- ‘Ask a Silly Question’ by Richard Tydeman
- ‘The Cinderella Story’ by Kenneth Lillington
- ‘The Man in the Bowler Hat’ by A A Milne
- ‘Black Comedy’ by Peter Shaffer
Report by John Chandler – NODA Representative – 10 September 1974
” Now more than ever, those involved in amateur theatre, are finding it a world of big decisions. having fun is fine, yet we need the qualities of foresight and courage in our decision making.
The company found it necessary to abandon plans to produce ‘1066 And All That’ – and to present instead a programme of four One Act Plays. Without doubt, this was a success and an evening which I found easy to enjoy. In general more rehearsal was needed, yet in such circumstances,reherasal time must have been at a premium. However, I must review the show from the audience’s point of view. This I now do
‘Ask a Silly Question’ by Richard Tydeman, was a sketch based on a familiar ‘expert panel’ programme on television. Although giving opportunities to the all female cast, the format was of necessity fairly restrictive. The uninspiring script gave little help to the girls, but I do feel that more could have been made of each speech and movement. More facial expression, more extrovert movement and a humourous approach was needed. Enthusiasm is a word each must take it upon herself to build up her own character, and that means homework. You watch TV – try watching those comediennes and learn their temperament and method of saying lines. You’ll find it educating – in many ways! But remember, dont become discouraged. Everything you did was right, and good theatre – but much more was needed.
Unfortunately no note has been made in this report of the MDC members in the cast.
‘The Cinderella Story’ by Kenneth Lillington, was the second play – and out of the panto season. I found it appropriate to look again at the familiar story from another point of view. The cast found this much more interesting and they speedily found the correct acting style. Jill Hayden, as Cinderella, and Andrew Malyon as a reporter, impressed me very much. With Angela Payne (Honoria) and Jayne Halliday (Lavinia). they brought the dialogue to life – quite believably. Christine Bower enjoyed her portrayal of a Fairy Godmother – so did I. Yes – the play went down very well indeed!
To complete the first half, we had A.A.Milne’s ‘Man in A Bowler Hat’ and the cast conveyed the deceptive atmosphere with ease. John (Ian Howard) and Mary (Janet Poyser) delivered their lines sincerely and John Cade’s farewell performance as the chief villain was certainly well worth remembering. Hero (Ian Gould) and heroine (June Heath) played their small roles so well that I wished for more time to see them. The simple ‘pay off’ sent us to refreshments feeling cheated – but not cheated of enjoyment!
I was apprehensive before the start of Peter Shaffer’s ‘Black Comedy’ for many senior societies shrink at the thought of producing this ‘test piece’ – which strains imagination to its up-most. So what, I thought – consider the experience these young actors were getting. I never had the chance to do ‘Black Comedy’ when I was schoolboy!
As usual with Marsh Street, my fears were groundless. It would be stupid to report on the little shortcomings in so an unnatural a situation and bearing in mind the degree of difficulty, I would not hesitate in awarding very high marks for the effort.
Merrill Emms can be very proud of her performance as Miss Furnival. Old ladies are her forte – but don’t forget to gain experience of other types of role Merrill. A change of this sort is always for the better, I think. I remember the words of Roy Dotrice, now tired of playing the aged John Aubrey in ‘Brief Lives’ – ‘Never Again’ he said – ‘until I can do it without make up’
John Payne, as Brindsley Millar, and Lesley Morris as Carol Melkett had clearly worked hard to create their characters – and deserve congratulations. Denis Heath made the role of Colonel Melkett look very easy. So much so that I can find little to say in a constructive way about his performance. The role of Mr Gorringe was tackled in a business-like way by Peter Lee and the other, now stereotyped parts were played with confidence – and to my satisfaction. Well Done.
Cyril Malyon – this was a good result for all of your hard work. Co-Producer was Pat Potter – and Alan Russell deserves a mention for his lighting technique and efficient stage management.
This was a valuable experience for all the actors and a full, worthwhile evening for an appreciative audience”
The names of the MDC cast playing the parts of ‘Clea, Schuppanzigh and George Mamberger is unknown