‘Wanting the Moon’

‘Exquisite, Moving And Historical – The Latest One-Woman Play From Rose Collis Does Not Disappoint’planet-nationPlanet Nation


A new play, written and performed by Rose Collis

Directed by Keith Drinkel

‘If I really had a free hand, I’d wish to broadcast on my 100th birthday, fly round the world…Oh, I forgot — I have often wanted the moon…’

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In her Covent Garden flat, Clemence Dane, author, artist, playwright, and Oscar-winning screenwriter, is busy at her easel, trying to finish a new portrait of her great friend, Noel Coward.

But this ‘blithe spirit’ is preoccupied — should she return to her old haunt, the stage, and resurrect the part Coward created for her: the eccentric medium ‘Madame Arcati’? She muses, ‘I have enough ghosts around me nowadays without playing someone who makes a living from conjuring them up…’

While she ponders on this and their long friendship, she summons up ‘ghosts’ from the past and re-visits episodes from her glittering career — the controversy caused by her lesbian novel Regiment of Women, her experiences in both World Wars, and her adventures in Hollywood with Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich… and The Marx Bros.

As she hovers between the worlds of the past and present, she muses on her future: ‘Perhaps I’ll come back and haunt you all.’ ´

And, perhaps, she already has…

‘Wanting the Moon is a moving monologue…It contains moments of intimate friendship and secrets of the time that give insight into the period and lifestyle that went with it. An entertaining play highlighting queer history in the period of closed doors, peaking into this often hidden and secretive time; this is a great example of the otherwise invisible queer history with references to many greats including Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo. The comedy was subtle with spatters of period innuendo that you can only imagine was used by those in the know to express their sexuality in times when it was not so safe to be out and proud as it is today. The writing was to the high standard that I have come to enjoy from Rose’s work and I can certainly see why she was able to obtain Arts Council funding which has allowed this exquisite piece to be created.’

Planet Nation

‘The eccentric medium in Coward’s play is said to be based on Dane herself, whose eccentricities Collis’ draws out through her funny turns of phrase, and odd attire. Collis also demonstrates a scholarly knowledge of the subject of her one woman show…and most deftly shows off Dane’s somewhat oddball character.’

London Pub Theatres Magazine


‘Rose Collis’s show, Wanting the Moon, is genius. Funny, well delivered, amazingly researched.’

‘Fab show:  polished , original and thoroughly entertaining’

 ‘We really enjoyed seeing Rose Collis in Wanting the Moon about the life of Clemence Dane. Such an interesting life she led and Rose really brought it to life on stage…I highly recommend you see this if you can.’

‘Lovely to see Rose Collis’s fascinating and entertaining new play Wanting the Moon.


The three preview shows played to packed houses at the Marlborough Theatre and the Arundel Jailhouse, and this is what audiences said:

Mark Burgess, playwright and director:

Thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s preview performance. Entertaining, informative, witty & moving at times. Congratulations to performer/writer Rose Collis & director Keith Drinkel.’

Terence Pepper, Senior Special Advisor on Photographs, National Portrait Gallery:

‘What a fabulous first night this was. So glad to attend with sold out show. Amazing writing and acting and perfect costume.’

VG Lee, writer and comedian:

‘Yesterday evening Rose Collis was superb as Clemence Dane, in her new play ‘Wanting The Moon’ and I don’t use ‘superb’ lightly! Last night’s performance was sold out and rightly so – this was an intelligent, impeccably acted and sometimes moving hour that seemed to fly by. I also applaud her director Keith Drinkel.’

Alice Denny, poet:

‘A tour-de-force performance!’

Duncan Hall, The Argus:

‘This world premiere was a preview performance, and as such Collis was still finding her way into inhabiting the role. As Collis gains confidence, the lines should reveal some of the clever wordplay at the heart of the script, and should make for a great introduction to a largely forgotten character.’

Other audience comments:

‘The physical comedy moments were highlights. The hour went so quickly, I was absorbed. The last line left me hanging a bit, trying to interpret it. It was a really nice touch to see the Coward portrait at the end.’

‘A reflective monologue/memoir from an older eccentric, slightly faded, full of love, good anecdote and funny British actress/artist.’

‘Great script, great performance.’

‘It was great! Really beautifully written and brilliant characterisation.’

‘Congratulations, Rose Collis, on a fascinating foray into the world of Clemence Dane.’


Author, Playwright, Performer, Singer, Musician, Producer, Historian