The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
April 28, 29, 30 – May 1 & 2, 1981.
Fings ain’t wot they used t’be
by Frank Norman – lyrics by Lionel Bart
Ralph Dawes – Fred Cochran
Frances Moulton – Lily Smith
Betty Dawes – Paddy
Barry Bowen – Sgt. Collins
Miranda Bowen – Policewoman
Richard Loader – Police Constable
Wendy Picott – Betty
Sally Bacon – Rosey
Neil Shephard – Tosher
Douglas Tucker – Redhot
Miranda Bowen – The Brass Upstairs
Antony Muzzall – Horace Seaton
Peter Joyce – Percy Fortesque
Sally Pumford – Myrtle
Robin Lee, Jim Biggs, Dave Collis, Richard Loader – Gamblers
Antony Muzzall – Norman
Clive Ford – Teddy Boy
Caroline Ockenden, Sarah Ockenden – Teddy Girls
Sally Pumford – A ‘Mystery’
Robin Lee – A Priest
Stage Manager – Brian Moulton
Front of House – John King
Assistant SM – Jill Redman
Assistant SM – Margaret Davy
Assistant SM – Sue Whittaker
Lighting – Frank Hurrell
Scenery & Programme – Antony Muzzall
Workshop Manager – Brian Moulton
Musical Director – Patrick Johnson
Piano – Myra Gristwood
Guitar – Chris Denman
Percussion – Jonathon Dawes
Costumes – Pat Moss
Dance Sequences – Miranda Bowen
Box Office – Barrie Bowen
Programme Note #1: Fings ain’t wot they used t’be
BM wrote: “In the normal theatre the true cockney is largely ignored or relegated to the supporting rôle of the maid or butler, usually introduced for comic effect. This play, by Frank Norman, is an attempt to portray, albeit lightly, the seamier side of the London underworld.
We hope we will not shock you with some of the situations and language and that you will enjoy this play in performance as much as we have in rehearsal.”
Review #1: Fings ain’t wot they used t’be
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: May 8 1981 issue – Weekend Section
Reviewer: Murray Morse
Text Header: “Fings are even better than they used to be!”
COR BLIMEY, clock that Wick Theatre Company, they’re a flippin’ marvel … and that’s kosher! The talented Company completed their season with Frank Norman’s very funny musical. Fings ain’t wot they used t’be at the Barn Theatre, Southwick. A disappointingly small audience, on the second night of the show’s run, were treated to some fast-moving, one line comedy … and the singing was good too. All the actors portraying a ‘den of thieves’ in the seedy London underworld, had their cockney accents well mastered. Indeed, the accents, combined with the script’s hilarious rhyming slang, seemed to cause many of the gags to pass without the audience catching the punchlines. The lead rôle of the one-time criminal king Fred Cochrane was strongly played by Ralph Dawes, as was the part of Lily by Frances Moulton.
But my star was Douglas Tucker, who cleverly brought to life, with his accent and mannerisms, light fingered scrounger named Redhot. Credit must also go to some of the other enthusiastically played rôles such as Neil Shepard’s Cosa Nostra portrayal of Tosher, and Wendy Picott and Sally Bacon as the ‘ladies of the night’. These, together with good use of a small stage and some lively music, made this production very enjoyable and a successful end to the Company’s season.
Review #2: Fings ain’t wot they used t’be
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: W. H.
Text Header: “Now we know”
THE musical Fings ain’t wot they used t’be, selected by the Wick Theatre Company last week as its end-of-season production, it is a fun piece with good characterisations and catchy music. It is arguable whether it is a wise choice for a company geared to drama rather than music.
While the four principals, Ralph Dawes as the erstwhile big shot, Frances Moulton as his lady friend, Barry Bowen as a bent police sergeant, and Betty Dawes made a very brave effort, Wendy Picott and Sally Bacon, while producing good characterisations, were not quite up to their vocal numbers. Those of smaller voice were certainly not helped by some over-enthusiastic work by percussionist Jonathan Dawes.
A notable ‘double’ was that of Antony Muzzall as a rock ‘n’ roll teddy boy type ands as a camp interior decorator, both very well played. Douglas tucker, as a small time thief, also gave a very good performance. All in all it was a bright, amusing and cheerful evening but there must be these reservations about it.
It is indicative of the way that we have been educated that when a Brighton company presented this play some years ago, it was thought wise to include in the programme a glossary of thieves’ slang. This is no longer necessary.