Elephants in the Roxy

Jan 15 2018 | By More

3T’s debut, Elephants, is Main event

New Edinburgh amateur company Threepenny Theatricals is staging Rose Heiney’s black comedy Elephants as its debut production at the Assembly Roxy next week, 25 – 27 January 2018.

Founders of 3T, husband and wife team Fiona and Ross Main, are well known in Edinburgh’s amateur musicals circles. But while Fiona Main has an awesome 92 productions under her belt, she will be making her directorial debut in the show.

Chris Cotter, Gordon Horne, Simon Boothroyd, Fiona Main, Rebekah Lansley and Elspeth Whyte. Pic Ross Main

Those who know Main from her roles with the likes of EDGAS and Opera Camarata, might be surprised to see her involved in a piece of non-musical theatre. However she told Æ that it’s not the singing she enjoys most, but the acting.

“I have always relished playing strong characters,” she says. “It was almost a relief when I got a bit long-in-the-tooth to be playing some of the sweet sopranos and was lucky enough to have the range to move into the meatier alto and mezzo parts which have much more character to play with.

“This led me to start thinking about plays. Not only would they be cheaper to stage but they rely solely on acting and allow for some wonderful character development that we could all really get our teeth into.”

When it comes to stepping into the director’s role, Main says that having been involved in so many productions, she feels that she “might just have” picked up enough tips and tricks to try her hand at the job.


“It also gave me a bit of a thrill thinking that, as artistic director and founder of the company, I’d be in control of the whole process,” she adds. “Everything from the company mission to the lighting and costumes and how the actors move and interact on stage.”

Pristine Elelphants scripts…

That process of being in control started with the choice of show, and Main says she read 30 or 40 in the hunt to find the right one. Initially she had thought a two or three-hander would be appropriate, but couldn’t find anything with enough oomph to make it viable for a fledgling company.

Having widened the search to larger casts and running some read-throughs of possible shows she happened on Elephants by Rose Heiney, the actress and screenwriter who is daughter of Libby Purvis.

“We didn’t even get to the end of the first scene of Elephants before we had pretty much all decided that it was the one!” says Main. “It had just the right mix of humour and drama and would have the audience laughing one minute and crying the next.”


The play is a snapshot in the lives of the Llewellyn family and their friends over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They are a family struggling with loss and are coping (or not coping) with it in very different ways.

Main is taking for herself the role of the mother, Sally Llewellyn – played by Imogen Stubbs in the original production at the Hampstead Theatre. She will be joined by Simon Boothroyd as Sally’s husband, Richard, with Rebekah Lansley and Gordon Horne as their children.

The Christmas visitors, played by Elspeth Whyte, Chris Cotter and Mia Oudeh, all have their own issues to add to the mix – quickly eroding the happy veneer of Christmas jollity as Heiney takes her audience on a darkly humorous journey, exposing the many ‘elephants in the room’.

“The characters and the issues they face are all very real and having only been written in 2014 it’s a contemporary setting,” Main adds. “As we’re performing in January and the play is set at Christmas our audiences will be able to compare the Llewellyn family Christmas with their own festivities.

“Who hasn’t had a Christmas that hasn’t quite gone according to plan?

“I hope nobody in our audience will have experienced one quite like this however!”

Listings & Links

Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU
Thursday 25 – Saturday 27 January 2018.
Evenings: 7.30pm; Matinee Sat: 2.30pm.
Tickets and information: www.assemblyroxy.com
Facebook event page: www.facebook.com

Threepenny Theatrical website: www.threepenny-theatricals.org
Facebook: @3pennytheatre
Twitter: @3penny_theatre

The script of Elephants is published by Nick Hern Books: www.nickhernbooks.co.uk.
It is also available from Amazon:


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  1. Elephants : All Edinburgh Theatre.com | Jan 26 2018