In Shades Of Blue by Ed Penney | Script Revolution

In Shades Of Blue

Stephen and Vicky meet and fall in love. But can their love survive the passing years when they both have completely different aspirations in life?



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My stage play 'Butterfly in Shades of Blue'

When they first meet at a school friend's birthday party, in the disused back bar of a nightclub, Vicky is 15 and Stephen is 17.
She is very attractive, drinks alcohol, and is apparently already a ‘woman of the world’. He is a socially-inept but highly intelligent geek, who is scared to death of girls, especially attractive ones like Vicky.
She coaxes him into talking to her and after initially almost falling off his chair, he gradually comes out of his shell. He fancies her and she admires his honesty because he is different from any other boy she has met.
He screws up enough courage to ask her out but she puts him down hard.

They meet again five years later in the same bar where they met five years before. Vicky is now at art college and Stephen is a medical student. She is now much less secure whilst his self-confidence has soared.
Stephen is working behind the bar. Vicky has apparently just dropped in to talk to the manageress, who is allegedly a friend.
Stephen arrogantly suggests that Vicky has only turned up there that night because she knew he would be there. He knew that she fancied him all along. Vicky calls him an arrogant prick and pours a beer over his head!

Ten years later Stephen and Vicky return to their smart hotel room after an abortive night out. They are now married and have two children. His career is on the up and up and he is still very ambitious.
But the idealism of his youth has faded and been replaced with conceit.
Vicky’s artistic aspirations are on hold due to the pressures of bringing up two children and acting the part of the perfect trophy wife to her brilliant surgeon husband.
But Stephen reveals he is having an affair. Vicky is devastated and demands a divorce.

Two years later they meet again in the back room of what is now a smart wine bar.
Stephen has attained the position of consultant physician, his lifelong ambition, but he has lost his principles and family in its pursuit.
Meanwhile Vicky has become a celebrated artist in her own right, selling her paintings for thousands.
Stephen recognises that he has been a fool and has reneged on his youthful idealism of honesty at all costs. Vicky has moved on in life and is apparently coping well.
Stephen asks Vicky to forgive him and wants a reconciliation.
But although she still loves him, does she need him in her life anymore?

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All Accolades & Coverage: 

A review of my stage play by Fringe Review [Edinburgh Fringe 2014]
Butterfly in Shades of Blue is a romantic two-hander written and produced by Ed Penney and directed by Alan Wilcox. It stars Ceri Bostock as Vicky LeGrange and Iago McGuire as Stephen Harper, following their connected lives over seventeen years, set in four acts in the same night club (and then wine bar) offering us, not only a classic rom-com but also a changing image of two all too human people over time.

The simple setting of a table and chairs becomes the anchor point for the story. Costumes change, fashions change, but some things stay the same. There are some important and well observed details in this ninety-minute play, as the characters become a bit older and wiser.

This is an encounter play. Vicky and Stephen encounter each other, they encounter their hopes and fears, and they encounter love, loss and...well, you can watch the play to find out the rest.

Plays like this do not always meet with critical approval at the often harsh Edinburgh Fringe. The play has a warm heart beating at its centre, runs for longer than most plays up here, and sits firmly in the style that will do very well on tour around the country. But it doesn't try to hit too hard for its own sake; it tells a good story and tells it well. There's plenty of wry humour, and some of the narrative confirms rather than shocks or surprises. It's a full-hearted story, written with an eye for detail, which lends a believability to the characters, played convincingly by Bostock and McGuire. It has a plot line that is engaging because it doesn't try to be sensational for its own sake. Here we have the human condition - the flaws and weaknesses that often lie at the centre of our striving for connection and purpose, offered through a theatre piece laden with comedy dialogue, laced with some intense emotion.

I felt there were one too many side-glances to the audience. The fourth wall is mostly up here, though we are addressed at specific times by the two characters in monologue. It is better for that fourth wall to stay firmly up for the rest of the time. The simple staging is a strength, allowing us to focus entirely on the dialogue; the four acts are transitioned by a wonderfully seen-it-all barman (played by Penney himself) who clears up the mess and wipes the tables in a way that is both funny and ironic.

Occasionally some of the lines felt too delivered and the more the actors can immerse themselves into the content of the play, and to fully let go of that delivery, the better the play will be. As it is, it is a long play that didn't feel over long and that is down to the strong performances and some crisp writing. Yes, it feels a bit cliched in places, but I don't believe that is accidental. The play is all the more accessible for offering us familiarity. What is also different here is that Vicky and Stephen are not easy puzzle pieces that fit together. In the end we have to accept what we are, with our flaws, and in our differences. Happy endings may only reveal themselves after a life time.

Each act is an episode in the lives of these two souls, as they encounter and re-encounter each other after five years, changed, and yet still somehow rooted in each other. That's the charm and cleverness of a piece that is moving and funny - the two vital ingredients for a good romantic comedy. The audience were fully engaged and interest wasn't lost for second.

This is a story of fears and hopes as they change over time. A gentle romantic story forms its core and it succeeds very well as a study in love and connection. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Paul Levy

Submitted: August 29, 2017
Last Updated: September 5, 2017

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The Writer: Ed Penney

I have been writing part time for over 20 years and full time for the last eight. I am a published novelist. My bittersweet comedy-drama 'Butterfly in Shades of Blue' gained a 'highly recommended' from Fringe Review at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014. I have written over 20 short screenplays and 18 feature screenplays, two of which have been optioned. Several of my short screenplays have been shot and are on Youtube. ['Still Life'...a 5 minute drama and 'That's what friends are for'....a 25 minute black comedy.... both Red Bullet Films] Go to bio

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