Production Company

JMC Fire is an independent production company formed to promote, produce and increase awareness of the plays of James Martin Charlton.

 

Since the mid-1980s, Charlton has written a series of plays which use a poetic sensibility and rich, theatrical language to tell stories about characters who might otherwise be ignored. He puts at the centre of his plays such characters as an overweight, lonely jobseeker (Fat Souls), a teenage vandal and his concerned teacher (Coming Up), a pimp and an underage rent boy (ecstasy + GRACE), a socially awkward gay misfit (I Really Must be Getting Off), an actor sexually harassed by a star (Coward), a barman framed for a murder (Been on the Job Too Long). He puts these unlikely protagonists at the heart of stories which hint at universal myths and folktales.

 

Charlton writes contemporary plays which deal with strikingly current themes and action within conventions drawn from varied eras of theatre – masks, verse, asides and soliloquies; medieval, well-made or Renaissance multi-plot structures. This practice places the characters and their stories in a unique theatrical world which removes them from the trappings of social realism and which might allow us to see them afresh.

 

JMC Fire will premier new Charlton texts and revive his earlier plays. The company will give new and emerging artists and skilled practitioners the chance to encounter and create exciting new theatre from these texts.

Past JMC Productions - The Reviews

COWARD

Just Some Theatre Company, 2012-13

" a gripping production with numerous layers to feed your mind and imagination for days." - Everything Theatre.

"...Audacity abounds, beginning with the very idea of putting words and witticisms into the mouth of Noël Coward, let alone of going behind the public mask. James Martin Charlton’s script lives up to the challenge, and fizzes with intelligence and humour.." - The Reviews Hub

"This is one of the best plays I have seen for a very long time. Coward, a fictional biography of Noel Coward, deserves a transfer from the White Bear Theatre, at the back of a pub in Kennington to the West End stage. It is reminiscent of The Judas Kiss and deserves the same acclaim… witty, beautifully written, and performed by a young cast with dazzling futures ahead of them. They so clearly love every moment of their performance and it is a delight to watch." - West End Wilma.

 

I REALLY MUST BE GETTING OFF

White Bear Theatre, 2005

"The country house play is a dependable form for detailing the state of (part of) the nation, and it gets a vigorous outing here courtesy of James Martin Charlton... splendid catty dialogue... this entertaining bunch." Time Out.

"...a cross between Oscar Wilde and Luigi Pirandello... a kind of Walpurgisnacht for the soul." - What's On.

 

ecstasy + GRACE

Theatre 28 at Finborough Theatre 2001

"a deeply spiritual inner journey of despair and possible redemption… as powerfully thought-provoking and emotion-stirring as the author could have wished." – The Stage.

"It neither flinches from its material nor seems emotionally dishonest… moments of genuine, unsettling force." – Metro.

"…it’s excellent… the writing is occasionally lyrical and even funny: broad literary allusions and historical references embrace the audience, and moments of humour provide safety valves… this play is well worth a visit." – queercompany.com

 

COMING UP

Warehouse Theatre, Croydon 1996

"…characters in plays by James Martin Charlton are given such rich, extraordinary comments to express their feelings… a return to Fat Souls’ peculiar strengths: a passionate sympathy with the victims of abuse, and a readiness to exploit underused theatrical styles to present their story." - Jeremy Kingston, The Times.

"…this award-winning dramatist is a poet of the tower blocks and he comes at you with a ferociously funny and totally uncynical voice which, as well as being entertaining, boldly suggests a universal and uplifting message about bridging the spiritual gaps that exist in our lives… some riveting dramatic highlights… Tragic but uplifting." – Roger Foss, What’s On.

" Charlton is undoubtedly a lively writer and his characters, their stories and his language hail from a fiery mind." – Patrick Marmion, Time Out.

"Charlton’s play impresses in how it never condemns any of its characters… Much of the language reminds you of Shakespeare’s… He eschews realism in favour of poetry and there is a strangeness to the play… he articulates the often silent voice inside everyone who hates their situation and wants to escape." - The Stage.

 

FAT SOULS

Warehouse Theatre, Croydon 1993

"There is simply no mistaking a new voice in the theatre… Charlton’s is a quirky, assured creative voice, consistently theatrical." - Jeremy Kingston, The Times.

"…this remarkable piece delivers a parable on the need to confront the world without a mask. The author certainly does so… He has created something funny, touching and quite unlike anything else on the scene." - Irving Wardle, The Independent on Sunday.

"…a new playwright of great promise… a confident new theatrical voice…

energy, street language and dives into rhyming verse." - Ned Sherrin, Sunday Express.

"It’s a simple story, but a remarkable one. Charlton writes with energy and jauntiness, strapping ancient dramatic traditions to his modern tale with great success - the play is written in verse and the characters wear masks, yet this never appears gauche… evocative of Jonson in its relish for stereotype…  a play about the redemptive power of love with distinctly Christian undertones, yet it is never mawkish, rather it is funny, touching and enjoyably theatrical." - The Independent.

"…sparkles with originality and life… Fat Souls, with its masks and preoccupation with the truth behind the hidden,  is written almost entirely in a form of rhyming prose poetry that explodes as if Caryl Churchill and Ben Jonson had suddenly rubbed shoulders… An exciting and thrilling debut indeed." - Carole Woddis, What’s On.