The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
December 12, 13, 14 & 15, 1990.
by Peter Clapham
Natalie Colgate – Amy March
Sally Bailey – Beth March
Jenny Brown – Jo March
Jane Porter – Meg March
Daphne Thornton – Hannah
Joan Bearman – Mrs. March [Marmee]
Betty Dawes – Aunt March
Martin Parsons – Laurie
Michael Block – John Brooke
Ralph Dawes – Mr. Lawrence
Dave Collis – Mr. March
Assistant to Director – Sue Whittaker
Set Design – Dave Comber
Stage Manager – Mark Flower
Sound Effects – Ruth Simmonds
Costumes – Margaret Faggetter
Properties – Margaret Davy
Lighting – Frances Thorne
Publicity – Andrew Cregeen
Publicity – Ann Donkin
Publicity – Jean Porter
Box Office – Jill Redman
Photography – George Laye
Programme Note #1: Little Women
FM wrote: “Little Women by Louisa Alcott must surely be one of the best loved of all books.
If the March family seem, to modern eyes, too good to be true at times, is it not nice to see young people with a greater care for others than themselves.
I have greatly enjoyed directing this lovely play, especially in having four such talented teenagers in the parts of Jo, Amy, Beth and Laurie – today’s young people portraying those of a bygone era. Let us hope we may see more of them in future productions.”
Review #1: Little Women
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: December 21 issue – page 10
Reviewer: Michelle Nevell
Text Header: “A tale of women and war”
WELL-CAST characters, a brilliant set and period costumes transported the audience back to American family life in the 1860s at Southwick’s Barn Theatre. Wick Theatre Company’s latest production of the popular play Little Women was an appropriate choice for the festive season. Set during the American Civil War the play, adapted from Louise Alcott’s classic novel, tells of the struggles, hopes and happiness of the March family.
Four young actresses played the demanding rôles of the March sisters, Amy, Beth, Jo and Meg. Each of the actresses were cast brilliantly in their rôles and each developed their individual characters as the story unwound. Fifteen-year -old Jenny Brown, who took the lead as the tom-boy Jo, did not put a foot wrong. She kept up the difficult American accent and her appearance and manner were just right for the rôle.
Daphne Thornton as the family’s cook and maid Hannah, also gave a convincing portrayal with mixture of comedy and emotion. Betty Dawes, definitely had stage presence as the austere and harsh Aunt March, as did Joan Bearman as the gentle character of Mrs. March. American actor Michael Block added a touch of authenticity to the production as the tutor John Brooke, who falls in love with Meg March.
An effective set and lighting managed to capture the book’s epic sweep of two Christmases in the life of the March household. The problem of the actors and actresses keeping up an American accent was my only criticism. A few of the cast had no problems but others lapsed back into their normal accents after the first half-hour. Perhaps it was the effect of first-night nerves, in what was otherwise, an entertaining evening.