The Just Price of Flowers

Studio Theatre  

Stan’s Cafe, has a genius way of explaining things and making the difficult simple.

Lyn Gardner – The Guardian

A play about the 2008 financial collapse, set in 17th Century Netherlands, looking like a Rembrandt, featuring origami and paying homage to the great theatre maker Bertolt Brecht.

Tulips were imported into Europe in the early 17th Century at a time when merchants were generating wealth through trade. Collecting exotic items was a fashion. A passion developed for tulips, their price rose rapidly and created the possibility of making profit through speculative buying. For a brief time certain tulip bulbs were sold for prices equivalent to those of a house, or three years of a craftsman’s wage. In 1637 this financial bubble burst.

Using Tulipmania as its inspiration, The Just Price of Flowers finds the Van Leasings buying a tulip from Van Eek, using money borrowed from Van Hire. It follows them as they chase their dream of wealth through the growing complexities of futures trading, credit ratings, sub-primes, credit default swaps, and the horror of short selling.

This is a simple, playful production, which explains the complexities of high finance with great humour, in a remarkably straightforward way, whilst steadily setting you up for the inevitable heartbreaking finale. There are also two songs and an origami peacock.

Exhibited in the venue and complementing the production will be a collection of photographs from Birmingham Central Library’s John Blakemore Archive. Blakemore, one of this country’s most distinguised photographers,has spent more than a decade photographing tulips. This exhibition shows a selection of his work from across this period and resonates with many themes picked out in The Just Price of Flowers.

Documentary about John Blakemore whose photographs of tulips will be exhibited in the foyer.

Tour Dates

  • 12th July 2012
    Latitude, Southwold

  • 15th – 30th June 2012
    @ A E Harris, Birmingham
    with Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company

  • 6th March 2011
    Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

  • 3rd – 5th December 2009
    @ A E Harris, Birmingham

Should be compulsory viewing for the new generation: a ruff guide to finance

Libby Purvis – The Times

This is theatre at its most uncompromising

Fred Delmaso – Total Theatre

Original Cast & Credits:
Floristien: Christine Dugrenier
Husband: Kerrie Reading
Wife: Charlotte Gregory
Banker: Bharti Patel
Worker: Lucy Nicholls
Financier: Craig Stephens
Narrator: Amanda Hadingue

Script: James Yarker
Lyrics: Craig Stephens
Music: Brian Duffy
Origami: Brian Duffy
Direction: Amanda Hadingue, Craig Stephens and James Yarker
General Manager: Charlotte Martin

The Just Price of Flowers is based on real events both old and new.

This ‘austerity production’ recycles a portion of the set from The Cleansing of Constance Brown and costumes from The Cleansing of Constance Brown and Of All The People In All The World. It was written in five days and has been rehearsed in six, using locally sourced performers working on reduced wages and sharing box-office and bar takings.

Stan’s Cafe is a regularly funded client of Arts Council England and is supported by Birmingham City Council.

March 2010 Cast:
Floristien: Amanda Hadingue
Husband: Jack Trow
Wife: Charlotte Gregory
Banker: Bernadette Russell
Worker: Gerard Bell
Financier Craig Stephens

Summer 2012 Credits:
Floristien: Valerie Cutko
Husband: Jack Trow
Wife: Charlotte Gregory
Banker: Bernadette Russell
Worker: Gerard Bell
Financier Craig Stephens
Narrator: Jill Dowes

Stage Manager: Harry Trow
Lighting: Simon Bond
A co-production with Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company

A delightfully entertaining, but cautionary tale taught me more about complexities of economic downturn than I had expected. The portrayal of bankers and ordinary people who get caught up when the tulip bubble bursts is simultaneously amusing and thought-provoking.

Laura Ginesi – Behind the Aras

[…] the simple design is visually a triumph, largely monochrome, but with occasional splashes of colour from the paper tulips.

Selwyn Knight – The Public Reviews

That financier, going by the name of Van Hire, is a storm of a performance by Bernadette Russell and my pick of the bunch.

William Stafford – View from a Bum

“The great strength of the show is the use of highly original theatre to commentate with historical hindsight on a current crisis – and with absolute clarity.”

Chris Eldon Lee – Virtual Shropshire

Audience Comments

From Twitter:

@stanscafe LOVED the show tonight! My first Stan’s Cafe experience was an amazing one!

That @stanscafe are such a great co. Few could pull of ideas like Cleansing of Constance Brown & Just Price of Flowers in same program

#thejustpriceofflowers @stanscafe with @BirminghamRep is entertaining & uncomfortable. A fine line, walked with skill. Also, I love a #matinee,

The Just Price of Flowers by @stanscafe @BirminghamRep brilliant – witty, instructive, a little heartbreaking, and an origami peacock!

The Just Price of Flowers by @stanscafe is sobering, funny stuff. Three more days, do catch it if you get a chance.

#JustPriceOfFlowers by @stanscafe @BirmighamRep – best deconstruction fo financial crisis since “Enron”. Witt, instructive…

The Just Price of Flowers @stanscafe @BirminghamRep was so lovely. Fun, interesting adn surprising in all the best ways. Please go.

Had a top evening of tulipmania and economics courtesy of @stanscafe #justpriceofflowers. Top Show!

excellent, clever evening’s theatre @stanscafe “you can’t see the high, till you’re looking back at it from below” – just price of flowers

Also have been thoroughly educated re futures trading and financial crisis – just price of flowers brought intangible economics to life in very satisfying way. Chilled by banker in ruff eating cake whilst people lose their pensions.

Stark, provocative and slick performance from @stanscafe thanks for engaging if a little depressing evening. Great show #justpriceofflowers.

Still absorbing the great integrity, craft + generosity of Just Price of Flowers by @stanscafe. Intense detail + profound simplicity.

Great performance by @stanscafe of #TheJustPriceofFlowers in Brum today. Clever, funny & v. timely. Great cast great show. Go see it!

Loved “The Just Price of Flowers” by @stanscafe Excellent show.

Thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Just Price of Flowers by @stanscafe – superb piece of writing. #goseeit!

Don’t miss the @stanscafe show Just Price of Flowers in Brum until 30 June. Razor sharp incisions, bold imaginings and superb performances.

congrats @stanscafe on tightly wrought #TheJustPriceofFlowers

Top performances tonight from @stanscafe The Just Price of Flowers. Go & see if you can, they’re fabulous.

From The Comments Book:

Fantastic – a thoroughly enjoyable evening!

Great performances by all!

Witty script and great performances. M.Williams

Illuminating and excellent. Thank You.

Brilliant and thought provoking – best of luck for the rest of the run.

Absolutely awesome.

And now… what to do?

Ruff hierarchy was a treat – as was the rest – a tour de force or irony – I loved it, many thanks.

It is scary, we live in morality play times. Mordantly funny and this accountant thinks the explanations / demystifying second to none. Great cast too.

NOW I understand short selling. Pit you didn’t pout this on in 2007. Witty, well structured and sobering. Have learned our lesson?

I laughed, I swore inside my head and I understood… Bertie Brecht would have been pleased. Well done on a great show.

Well done! Very clever writing and excellent performances.

Excellent. Any chance of coming to Norwich?

Superb. Relevant, funny, shocking. Terrific.

Absolutely marvellous and to the point. The spirit of Brecht.

Brilliant. We are sending our partners next week so they don’t miss out!



You missed a trick, not selling tulips at the end.

Very creative play. Great acting.


I loved it.

This was a great delight and honour to watch and so much food for thought.

Always a delight and inspiration and education, many thanks.

Brilliant too – script writer(s) Bravo!

Excellent performance and script. I could watch it again tonight.

Very good play. Loved it.

Boys (and girls) – very clever.

This deserves a wider audience – Does a printed script exist? Wonderful concept and brilliant execution. The Berlin Ensemble would be proud of you! They still exist adn work in a similar style. Berold would be delighted.

Very much of our time – what a performance.

Just wat I expect from Stan’s Cafe, absolute quality! Fabulous!

one of the best explanations of what actually happened.

Awesome ‘The Just Price of Flowers’ – worth every penny – well written, superbly performed and relevant theatre. Well done!

Wonderful treatment of our time and of 1637 – great script and terrific performance! Come to London!

Illuminating take on the complexities of today’s market through the events of the past. A wonderful, funny and uplifting performance – also depressing! Thank you so much.

It was a warm engaging and reflective performance. It puts life events into a fresh perspective. Good stress relief. Thank you.

Really clear and well acted.

Excellent performance, funny and thought provoking, beautifully set.

Really apt – Bertolt Brecht would be proud of you!

Amazing!! Really enjoyed it.

Came again for the 2nd time, it was thought provoking please tellme more about future shows.

Very thought provoking – and a chilling experience altogether.

Very well done explained difficult concept entertaining.

Really, really impressive.

Brilliant, v. clever and funny – and uncomfortable.

I like a bit of theatre me. That were grand!

Exceptional – really enjoyed this event. Thanks!

Great production! Can you please send a copy of the cast list.

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Extraordinary show… Thank you!

To Website:

Fantastic performance this evening. I really enjoy how reality and slight comedy comes across and you leave with food for thought. Well done to one and all. 🙂