The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
December 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8, 1984.
Ring Round the Moon
by Jean Anouilh
Ralph Dawes – Joshua [a crumbling butler]
Peter Joyce – Hugo [a young man-about-town]
Peter Joyce – Frederick [his twin brother, in love with ..]
Sarah Goldstein – Diana Messerschmann [engaged to Frederick, secretly in love with Hugo]
Pat Moss – Lady India [Messerschmann’s mistress secretly in love with ..]
Derek Fines – Patrice Bombelles [Messerschmann’s secretive secretary]
Jean Porter – Madame Desmortes [aunt to Hugo, Frederick and Lady India]
Joan Bearman – Capulet [her faded companion]
Frank Semus – Messerschmann [Diana’ father, a melancholy millionaire]
Alan Upton – Romainville [Lepidopterist, Patron of…]
Louise Krige – Isabelle [a ballet dancer]
Frances Moulton – Her Mother [a teacher of the piano forte]
Brian Moulton – A General
Designer – Vincent Joyce
Stage Manager – Frances Thorne
A.S.M. – Margaret Davy
A.S.M. – Susan Whittaker
A.S.M. – Mark Flower
A.S.M. – Martin Cramp
Lighting & Sound Design – Barrie Bowen
Costume Design – Pat Moss
Costume Design – Frances Moulton
Choreography – Dinkie Flowers
Set Construction – Ralph Dawes
Set Construction – Brian Box
Set Construction – Mike Davy
Set Construction – David Comber
Set Construction – Gillian Robertson
Set Construction – Ian Naylor
Set Construction – Mark Flower
Front of House – Betty Dawes
Box Office – Jill Redman
Foyer Decor – Rosemary Biggs
Foyer Photography – Charles Porter
Programme Design – Marina Merrett
Programme Note #1: Ring Round the Moon
NS wrote “Too many years have slipped by since we last staged a play by Jean Anouilh, I wonder how many of you remember the production of Becket and Waltz of the Toreadors fourteen years ago and The Lark in 1974, three wonderful examples of the diversity of his works. Anouilh will always be regarded as one of France’s leading twentieth-century playwrights and Ring Round the Moon, or L’Invitation Au Chateau as it was originally called, was written in 1947.
Like other plays of his written in the same mould Ring Round the Moon is peopled with amusingly eccentric characters in a make believe world. However, lurking beneath the superficial exterior is Anouilh’s somewhat pessimistic satire of wealth and class. Hugo, Madame Desmortes, Diana and Messerschmann all embody this satire in varying ways and what an excellent foil to them Anouilh has created in Isabelle one of his most attractive heroines.
Having enjoyed several years in Wick, I am delighted to be able to turn to directing a play for the first time, and my pleasure is enhanced by working with a play I have always loved and admired. The experience of several members of the cast has helped my task considerably, though we are pleased to welcome Louise and Sarah, two new young faces to the Company. I hope and trust they will all help you to forget a Winter’s evening and make you glad you kindly accepted our ‘Invitation Au Chateau'”.
Review #1: Ring Round the Moon
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: December 14 1984 issue – page 21
Reviewer: Jocelyn Hollebone
Text Header: “Spring Ring”
SHADES of spring came back to cheer Southwick’s Barn theatre-goers last Thursday when Wick Theatre Company staged a performance of Anouilh’s Ring Round The Moon.
The stage was transformed into a spring garden, cleverly decorated with greenery, flowers and a prettily painted seasonal landscape. Equally effective were costumes, which were suitably lavish for the ball scene.
This was the first Anouilh play staged by Wick for ten years, but it was a particularly well-chosen script. There was a good blend of serious dialogue and subtle humour, which suited the acting capability of the cast. Wick seemed particularly good at developing characters and the script, which cried out for strong performances, gave them plenty of scope.
Leading man Peter Joyce played the part of the twins with flair and skill, bringing out the entirely different characters of Frederick and Hugo. He was given strong backing by leading lady Louise Krige. who played shy, retiring Isabelle. An energetic portrayal of Isabelle’s mother came from Frances Moulton, who assumed the bossy, overbearing character with ease. Two of the most convincing performances came from talented Ralph Dawes, who played the decrepit butler, and Jean Porter, in the rôle of the spirited, aging aunt.
Light, lilting music provided a pleasing background to the show. Although the audience reacted to the play, enjoying the strong characters and punchy dialogue, it was shame that the attendance was so poor.
Review #2: Ring Round the Moon
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Walter Hix
Text Header: “Slow at times”
In the main the Wick Theatre Company production of Anouilh’s difficult play Ring Round the Moon was a pleasing occasion, but there was something wrong. At times it was slow to the point of ennui. This was somewhat due to the variable quality of the acting but I wonder if director Neil Shephard was aiming at a stylish high comedy convention that did not come off.
Frank Semus as the millionaire Messerschmann had a good characterisation but spoke his lines directly at the audience in a manner reminiscent of the old French-style declamatoire. On the credit side, Jean Porter gave a sound and experienced performance as the acid and autocratic Madame Desmortes gauging to a nicety which lines to point and which to throw away; Pat Moss as her niece Lady India had a good comic flair and Frances Moulton as a vulgarian seeking to ape her betters was richly comic.
Young Louise Krige as a ballet dancer brought into the convoluted plot of this play was not happily cast and lacked the experience to carry off what is, in fact, a most difficult rôle and, I would say, did not receive sufficient help from her producer.
The presentation was good but it should and could have been very much better. The setting was perhaps the best non-professional stage set I have ever seen.