worldwide. She has had two poetry books , Cats & Other Myths and Songs of Steelyard Sue, published by Lapwing Publications and a novel, A Darker Moon, published by Vagabondage .
-Simon Jones (Stand-Up Comedy)

Simon trained at East15 Acting School, London. Simon has only recently ventured on the comedy scene so this all very new and exciting for him. This will be his 2nd performance as Martha Dench Mirren. He has performed at The Lions Den Comedy club and Proud Cabaret in London. He hopes you have a great night, as in his opinion variety performances are the most fun!
-Sylvie England (Martial Arts Demonstration)

Sylvie is a martial arts enthusiast, and will be giving a martial arts performance, based on kung fu forms that she learnt while attending a martial arts academy (Kunyu Shan Mountain Academy) in China for a few months. Sylvie is also I’m part of a stage combat fight team with Independent Drama ( Sylvie is predominantly a professional actress and later in the evening will be performing a comedic monologue.


– ‘King Prawns and Apple Pie’ By Rani Drew of Making Good Theatre (A Short Play)

Starring- Miriam Kmetova, Priyanka Joshi, Michal Szpak and Dinesh Kapur.

About the Writer:

Rani Drew has written more than forty plays and staged over twenty in the U.K., Hungary, China, Romania, Macedonia & Spain. In 2009, during the Darwin Centenary Festival in  Cambridge, she staged two plays on Darwin: 1859 – A Meeting of Poets & Scientists & The Man Behind Evolution. The Great Wall of Adhamiya,  a play about the Iraq War, was staged in March, 2012.  She is also a poet, short story writer and novelist. In 2010, her first novel, The Dog’s Tale, was published by Whyte Tracks, Denmark.

 About the Actors

Miriam Kmetova has been involved in several theatrical  productions in Slovakia and received Slovakian awards. She has taught Creative Drama following on a theatre project run by UNICEF and the Royal National Theatre in London.  She “likes to  explore the creative process of staging meaningful ideas that matter & thus giving the audience a glimpse of the importance of  ‘Love for the World’.

Priyanka Joshi has worked with Nichestagekraft, a theatre     company in India, acting in their street plays and writing scripts. A travel enthusiast and an amateur photographer, she is at present working on a Ph.D. in chemistry  at Cambridge University.

Michal Szpak, also doing a Ph.D. at Cambridge University, has been involved in theatre activity as an actor for 8 years. He was  associated with many student theatres in Poland, trained at the  Polish National Theatre in Warsaw and more recently has had      experience working as a Polish language coach in the USA.

Dinesh Kapur is currently studying the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge.  An Engineer by training, he is an accomplished orator with various victories in debating competitions and sports.  He has worked as a Voice-Over artist, and a Script Writer in multiple documentaries on environmental issues.

-John Drew (Buddhist Reading)

John Drew is a would-be poet, tonight he will be reading mostly verse fables from his book, The Buddha at Kamakura, which has been translated into several languages, including Japanese. He runs the Cambridge Poetry Workshop (
-Leanne Moden (Poetry)

Leanne Moden is a performance poet, whose work has been described as ‘surreal’ and ‘unexpected.’ Performance poet Kat Francois was kind enough to call Leanne’s poetry ‘hilarious’, and she’s been riding on the crest of that wave ever since. Leanne blogs at:
-Clarise Mbombo (Song)

Clarise is in her final year of university studying performing arts. She has performed in productions such as: Richard III, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet. She writes her own stage plays, and is trained in radio acting, stage acting and wants to experience acting for TV. Tonight she will be singing Out here on my Own from Fame.


-Poppy Kleiser (Poetry)

Poppy Kleiser is Twisted Willow’s resident writer. Poppy is also a classically trained actress, and has a number of leading acting credits to her name. In her gap year Poppy was commissioned by the  government to write several plays about young people’s issues. Poppy now has a degree in English Literature and Drama and is focusing on writing new plays for the company to perform. She also writes poetry and fiction and is a member of Cafe Writers in Norwich.


-The Cambridge Impronauts (Improvisational Comedy)

The Cambridge Impronauts are a skilled team who create comic sketches from your suggestions. Everything is made up on the spot, allowing our highly trained performers to dazzle you with their skill and wit. Your suggestions drive the show, so be prepared to join in! No scripts, no rehearsals, no problem!
-Sylvie England (Theatre/Monalogue)

After showing us her martial arts prowess, earlier in the evening, Sylvie will now demonstrate her acting talents. Sylvie is a professional actress, based in Cambridge and recently has been working closely with Write-On on a number of projects. She will be performing her comedy monologue ‘No Personality’ from the play ‘Vital Signs’ by Jane Martin.


-Patrick Widdess and Tom Adams (Poetry/Music)

Patrick Widdess is a published poet known for his surrealism and deadpan humour. He was a finalist in the Hammer & Tongue 2012 poetry slam and presents a music and spoken word show on Cambridge 105 called Headstand.


Tom Adams is a multi instrumentalist composer, producer and songwriter based in the UK. He also releases music as Toma, The Mountaineering Club Orchestra, and Hollow Mountain. Tom is currently doing a PhD in live electronics at the University of  Huddersfield and regularly performs live in the Uk and occasionally in Europe.


Patrick and Tom began working creatively together this year,  although have been friends for considerably longer. This is their second performance.


-Harry Wright (Stand-Up)

Harry Wright is an effete autistic Yorkshireman in exile at university in Cambridge. It’s probably for the best. Tonight Harry will be sharing with us some stand-up comedy about his own mental health and the problems therein.


-The Statue Theives (Headlining Band)

Formed in January 2012, The Statue Thieves are based in and around Cricklewood, North West London, currently playing the London gigging circuit continuously in promotion of the forthcoming EP Statues of Realisation. The Statue Thieves’ intentions lie in a laboratory–‐esque cooking of Mod rock, roots rock and roll, soul, folk, psychedelia, and mellow funk.

The four piece also finds space to be inspired by hip hop  instrumentation in specific ways, as seen with the number Movie Queen. Lyrically, an existential reflection is dealt alongside a peeping commentary and the world with live in. Syria, David Cameron, and the London 2011 riots are reported on next to a look at lovers, relationships, strangers, drugs, and the overlooked beauty of this world.

The band, in alphabetical order, consists of:

Craig Ingham: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, and Harmonica

Ryhan Lovell: Percussion, Chime Tree and Cajon

Alex Montague: Bass Guitar

Ivan Muela: Electric Guitar and Acoustic Guitar

Proceeds from the evening went to Arts and Minds, a Cambridge based charity that aims to include people of all ages, with all forms of mental illness and learning disabilities, in therapeutic arts-related activities.

Their website can be found here:


As well as their engagement in theatre, Twisted Willow are keen filmmakers. Their first film, Daffodils, will be shot towards the end of 2015. The film follows an encounter between a troubled homeless girl and a disturbed young man who develops an infatuation with her of an unusual kind. The film explores issues of power and vulnerability and promises a few plot twists that will take us out of the realm of normality. It will also explore dark content and adult themes to give us a gripping snapshot of two very private lives.

The film is set and will be shot on location on Cambridge streets. Written by Richard McNally, and including an original score composed by Twisted Willow’s Musical Director Nicky Bryan, the film promises to be as captivating as it is atmospheric.

Audition Opportunity: If you are interested in auditioning for the project please send an email to:

 Parts Available

Girl– The girl in the piece has been living on the streets for at least ten years and has become hardened by it. Any innocence she may have once had is long gone. Preferably, the actress for the piece should be quite slim. The story requires at least partial nudity in one scene for this role but this is something that will be handled with care.  The role requires an actress who is capable of portraying a street-wise aggressiveness as equally well as a vulnerable, victimised young woman.

Man– The male character of the piece is in his mid-twenties. He is very straight-edged, smartly dressed and sensible. He is a loner by nature and is a little shy and awkward around people. He is disturbed by events from his past and his unusual behaviour is almost characteristic of a psychopath. The actor playing him needs to be able to portray these subtle hints of psychopathic behaviour as well as being able to show a man that is fragile and broken-hearted beneath a stable exterior.


Lucas– Lucas is a local drug dealer. He is not particularly violent or aggressive but the power that being a dealer has given him has corrupted him. He has built up a relationship with Girl based on control, he knows that he can manipulate her into doing almost anything he wants. The actor playing Lucas needs to able to subtly portray this manipulative side to him without turning him into a stereotype.


Want to get Involved?

Twisted Willow are always keen to work with new, talented individuals from all fields of theatre or film. So whether you’d like to be added to our actor’s mailing list or would like to work behind the scenes helping with costume design or set building or even as a cameraman we would love to hear from you. Perhaps you have your own venue and you would like to work with us? Whatever the reason, please do not hesitate to get in touch. For more information, visit our contact us section.