Helping Harry

A play by Valentine Guinness

“Helping Harry” is a five-hander set in contemporary London.  A first production was staged at the Jermyn Street Theatre in January 2001, with Nickolas Grace as director.

The reviews were very warm and the play ran for a month with packed houses.

A comedy with an undercurrent of poignancy, the play explores the relationships within a group of forty-year-old men who gather to support their friend, Harry.  The characters all met at college twenty years ago, and have kept in touch on and off ever since.  They are to discover that they know much less about each other than they thought.  The evening uncovers dark secrets, precipitates unwanted revelations and stretches old allegiances to breaking point.

“Helping Harry” explores the myth and reality of male friendship.  The sentimentality of a shared history contrasts with rivalries lurking beneath the surface.  It is also a play about honesty – how honest are we with our friends, and how honest are we with ourselves?


“I certainly did enjoy the play. I thought it had lots of life and lots of wit.”

(Harold Pinter)


“Hilarious… Guinness has a wicked eye for detail… you are held spellbound.”

(John Gross, Sunday Telegraph)


“A sharp bespoke comedy… had me snorting like a panto horse.”

(Robert Gore-Langton, Daily Express)


“A playwright of wit and warmth… Guinness’s humour and sharp observation

makes one impatient for his next play.”

(Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph)


“The details of Guinness’s characters’ stories give them the ring of authenticity

and fuels spirited performances…”

(Patrick Marmion, Evening Standard)


“An eventful and revealing reunion… as funny and thought-provoking an evening

as is currently to be found in the West End.”

(Terence Blacker, The Independent)


“Guinness shows he is adept at creating believable characters, sharp, witty dialogue

and sustained scenes of drama.”

(John Thaxter, The Stage)