Ben Elton

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Plays by Ben Elton

Gasping

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

When Philip is challenged by his boss to find a new way of making money from nothing, he invents the Suck and Blow machine and along with it the business of air – providing private air, stockpiling air, and eventually selling air. A flash advertising campaign soon convinces the public that everyone needs a Suck and Blow, but as the market for oxygen grows, the world’s supply is diminishing.

In this sharp-witted satire on the ludicrous, dangerous endgame of commodification, Ben Elton pushes the logic of capitalism through to its ridiculous and alarming conclusion. Gasping, first presented in 1990 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, is a whirl of innuendo, an exuberant mockery of yuppie culture and a scintillating parody of corporate greed.

Popcorn

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Bruce Delamitri makes movies: hip, stylish movies full of hip, stylish killings, admired both by the Academy and by Scout and Wayne, a couple of young people who shot an usher on their way out of the cinema.

Now Bruce comes home clutching an Oscar and a Playboy model to find Scout and Wayne, fresh from an America-wide killing spree, in his house and very, very excited to meet him. Wayne’s plan to escape the electric chair puts Bruce’s films and the modern culture of blame under the spotlight, not to mention putting him and his family in very real, totally un-stylish but completely transfixing danger.

First presented at the Nottingham Playhouse in 1996, Popcorn is a fast-paced and thrilling satire of violence in film, crackling with one-liners and edge-of-the-seat stand-offs.

Silly Cow

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Silly Cow is a slick, razor-tongued modern satire on the viciousness of tabloid journalism with an ingeniously dramatic dénouement. Doris is a newspaper columnist and reviewer with a talent for caustic insults and career assassination. She is being sued by the actress Trudi Hobson, after writing an article which savaged the respected thespian with accusations of small talent and large thighs. The queen of spleen isn’t worried: she’s got a job offer, a plan for a television show, and the cleavage to help the judge see things her way.

But she’s about to discover that even journalists can’t escape reaping what they have sown, and that there’s nothing quite as dramatic as an actress’s revenge.

Silly Cow was first presented in 1991 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London.

Ben Elton studied Drama at the University of Manchester and has written three West End plays: Grasping (Theatre Royal Haymarket, 1990), Silly Cow (Theatre Royal Haymarket, 1991), Popcorn (UK and Australian tour), and Blast From the Past (West Yorkshire Playhouse, 1998). Popcorn won the TMA Barclays Theatre Award for best new play and the Olivier Award for best comedy.