Jenny McLeod, whose play The Wild at Heart Club is part of the Connections festival, talks to Clare Bayley

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The Independent Culture
"It's so refreshing to have so many groups performing your play," enthuses Jenny McLeod, the 24-year-old playwright whose The Wild at Heart Club is part of BT National Connections. "Usually you get one production and then it's never seen again." McLeod's Raising Fires was well received at the Bush Theatre, London, in 1994, but has not been produced since.

McLeod hasn't yet seen a full production of The Wild at Heart Club, but she caught a glimpse of three scenes performed by three different companies at the Riverside Studios showcase in London in April. She was very pleased with one of the companies, less so with the other two. "One of them found the comedy in the piece. Some people say it's quite a dark play, but I think it's pretty funny. The other two were more naturalistic."

To her surprise, she noticed that one of the main character's major speeches had been cut. "The girl playing it said she couldn't get through the whole thing because it made her cry. So she cut it in half!" McLeod took this admission as a compliment rather than an insult.

In contrast, Victor and the Ladies (reviewed below) is very much an adult play. It tells the story of one Victor Priddy, a man with 18 daughters from four different "friends", all devoted buddies of Victor's recently deceased wife, Cissy. Set "somewhere in England" but taking the form of a Jamaican farce, the play adds its voice to the clamour from black women about their feckless menfolk. "I've got four sisters and various girlfriends, and we've all been involved with men like Victor," McLeod says. "I think black men deserve the bad publicity they get," she says, though the play is harsh in its condemnation of the women who allow them to get away with it. Ultimately though, McLeod insists, it's a play and not a moral manifesto. "It's going to change no one's life. It's a comedy. If you tried to take this kind of thing seriously, you're just making a rod for your own back."

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