“Failure: a Love Story”

A play by Philip Dawkins

The Roaring Twenties

Just one hundred years ago! They were exciting, if dangerous times.

Art Deco, Spectacular Clothing, Jazz, Prohibition,

Speak-easies, The rise of organised crime,

The St Valentines Day massacre
(using Thompson sub-machine guns – no relation).

Of all places, Chicago seems to have been, if not the hub of all this, at least involved up to its stylish armpits.

This is the background, but not the subject of this play – about a family of three girls and a boy, running their family business on the corner of Lumber and Love in a non-salubrious part of Chicago, by the banks of the smelly Chicago River.

They have successfully run the family clock repair business since the death of their parents, who had emigrated from “The Old Country”. They are:

Gerty Fail An accomplished clock repairer since a very young age.
Jenny June Fail A very accomplished swimmer and diver – with a crush on Johnny Weissmuller (whom she came second to in a diving competition).
(Johnny Weissmuller later became famous for playing the role of Tarzan).
Nelly Fail A bright young thing – who loves life, music and dancing. A professional singer (who hasn't been discovered yet).
John N Fail Their adopted brother, who finds animals better company than people. In fact, his best friend is Moses – who was found floating down the Chicago River in a wicker basket, which also contained the baby John N. (Moses is a ball python).

Into the Fail Family’s peaceful but not quiet life, surrounded by music, clocks, and animals, comes Mortimer . He is rich, successful, and an all-round nice guy, who wouldn’t know the time of day!

Now: Some people are lucky in love;
Some people are unlucky in love;
Some people are very unlucky in love;
And then ... there is Mortimer.

But is it a “Sad Play”?

Well, yes - we have to admit it is sad in parts. It is the story of a family that lived and loved in the roaring twenties. It is now a hundred years later. But this is emphatically NOT a tragedy.

It is probably the funniest, cleverist, brightest, sassyist, corniest, picaresque, pun-infested, historically accurate, uplifting “Sad Play” in the business.

It is a play about people: strange and wonderful, smart and foolish, but all likeable.
As one of the characters says:

“Just because something ends, that don't mean it wasn't a great success.”


Performances at The Ron Hurley Theatre, 28 Tallowwood Street, Seven Hills on
Fri 8th November 2024 at 7:30pm;
Sat 9th Nov at 2:00pm and 7:30pm;
Sun 10th Nov at 2:00pm

(Special preview for members on the evening of Wed 6th Nov).

Al Capone, Bugs Moran and Thompson sub-machine guns (no relation) have no part in this story whatsoever.