The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
October 6, 7, 8 & 9, 1993.
by Tom Stoppard
Bob Ryder – Henry Carr
Ralph Dawes – Bennett
Adrian Kenward – Tristan Tzara
David Creedon – James Joyce
Jo Chalk – Gwendolen
Judith Berrill – Cecily
Peter McGhie – Lenin
Joan Braddock – Nadya
Stage Manager – Frances Thorne
Lighting & Sound – Trevor Langley
Lighting & Sound – Andy Chalk
Set Design & Construction – Brian Box
Set Design & Construction – Dave Collis
Set Design & Construction – Dave Comber
Set Design & Construction – Mike Davy
Set Design & Construction – Ralph Dawes
Set Design & Construction – Mark Flower
Set Design & Construction – Frances Thorne
Set Design & Construction – Sheila Neesham
Properties – Margaret Davy
Properties – Sue Whittaker
Wardrobe – Margaret Faggetter
Wardrobe – Jane Porter
Additional Costumes – Utopia
Continuity – Margaret Ockenden
Choreography – Jane Porter
Music – Nick Ryder
Publicity – Judith Atkinson
Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Publicity – Ann Donkin
Publicity – Jean Porter
Photography – George Laye
Box Office – Jill Redman
Front of House Manager – Margaret Murrell
Foyer Flowers – Audrey Laye
Programme Note #1: Travesties
GP wrote: “Travesties is one of the finest plays written by Tom Stoppard, one of our most accomplished contemporary playwrights. When first staged in 1974 it won the Evening Standard [a London paper: web ed] award for Best Play, with John Wood collecting the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Henry Carr.
Most of the play is under the erratic control of Old Henry Carr’s memory which is not notably reliable. His recollections tend to ‘jump the rails’ occasionally and are coloured by his own prejudices and delusions. Stoppard skillfully uses this device to keep the action moving at a rapid pace, switching from one comic scene to another just when it suits him. You will see scenes in more varied styles than would seem possible in one play. Clive James described watching Travesties as ‘like drinking champagne’; tonight we hope to show you why.
This production is our entry for the 1993 Brighton Full Length Drama Festival. We are pleased to welcome Jan Wagstaff who will be giving a public adjudication after the Friday performance.”
Publicity #1: Travesties
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: October 1 1993 issue – page 17
Text Header: “Stoppard signature gives the go-ahead”
A SCENE spoken entirely in limericks features in the latest offering from Wick Theatre Company. The group performs Tom Stoppard’s award winning comedy Travesties from Wednesday [Oct 6] to Saturday at 7.45pm at Southwick Community Centre’s Barn Theatre. Wick’s fears that it might not have been allowed to stage the play were allayed when a company member met Stoppard at the National Theatre. The playwright signed a copy of Travesties, wishing Wick luck for the production.
Travesties is set in First-World-War Zurich. Novelist James Joyce [David Creedon] asks British consular official Henry Carr [Bob Ryder] to play the leading rôle in his production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Carr’s triumph is overshadowed by a legal wrangle over the price of a pair of trousers he bought for the show. Wick promises hilarity as the play’s events are viewed through the far from reliable memories of Carr in old age. As well as a parody of Wilde’s masterpiece, there are songs, dances and a lively debate about art.
Show director George Porter described Travesties as a ‘brilliant mixture of high comedy and knockabout farce – theatre at its best’. Wick will enter the production for this year’s Brighton Full length Drama Festival. A strong and experienced cast also includes Adrian Kenward as Tristan Tzara and Patrick McGhie as Lenin.
Tickets for Travesties cost £4 each from the Barn Theatre box-office, phone Brighton  597094.
WICK Theatre Company is offering pre-show seminars for student of drama or English to give them the chance to explore the production in more depth.
Review #1: Travesties
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: October 15 1993 issue – page 20
Reviewer: Alan Olieff
Text Header: “Variety kept play moving along”
WILDER than Oscar is one way to describe Tom Stoppard’s play Travesties, but Wick Theatre Company managed to make something of it at Southwick’s Barn Theatre. Such an erratic plot allows little time for actors to settle into a rôle before they’re required to do something often quite out of character. That aside, most of the cast succeeded in breathing life into their rôles.
Bob Ryder was a pivotal figure as Henry Carr, a British consular official in Zurich during the First World War. The audience had to rely on his suspect memory to relive scenes supposedly from his past. A quirky twitch of the head accompanied by the sound of a cuckoo warned us when his imagination had been getting the better of him. I can’t begin to explain the to-ings and fro-ings of all the characters, but variety kept things moving along.
David Creedon made a comical impression as Irish writer James Joyce, leading the battle in a scene spoken entirely in limericks. He did justice to some good lines, especially about his matching jackets and trousers never quite meeting up at the same time.
Trousers also featured in an argument between Carr and Joyce concerning the Brit’s costumes for a production of Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. For me, the most polished parallel with the Wilde play was a well-mannered song performed with clarity by Gwendolen [Jo Chalk] and Cecily [Judith Berrill]. Judith also had the chance to show a leg in a bizarre scene atop a library step-ladder but her words weren’t so clear that time on the first night.
Adrian Kenward was forceful as Tristan Tzara, a founder of the Dada ‘art’ movement, attempting to impress the women with poems plucked from a hat. It was almost alarming to see him strutting about yelling ‘Dada’ like a Da-Da-Dalek. Some scenes between Lenin [Peter McGhie] and wife Nadya [Joan Braddock] faltered a little on the first night. Ralph Dawes balanced condescension with a sense of duty in the rôle of Carr’s butler Bennett.
Review #2: Travesties
Publication: Words & Music
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: H.C. Alexander
Keen Sussex theatregoers had no need to travel far and pay fancy West End prices to see the first major revival of Tom Stoppard’s Travesties currently playing in London’s Barbican Theatre, when The Wick Theatre Company presented a first-rate production of this off-beat comedy in Southwick.
Stoppard has indulged himself in a comical political spoof, weaving his fantasies around a British diplomat in Zurich agreeing to play Algernon in The Importance of Being Ernest, and using Gwendolen and Cecily as the love interests; also incorporating James Joyce and Lenin.
The diplomat Henry Carr played by Bob Ryder who held the stage for almost the entire evening, and got right inside the unusual character [presently being played in London by Antony Sher] and Henry’s co-partner Tristan Tzara was portrayed with great aplomb by Adrian Kenward. Ralph Dawes as Bennett the butler was everyone’s idea of the perfect butler, and David Creedon gave James Joyce true Irish blarney. Jo Chalk as Gwendolyn [sic] and Judith Berrill as Cecily both gave superb support to the men, and maintained the style of intimate revue set by their associates. Lenin played by Peter McGhie and Nadya played by Joan Braddock had less opportunity for comedy, but expertly portrayed the sombre Russian characters.
The fine dual purpose set was designed and constructed by an efficient team of eight members, and the lighting and sound by Trevor Langley and Andy Chalk, was spot on, while the choreography by Jane Porter, ensured a lively finale.
High marks must go to this Company for the successful presentation of such a difficult burlesque of art, revolution and a pair of trousers!
Comment #1: Travesties
Publication: Words & Music
Publication Data: Unknown
In our last issue we announced the winner of the Brighton and Hove Arts Council’s Full Length drama Competition as The Wick Theate Company with their production of ‘Travesties’. Members of the company were fortunate to meet Tom Stoppard at the National Theatre at the opening of his play ‘Arcadia’ last Spring. He went out of his way to assure them that there would be no difficulty about securing a licence for ‘Travesties’, even though he wanted to open the same month as the RSC revival, and he was most generous in his encouragement.
Wick Theatre Company, which performs at Southwick, near Brighton, has a policy of building a programme which covers a wide range of theatre interests. These include popular shows like ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Guys and Dolls’ which marked their 150th production last year, contemporary popular comedy and dramawith works by Ayckbourn, Bennett and Shaffer and more challenging classic material such as ‘Hedda Gabler’ and ‘Travesties’.
Next year’s programme keeps the pattern of variety going with ‘Stage Struck’, ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘Run For Your Wife’.