Composer . Writer . Cabaret Performer

Mark Bunyan Composer . Writer . Cabaret Performer

Musical theatre writing:

Keeping Mum
Johanna Marshall
Johanna Marshall

After not writing any musical theatre for about seven years, I finally started work on a new piece in the early nineties and continued working on it, on and off, through the decade.

With the chance to workshop another new piece at the Royal Academy of Music in the spring of 2002, I settled down to finish it and the workshops culminated in a rehearsed reading to a small audience towards the end of the term. Amongst the cast was Stephen Ashfield, a recording of whose performance of one of the songs was one of the first things to grace a website about him.

Joanna Mays
Joanna Mays

The story
Keeping Mum was suggested by the life of a dear friend and neighbour as I watched her cope with bringing up her five year old daughter at the same time as dealing with her mother-in-law’s increasing dementia.

It’s a surreal fantasy, the memories of the daughter as she reaches a similar moment in her own life, with a life-size television set in the kitchen, constantly throwing remembered figures from daytime television into the mix.

Stefan Bednarczy
Stefan Bednarczyk
A subtle and beautiful evocation of the dreams of Ginny relating to her mother and her childhood. I long for someone to pick this up and give it a full production.
Musical Stages magazine

Showcased at the Musical Futures festival
Shortly afterwards, the piece was chosen for showcasing at the Musical Futures festival at Greenwich in May of 2002.

Anny Tobin
Anny Tobin

Although it was too complex to show the surreal nature of the piece in a 25 minute showcase, a wonderful cast of Stefan Bednarczyk, Adam Goodman, Anny Tobin and Johanna Marshall rose to the challenge under the musical direction of Peter Corrigan. Joanna Mays, who had been in both Just Good Friends and Homes And Gardens nearly twenty years earlier, brought the house down as Ellen, the Mum of the title.

Listen to Brain Surgeon where Ginny asks her mother what she will do when she grows up:

Listen to The Women On The Street where the couple go out shopping and Ellen meets someone she knows:

Listen to I Could Have Been A Star where Ellen, Ginny and mother-in-law Gwen get riotous about life’s possibilities: