After the Carry On Screaming stops | New play about Kenneth Williams and Fenella Fielding's relationship

After the Carry On Screaming stops

New play about Kenneth Williams and Fenella Fielding's relationship

A new play examines the strained professional relationship between Carry On legends Kenneth Williams and Fenella Fielding.

Carry On! Screaming Queens has been written by comedy historian Robert Ross, who has penned several books about the film franchise.

The play charts the ‘unique and bitchy’ relationship between the two stars, which started in the West End revue Pieces of Eight, written largely by Peter Cook, and peaked with the  Hammer Horror spoof Carry On Screaming.

And they had a touching meeting in the year before Williams died in 1988 of a drugs overdose, a conversation where they debated their legacy and what it means to them.

In an interview a few months before her own death, in 2018 at the age of 90, Fielding recalled falling out with Williams while working Pieces Of Eight after a newspaper article praised her as a ‘beautiful Butterfly of comedy’, sparking his jealousy. ‘Kenneth came out of the wings and he had the paper in his hand and he had the most terrible temper about it,’ she recalled to the Guardian. ‘I thought, God! I can’t help the fact they’ve said something nice about me… I couldn’t believe my ears.’

He reportedly tried to sabotage her, such as encouraging her to ad-lib and then complaining to the director that she was improvising too much.

Screaming Queens artworkCarry On! Screaming Queens  has been released as an 80-minute audio download, which features 85-year-old Carry On regular Jim Dale in a cameo role.

Wink Taylor, who  played Marty Feldman in Ross’s previous play, Jeepers Creepers, plays Williams. He said: ‘ Kenneth is such a fascinatingly complex character, hilariously funny but undeniably serious, intellectual but vulgar, waspish but vulnerable.’

Jessica Martin, who plays Fielding, added: ‘I loved watching Carry On Screaming! as a child and the image of Fenella Fielding in that figure-hugging crimson dress and the unique voice that commanded attention must have contributed to my own ambition to be an actress.’

The show is available from Google Play,  priced £12.95. Here is a trailer:

Published: 25 May 2021

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