Dreams From A Summer House: Synopsis

Cast: 4 male / 4 female
Running time (approximate): 2 hours 20 minutes - not including the interval
Acting edition: Published by Samuel French

A garden party is being held at a house in Leatherhead; the party is just out of view and a summer house and a treehouse are visible. In the treehouse, a young woman, Mel, brings some food to the illustrator Robert, who is divorced from her sister Amanda. Her parents are fond of Robert though and have agreed to let him stay in the summer house. Unfortunately Amanda is returning from a holiday early and all are terrified of her reaction to Robert's presence.

Robert upsets Mel and ends up drinking whisky with her father and after a chauvinistic tirade, begins to sing, alone, to his painting of Belle from
Beauty And The Beast.

Suddenly, the subject of his painting appears explaining she has escaped from Baldemar the Beast and can only speak through song. This poses problems for Amanda’s parents who interrupt the meeting. Amanda returns with new husband, Sinclair, and will not sing. The men are impressed by Belle, the women less so - particularly Amanda who has an outburst, only for the Beast to appear. He grabs Amanda and disappears.

Belle offers a theory as to what has happened and explains the Beast cannot hurt Amanda, who has been chained up in the Beast’s lair. She is threatened with a fate worse than death unless she sings to him. Eventually desperate for food, she sings a strange little ditty. The effect is to make Beast try and talk to Amanda, she seizes on this and begins to dominate and belittle him.

Robert is besotted with Belle and promises her a happily ever after life, but she is uncertain and she begins to lose her singing voice. Mel confronts Belle and through a song reveals her strong feelings for him. Belle admits she is losing her strength in ‘hell’.

The Beast has meanwhile collapsed and Belle, sensing something is wrong, is desperate to return to him. They realise the only way to restore normality is for Amanda to sing; faced with no option in order to escape, Amanda sings - a beautiful voice emerges - and she and Belle are transposed back to their rightful dimensions.

Sinclair rushes in and Amanda throws herself into his arms, singing her little song; Belle and the Beast sing and he renounces his claim to her. Mel, inspired by Belle, sings Robert a song revealing the strength of her feelings. The previously unimpressed Robert recognises the honesty of her feelings and they go off into the summer-house together.

Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.