Roy Smiles is a playwright and singer songwriter from West London. He is also an occasional actor.
He is the author of twenty four produced stage plays. He has had plays staged in the UK, US, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Israel, Czech Republic and Sweden.
As a singer-songwriter his first album Drunks & Dreamers was released in March 2011. His second album Time’s Moving On was released in August 2012. His third album Seize The Day was released in June 2013, all on Red Admiral Records. His fourth album Autumn Song was released by Native Records in January 2014. A fifth internet only album: Fools & Angels was released on Bandcamp/Grooveshark in February 2014.
As an actor he played the character of Itzak Heller in Roman Polanski’s Oscar winning film The Pianist.
Five of his plays have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4: Ying Tong – A Walk With The Goons, Good Evening, Pythonesque, Dear Arthur – Love John and Goodnight From Him.
In 1992 his first produced play Schmucks, about a fictitious meeting between Groucho Marx and Lenny Bruce, was staged at the Battersea Arts Centre.
Other early plays include: Top Of The Town (Kings Head Theatre 1992), Roberto Calvi Is Alive & Well (Finborough Theatre 1992) Idiot’s Waltz (Finborough Theatre 1993), Danny Boy (Etcetera Theatre 1994), The Boys Of Summer (Old Red Lion Theatre 1995), The Promised Land (Kings Head Theatre 1995), Get It While You Can – A Conversation With Janis Joplin (Etcetera Theatre 1996), The Exiles (Hen & Chickens Theatre 1997), Stand Up (Old Red Lion Theatre 1999), Bombing People (Jermyn Street Theatre 2000), Sick Dictators (Jermyn Street Theatre 2001) and Lunatics’ Tango (Hen & Chickens Theatre 2002).
In 2000 he had a play writing attachment to the Royal National Theatre.
In 2004 West Yorkshire Playhouse staged Ying Tong, his story of Spike Milligan’s nervous breakdown whilst writing The Goon Show, which transferred to the New Ambassadors Theatre in London’s West End in 2005, produced by Michael Codron. It was later staged in the US, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
In 2006 he played the lead in his play about the London comedy circuit: The Ho-Ho Club alongside Sally Lindsay at The Kings Head Theatre.
In 2007 Good Evening, his story of the Beyond The Fringe team, had its world premier in South Africa.
In 2007 Ying Tong received its US premier at The Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia.
In 2008 Year Of The Rat, his story of George Orwell’s attempts to write Nineteen Eighty Four, had its British premier at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, again produced by Michael Codron.
Schmucks had its US premier at the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia in 2008.
Pythonesque, his play about the Monty Python team, had its British premier at the 2009 Edinburgh Festival.
His play about Kurt Cobain’s suicide: Kurt & Sid which starred Shaun Evans as Kurt Cobain and Danny Dyer as Sid Vicious, was staged at the Trafalgar Studios in London in 2009.
Backstage, his screw-ball 1930’s farce had its world premier at The Court Theatre in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2009.
His play about Robert F. Kennedy’s doomed attempt to run for president in 1968: The Last Pilgrim was staged at The White Bear Theatre in 2010. It was short listed for Best Play at the 2011 Off West End Awards.
His musical Burlesque, co-written with Adam Megiddo, about the 1950’s Communist witch-hunts in America, was staged at the Jermyn Street Theatre in 2011. It won Best Musical at the Off West End Awards in 2012.
The Lad Himself, his play about self-loathing radio and TV comedian Tony Hancock, was staged at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival.
Ying Tong, Year Of The Rat, Pythonesque and Kurt & Sid have all been published by Oberon Books.
Slum Boy – the story of sad face comedian Les Dawson’s rise from the slums of Manchester to fame. Cast of one.
I Shall Be Released – two Western hostages, a quiet American & a deranged Canadian, held in Syria find their humanity while in chains. Cast of two.
After Arthur – Peter Cook & Dudley Moore’s volatile competiveness is explored after Moore’s Hollywood success in the movie Arthur. Cast of two.
Ava – the young Ava Gardner confronts her older self about a tempestuous existence & self-destructive marriage to Frank Sinatra. Cast of two.
Reno – Marilyn Monroe & Arthur Miller’s marriage implodes in Nevada during the making of her last movie The Misfits. Cast of two.
Funny Girls – two New York Jewish actresses, loosely based on Barbra Streisand & Joan Rivers, bicker across years of struggle & fame. Cast of two.
Refugees – in a refuge for battered wives two women come to terms with their violent pasts and grasp, tentatively, towards a friendship & future. Cast of three.
Us & Them – in a psychiatric hospital a man claiming to be Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd is confronted with the spirit of the real thing. Cast of three.
Working For Mammon – a Hackney school-teacher becomes embroiled
in the 2011 London riots whilst befriending a 16 year old girl in trouble. Cast of three.
Waugh In Winter – acerbic right wing author Evelyn Waugh meets his match in a supposed BBC interviewer. Cast of three.
Plum – novelist PG Wodehouse faces prosecution by MI5 for his infamous Berlin broadcasts but is saved by an impish muse and insolent Jeeves-like butler. Cast of four.
The Weight Of Days – Albert Camus & Jean-Paul Sartre’s infamous literary & personal feud in 1950’s Paris reaches boiling point over a shared lover & Algeria. Cast of four.
John Wayne’s Walk – the spirit of movie legend John Wayne helps a nerdy agoraphobic find love & happiness in present day Philadelphia. Cast of four.
Hard Night’s Day – the story of The Beatles told in the ironic style of A Hard Day’s Night. Cast of four.
Fallen Sparrow – the last night on earth of John Garfield, Hollywood movie actor, hounded to death by the Communist Witch-hunts. Cast of five.
Vienna (1913) – Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky find themselves in the same Viennese boarding house in the spring of 1913. Cast of six.
What Kind Of Fool? – the story of cockney actor & singer songwriter Anthony Newley. Told through the songs of Newley & Leslie Bricusse. Cast of six.
Backstage – a Jewish vaudeville family comically implode on the eve of World War Two. Cast of six.
The VIP – Richard Burton, the Welsh movie & theatre star, fog bound at Heathrow airport in 1968, reflects on a life & talent wasted. Cast of seven.
Reading Gaol – Oscar Wilde survives imprisonment, heartbreak, enforced labour & George Bernard Shaw. Cast of seven.