'The Looking-Glass Alchemist' was originally written for performance by junior pupils at an independent boys' senior school in London, thereby making it suitable for use as a performance playscript (or class reader) in boys' secondary schools, public schools and prep schools. It is a full length play with over seventy speaking parts.
On the last day of the summer term, an aged schoolmaster, contemplating his imminent retirement, decides to give his last class of boys a treat: rather than their usual heavy dose of Latin exercises, he tells them a story - a fairy story, in fact, involving kings and princes, a mad gravedigger, a 'seller of lives', dramatic kidnappings and carefully masterminded escapes, and, dominating the story, the figure of an evil sorcerer whose ambition is to live for ever. Somehow caught up in the middle of it all is Tom Sproggett, an ordinary schoolboy whose cunning and cleverness allows him to win through in the end.
Mixing together themes of growing up and growing old, of ambition and disappointment, and of love and death, 'The Looking Glass Alchemist' is an intelligent, entertaining and very funny play for young people to read, study or perform.