Margaret ‘Peggy’ Ramsey was perhaps the greatest theatre agent ever to have lived. Certainly the most well-known and well-loved. Famed for her unwavering candour, her impeccable standards and passionate generosity to all of her playwrights, Ramsay’s commitment to the betterment of the theatre industry was unmatched. Her outstanding clientele included Eugene Ionesco, Joe Orton, Robert Bolt, David Mercer, John McGrath, Iris Murdoch, John Mortimer, James Saunders, Peter Nichols, Charles Wood, Ann Jellicoe, Edward Bond, Christopher Hampton, David Hare, Alan Ayckbourn, Caryl Churchill, Howard Brenton and Willy Russell.
The play is by Alan Plater, one of our most successful theatre and television writers, himself one of Peggy’s clients. It depicts an hilarious, if imagined, day in the life of Peggy Ramsey Ltd, set in her third-floor office at 14a Goodwin’s Court, St. Martin’s Lane in London in the 1960s. It gives a fascinating insight into who she was personally and professionally, and into the profound influence she had in shaping the story of 20th century British Theatre. We see Peggy interacting with three very different clients, Simon – a would be playwright just starting out on his career, Philip – an ‘of the moment’ playwright and Henry a longstanding client but perhaps past his prime and of course Tessa her long-suffering secretary.
First produced in 1999 by Hamstead Theatre, with Maureen Lipman playing Peggy Ramsey and revised by them only last year with Tamsin Gregg in the title role. This is a gem of a play for anyone remotely interested in the theatre.