The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
June 24, 25, 26 & 27, 1992.
Beyond Reasonable Doubt
by Jeffrey Archer
Gerry Lane – Clerk of the Court
Ron Cheesman – Mr. Justice Tredwell
Brian Moulton – Anthony Blair-Booth QC
Philip Burton – Detective Chief Inspector Travers
Peter McGhie – Sir David Metcalfe QC
Mark Flower – Prison Officer
Joan Braddock – Mrs. Rogers
George Illman – Dr. Weeden
Douglas Tucker – Lionel Hamilton
Anna Borden – Miss Cole [Junior Counsel for the Crown]
Andrew Chalk – Robert Pierson [Junior Counsel with Sir David]
Pat Moss – Lady Metcalf
Stage Manager – Dave Comber
Assistant Stage Manager – Dave Collis
Set Design – Dave Comber
Set Construction – Ralph Dawes
Set Construction – Dave Collis
Set Construction – Dave Comber
Set Construction – Mike Davy
Set Construction – George Laye
Properties – Margaret Davy
Properties – Sue Whittaker
Wardrobe Co-ordinator – Margaret Faggetter
Lighting & Sound – Frances Thorne
Continuity – Jo Hopper
Front of House Manager – Margaret Murrell
Box Office – Jill Redman
Publicity – Anne Donkin
Publicity – Andrew Cregeen
Publicity – Jean Porter
Foyer and Theatre Photographs – George Laye
Programme Note #1: Beyond Reasonable Doubt
The programme note: “Jeffrey Archer has had the sort of career that makes the rest of us feel pretty dull. His interests, and his fortunes, have taken some spectacular twists and turns. His first claim to fame was as an athlete – fast enough to run the 100 yards at international level for Britain. He then became a charity organiser, started a public relations firm, and went into politics – first as a councillor, then an MP. After a financial collapse which brought these activities to an end, he rebuild his career, and his fortune, as a popular novelist. A brief return to politics, as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, was cut short by some sensational publicity. Then after an equally sensational libel trial, he emerged in the new role of playwright – with Beyond Reasonable Doubt. Most recently, within the last fortnight, has come the extraordinary news of his elevation to the peerage.
Nothing that Archer has done has been by halves. He has always thought big, pursuing high ambitions with great single-mindedness and talent for self-publicity. As a businessman, he was on the way to becoming a millionaire in his own right, then lost the lot. As a novelist, he finally made the millionaire bracket. As a politician, he reached a position of high influence in the land, before losing it in a lurid controversy. As a plaintiff in court, he won a record sum of £1/2 million in damages.
As a playwright, he has had a hard time at the hands of the critics, but with Beyond Reasonable Doubt he made the most lucrative theatrical; debut ever in this country. Beyond Reasonable Doubt, which opened just after Jeffrey Archer’s triumph in the notorious court case, is itself a courtroom drama. The charge is Murder. But the issues are not so much about violent crime, as about the motive and justification of the person on trial and his relationship with the person he is accused of murdering. The play deals sensitively with these issues, making us wonder whether the private crisis of the characters is really something that can be judged in a public court and in the language of criminal law. We are left guessing, right to the end of the play, what actually happened. And we ourselves are left to judge the right and wrong of what took place.
Wick Theatre Company are presenting this play as the second of four full-length productions for 1992. Already this year we have put on the popular adult comedy, A Chorus of Disapproval. Here, with Beyond Reasonable Doubt, we present a tense courtroom drama. In September comes the affectionate comedy of boarding-school fun and games, Daisy Pulls It Off. And in December we round off the year with the highly-charged classic drama of Hedda Gabler.
This is a meaty programme of plays, offering wide variety and, we hope, a wealth of entertainment to our audiences. We value your support to night and we hope that you will want to support future Wick productions – and indeed, to encourage others to see what we have to offer. If you would like to know more about our programme or about our other social activities, we would be delighted to hear from you. You will find details of who to contact over the page.”
Publicity #1: Beyond Reasonable Doubt
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: June 12 issue – page 13
Text Header: “Audience turn judges”
COURTROOM suspense from the pen of Jeffrey Archer will grip audiences at Southwick’s Barn Theatre later this month. Wick Theatre Company is staging Beyond Reasonable Doubt, which has a twist in its plot, says director Paddy Hartley.
The story is about the trial of Sir David Metcalfe, Queen’s Counsel [Peter McGhie], who is charged with the murder of his wife. The prosecutor is his sworn enemy, Anthony Blair-Booth, played by Brian Moulton. In the second act the audience are invited to judge for themselves who killed Lady Metcalfe [Pat Moss] when the events leading to the crime are reconstructed.
Paddy Hartley has also directed The Killing of Sister George and The Business of Murder as well as plays in Rome, where she acted alongside Brian Moulton.
The play will run from June 24 to 27 at 7.45pm. Tickets are £3.50. Call the Barn Theatre box office on Brighton 597094.
Review #1: Beyond Reasonable Doubt
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: July 3 issue – page 13
Reviewer: Alan Olieff
Text Header: “It all hinges on murder or mercy”
MURDER or merely killing was the unanswered question in Wick Theatre Company’s production of Beyond Reasonable Doubt. In the Jeffrey Archer play, Southwick Barn Theatre audiences were the silent jury for the trial of Sir David Metcalfe QC, defending himself on a charge of murdering his wife. The atmosphere in the first act was almost claustrophobic, as the story of Lady Metcalfe’s death unfolded in the formal setting of The Old Bailey. Sir David [Peter McGhie] seemed sometimes to take a matter-of-fact approach to his trial, in contrast to his more ‘human’ actions in the second act.
From the outset, it became clear that the housekeeper Mrs. Rogers had nothing in common with her master, Sir David. Joan Braddock put in a convincing performance as the woman whose evidence sparked off the murder trial. The cast was able to show how statements made before a court cannot explain the emotional stress of pressures which can lead to some criminal acts. Mrs Braddock was convinced Sir David had hit his wife [Pat Moss]. It was hard to accept the defendant’s claim that this was play-acting until the truth came to life in the second act.
The murder trial hinged on whether Sir David had knowingly given the seriously ill Lady Metcalfe a fatal drug overdose. At first it seemed he had financial motives, but the second act showed him as a caring husband. He was prepared to lose his wife by answering her heavily implied plea to put a final end to her pain.
Prosecutor Anthony Blair-Booth QC [Brian Moulton] came across as the most confident man in the court during the first act, repeating key phrases with telling effect. Repetition of another kind produced misplaced mirth on the play’s first night at the Barn. The final offstage call for each trial witness had the nasal twang of a radio Goon.
Sentimentality was poured on thick for the death scene, with Peter McGhie doing justice to the living poetry of Dylan Thomas.
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Sarah Monaghan
Text Header: ” Cast acquits itself well in court drama ”
UNDER THE ABLE DIRECTION OF Paddy Hartley, the Wick Theatre Company at the Barn Theatre in Southwick gave a most competent and enjoyable performance of Jeffrey Archer’s Beyond Reasonable Doubt last week, writes Sarah Monaghan.
The play begins at the Old Bailey where the distinguished barrister, Sir David Metcalfe, is defending himself on the charge of murdering his wife. Prosecuting is his arch-rival, Anthony Blair-Booth, QC. The interest of the audience is aroused quickly for it finds itself acting as both judge and jury. Suspense is heightened when the first half curtains go down at the moment of the verdict and the audience is deprived of the very information they have been waiting to hear. Certainly if audience participation is the play’s intention, then the comments of “Do you think he did it?” I overheard in the bar during the interval were proof of its success.
In the second act, we are taken back in time and we learn that the couple enjoyed a tender relationship. The murder scene is enacted and Sir David does indeed administer a fatal dose of poison to his wife. But there is a twist – Lady Metcalfe is terminally ill and the dose she receives is at her own behest. The right and wrong of what took place is not debated and, at the end of the play, the audience is left to make its own decision.
Brian Moulton deserves special mention for his spirited portrayal of Blair-Booth as does Douglas Tucker for his convincing performance as the dutiful Lionel Hamilton. Joan Braddock portrayed the timid and confused housekeeper Mrs. Rogers well and Pat Moss played the dying Lady Metcalfe with poignancy. The star of the show is, of course, Peter McGhie whose portrayal of Sir David I felt improved much with the second act where his anguish at the imminent loss of his wife is tenderly conveyed.
Dave Comber’s effective set design should not pass without praise – the courtroom is meticulously created – even down to the Royal Coat of Arms below which the judge is seated.
All in all, an enjoyable and well-performed production.