Sweetpea Slight - Get Me the Urgent Biscuits - Orion Publishing Group

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    • ISBN:9781474605212
    • Publication date:06 Jul 2017

Get Me the Urgent Biscuits

An Assistant’s Adventures in Theatreland

By Sweetpea Slight

  • Hardback
  • £14.99

The dazzling coming-of-age memoir of a young woman's apprenticeship to a maverick theatre producer, against the backdrop of London's West End in the 1980s and 1990s.

'A sparkling memoir full of charm and wit' NINA STIBBE
'Anyone who loves the theatre will love this book' ZOË WANAMAKER

At eighteen, after moving to London with dreams of becoming an actress, an impressionable girl who paints freckles on her face begins work experience in a West End theatre company. In between mail-outs and making cups of coffee she meets the formidable producer Thelma Holt. Within a fortnight Thelma has stolen her, cancelled her audition for RADA, sent her to evening classes to learn to type, organised a minuscule salary and renamed her. From that moment she becomes Sweetpea.

Her days are spent in an eccentric office where Alan Rickman or Vanessa Redgrave might pop in at any moment. Evenings are filled with the adrenaline of an opening-night performance or the chatter of a smart restaurant where casting for the next production is discussed. Existing somewhere between glamour and penury, Sweetpea finds herself surrounded by dynamic personalities and struggling to trust her own creative instincts. Over the years her apprenticeship takes in unusual demands, misbehaving actors, divinely inspired directors and a hot-air balloon ride with British theatre's finest.

GET ME THE URGENT BISCUITS is a keenly observed memoir about the vanishing world of London's West End in the 1980s and 1990s, in which a young woman is swept into the orbit of a theatrical impresario. Shrewd, poignant and irresistibly funny, above all it is a coming-of-age story about the search for independence and an ode to the beguiling nature of theatre.

Biographical Notes

Sweetpea Slight spent twenty years working with renowned theatre producer Thelma Holt. Their working relationship spanned the National Theatre, the Peter Hall Company and finally Thelma Holt Ltd.

She lives in London and Dorset.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781474605199
  • Publication date: 06 Jul 2017
  • Page count: 272
  • Imprint: W&N
A sparkling memoir full of charm and wit, with moments of poignancy and lots of gossip. If you love theatre, you'll adore this book - it's a delight from start to finish — Nina Stibbe, author of LOVE, NINA
A sparkling memoir [that evokes] the rougher glamour of backstage life ... With its anecdotes, backstage intrigue and charming portrait of a young woman navigating theatre's enchanting parallel worlds, Get Me the Urgent Biscuits should find itself a wider audience to amuse — Victoria Segal, SUNDAY TIMES
A superbly written and moving account of one woman's efforts to understand the world and her own place in it ... Part of its beauty comes from the air of sadness that hangs over it ... In the end, this is a story about learning who you are by pretending to be other people — Mark Mason, DAILY MAIL
As this sparkling memoir reveals, it was a heady life of first nights, famous actors, mad deadlines and long, underpaid hours ... But as the years pass, she realises that the long hours, poor pay and her conflicted sexuality are making her unhappy and this adds a dash of melancholy to the deliciously entertaining froth ... Sweetpea's sobering honesty transforms this hugely enjoyable memoir into something more poignant and serious — Eithne Farry, SUNDAY EXPRESS
Sweetpea's memoirs catch beautifully (and without malice) London theatreland's engaging resilience ... I loved this book for its selfless, slightly dazed sketch of the clattering chaos of theatre production — Quentin Letts, DAILY MAIL Books of the Year
An utterly beautiful description of what it's like to move to London, and come to terms with your changing ambitions as well as yourself — Mark Mason, THE SPECTATOR Books of the Year
A charming memoir about offstage theatrical shenanigans ... Get Me the Urgent Biscuits is an elegy for a London that is wholly lost ... [It] contains a number of enchanting thespian vignettes — Roger Lewis, THE TIMES
Sweetpea, like Alice following the White Rabbit into the hole, takes us on an extraordinary adventure in theatrical wonderland. An insight into the theatre world which she shares with the reader with such ease and charm. The successes, the failures, but most of all the characters, and her homage to the wondrous Thelma Holt, who takes her on her fantastic journey. Anyone who loves the theatre will love this book. A must — Zoë Wanamaker
This glorious description of the maverick flame-haired theatre impresaria Thelma Holt by her hapless, charming assistant Sweetpea Slight made me put the book down and laugh loud and long, sweeping away tears so I could carry on reading — Anna Chancellor
Destined to become an instant classic. For the hardcore theatre buff, it has it all: a passion for performance, beautifully observed backstage howlers, celebrity gossip, devotion beyond the call of duty and, at its heart, a dazzling portrait of one of the great eccentrics of contemporary British theatre ... Get Me the Urgent Biscuits is an assured and ingenious conflation of autobiographical rite of passage, sharp character study and serious theatrical endeavour. It is also crying out to be adapted for the screen — Nick Smurthwaite, THE STAGE
Terrific memoir of working in the London theatre in the 1980s. Slight's job was lowly, but she has plenty of great anecdotes - not all of them particularly discreet — READER'S DIGEST
The dazzling debut of a born storyteller. The book crackles with wit while knocking you sideways with its poignancy — Anne Robinson
The uproarious memoir about the author's apprenticeship to maverick theatre impresario Thelma Holt. Slight was en route to drama school when Holt snapped her up, cancelled her RADA audition and changed her name to Sweetpea. Helen Mirren, Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman all have cameos. It's irresistible — SAGA Magazine
Slight is brilliant at conveying the intoxicating world of theatre ... [A] triumph of a book — Emily Bearn, THE OLDIE
A treasure trove of who's who in theatre ... An utterly beguiling book, full of hilarious and tragic incidents. Absolutely wonderful, darling — Claire Looby, IRISH TIMES
Anyone who's ever dreamed of working in theatre will love Sweetpea Slight's memoir ... It's simply hilarious, darling — GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
Gloriously gossipy ... You'll love it, my darlings — Sarra Manning, RED online
The latent luvvie in me adored this piquant coming-of-age memoir — Caroline Sanderson, THE BOOKSELLER
A funny and poignant memoir of London theatreland in the 1980s and 1990s ... full of witty anecdotes — TOWNSWOMAN
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