A new stage play
By Eugene Doyen

England 1952. Homosexuality is illegal. Tony and Johnny are in love. Tony is a film star, a matinee idol, adored by women everywhere. To survive, Tony and Johnny must keep their secret.

The Leading Man Review:

‘Good Show’

‘…the play itself in outline and character is compelling …’

‘… the sparring between Saunders and Tony, sophisticate-sleek, urbanely menacing …’

‘ … the action’s noirish and sadistic at times … it’s fabulously nasty …’

‘… Doyen has rendered this deliciously absurd…’

‘Doyen has the kernel of something excellent, disturbing and playable. Next draft please.’

Fringe Review

The full review:…/fringerev…/2018/the-leading-man/

The production is now over.

For information:

Two full-cast readings
Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd August 2018

Purple Playhouse Theatre
36 Montefiore Rd, Hove, BN3 6EP

Produced by Philippa Hammond

Doors open 6:00pm and play starts 7:00pm
Bar and intermission

The Play

1952: Tony Thomas is England’s biggest film star, a matinee idol, a romantic leading man: he is adored by his female fans everywhere. This is Tony’s public life.

His private life is secret and concealed. This is because Tony is in love with Johnny Melrose, and in Britain two men cannot have any form of open intimate relationship: it would be punished with imprisonment and public ruin.

Johnny Melrose is married to the leading screen actress, Rosalyn Green. She is expecting her husband, Johnny, to go with her to Hollywood. Tony is not going to let that happen.

The initial inspiration for The Leading Man was the life of the British film actor and movie star Dirk Bogarde and essential to this his 50 year ‘secret’ relationship with Tony Forward. However, The Leading Man is a fiction. The play is an original story written by Eugene Doyen in the tradition of Terence Rattigan and Noel Coward: light drama, melodrama.

First public performance: The Leading Man, a new full-length play. It will be performed for the first time in public as a stage reading with a professional cast, and without rehearsal, staging, costume or props.



Tom Dussek as Johnny Melrose
Matt Beaumont as Tony Thomas
Sophie Methuen-Turner as Rosalyn Greenwood
Gordon Winter as Lord Thomas Saunders
Philippa Hammond as Deborah Ashville
Andrew McDonald as Narrator

Produced by Philippa Hammond


All proceeds from this event were donated to the Grace Eyre Foundation, a Hove-based charity supporting people with learning disabilities.

About the Playwright

‘The Leading Man is a play that stems from my admiration for Dirk Bogarde and for the people and work of the British Film Industry. I moved to Brighton recently and plan to work on personal project: films, plays, novels. I hope that Brighton will prove to be a successful environment for creative projects and collaborations’

Eugene Doyen

Lecturer in Film Practice
Film Studies Senior Tutor
Department of Film Studies
Queen Mary, University of London