The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
August 9, 10, 11, 2001.
The Real Inspector Hound
by Tom Stoppard
John Garland – Moon
Bob Ryder – Birdboot
Theresa Manville – Mrs. Drudge
Adrian Kenward – Simon
Candice Gregory – Felicity
Zoë Edden – Cynthia
Peter Thompson – Magnus
Hugh Hemmings – Inspector Hound
Derek Fraser – Radio Announcer / Body
Black & Silver
by Michael Frayn
Adrian Kenward – Peter
Hazel Starns – Natalie
Stage Manager – Marc Lewis
ASM – Judith Berrill
Lighting – Mike Medway
Sound – Simon Snelling
Properties – Margaret Davy
Properties – Sue Whittaker
Costume – Margaret Pierce
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Publicity – Frances Thorne
Workshop Team – Brian Box
Workshop Team – David Collis
Workshop Team – David Comber
Workshop Team – Mike Davy
Workshop Team – Marc Lewis
Front of House – Valerie Bray
Box Office – Margaret Murrell
Programme Note #1: The Real Inspector Hound & Black and Silver
“Welcome to Studio theatre from the Wick Theatre Company in Southwick’s historic Barn Hall
This production is the second in an exciting new development for Wick. We are now expanding our traditional season of four productions, up to six a year – or more. And at least two of those will now be performed in a ‘studio’ style. Sometimes this will man that plays will be presented ‘in the round’, with the audience sitting around the acting area, in the main body of the Barn. Sometimes it may be presented in the even more intimate area of the big new stage. In any event, the maximum audience will be no more than 100 people – and all the action will be very direct and ‘close-up’!
Tonight it is a double bill – by two of the masters of modern British comedy. Black and Silver by Michael Frayn is a brilliant comic miniature, by the playwright of Noises Off. It’s a nightmare farce, as a young couple revisit the scene of their happy honeymoon hotel – but this time with the handicap of having to share their room with their own screaming baby. The Real Inspector Hound, by Tom Stoppard, is an acknowledged comedy masterpiece. It’s the ultimate spoof on the Agatha Christie ‘whodunnit’ – and a whole lot more besides!
This production marks the directing debut of both Peter Thompson and Simon Druce. They are two of the six Wick members in 2001preenting their first productions for the Company. This is a sure sign o the ‘strength in depth’ that Wick Theatre Company can now draw upon. We wish Simon and Peter and their stage and backstage crew, all the very best for a successful production and for a demonstration of an extra style of theatre now on offer at the Barn.”
Publicity #1: The Real Inspector Hound & Black and Silver
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: August 2 2001 issue – page 20
Text Header: “Comedies are twice as nice”
IT’S a double helping of comedy when Wick Theatre Company presents its next production “in the round” at the Barn Theatre this month.
The double comedy bill features two directors making their debuts with the Wick.
First comes Black and Silver by Michael Frayn, who also wrote the comical play Noises Off.
A young couple, played by Hazel Starns and Adrian Kenward, revisit their honeymoon hotel in Venice. There’s moonlight on the water, romance in the air and a baby sleeping in the bathroom. Only he doesn’t sleep for long. Efforts by mum and dad to prevent him from disturbing a hotel full of newly weds will strike a chord with all parents. It is directed by Peter Thompson.
The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard completes the bill.
His comedy is a satire on Agatha Christie’s thriller The Mousetrap. The heroes of this murder mystery with a difference are two theatre critics, Birdboot and Moon, played by Bob Ryder and John Garland. They are there to review this new play. Events soon take a bizarre turn and the hapless scribes are drawn into the action.
Director is Simon Druce.
Performances at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, run from Thursday, August 9 to 11, at 7.45pm. Tickets cost £5. Box Office:  597094.
Review #1: The Real Inspector Hound & Black and Silver
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: August 16 2001 issue – page 20
Reviewer: Jamie Hailstone
Text Header: “Comic capers in a large helping of comedy from popular theatre company”
Sub Header: “Plenty of laughs in Wick’s double bill”
THE Wick Theatre Company’s double bill at the Barn Theatre last week pulled no punches when it came to delivering a double whammy of laughs.
Sitting ‘in the round’, the audience was treated to not one, but two directors making their debut.
The evening began with Black and Silver, by Michael Frayn, and directed by Peter Thompson, about a young couple returning to the scene of their honeymoon in Venice. Except this time they have brought their baby too! Every parent in the theatre could sympathise as the sleep deprived Peter [Adrian Kenward] and Natalie [Hazel Starns] struggled to remember what the used to argue about before their baby kept them awake. There were plenty of knowing laughs from the audience during this short and sweet performance.
Adrian Kenward was also in the second play, The Real Inspector Hound, by Tom Stoppard [directed by Simon Druce]. While the first play was all about the comedy of everyday life, the second play had a much more post-modern approach. It started with two theatre critics Moon [John Garland] and Birdboot [Bob Ryder] sitting down to review another production. And it’s not everyday you get to review a play about critics reviewing a play! Very strange.
Both hacks have other things on their mind than the plot of the murder mystery that is unfolding in front of them, but little by little, they are drawn into [the] drama, literally! The mystery was a perfect homage to the likes of Agatha Christie, with humble servant Mrs Drudge [Theresa Manville] on hand to explain the plot. There was the bounder Simon [Adrian Kenward], the flighty Felicity [Candice Gregory], the glamorous widow Cynthia [Zoë Edden], the gruff Magnus [Peter Thompson, who directed the first play] and Hound [Hugh Hemmings]. Special mention must also go to ‘the body’ [Derek Fraser] for lying on the stage for the duration.
The cast brilliantly brought every cliché to life, with hilarious consequences. Events soon started to take a bizarre turn, but the cast kept the audience laughing at every step.
Peter Thompson and Simon Druce should be justifiably proud of their directorial debuts. Let’s hope Southwick does not have to wait too long before they return.
Review #2: Charley’s Aunt
Publication: Words & Music
Publication Data: Issue 96 – January/February 2002
Reviewer: Gordon Bull
I didn’t go much for this two-handed play. ‘Black and Silver’ was too real to be comedy, although a certain artificiality necessarily came through with an off-stage baby howling, which did not work for this in-the-round production with on-stage infant, any more than overloud flushin loos on a previous occasion.
It is important to get the details right for full enjoyment if belief is not to be suspended. Inevitably the bedroom humping attempts got most of the laughs as exhausted Natalie [Hazel Starns] fended off!
Michael Frayn’s play was not worthy of its author and too short for the interval placing.
Now, Tom Stoppard’s writing is another world and can be depended upon. Subtle and clever wordplay and cunning plot were exhibited here under the expert direction of Simon Druce. What an ingenious device this extraordinary work is.
‘The Real Inspector Hound’ was magnificently brought off and the denouement with Hugh Hemmings as ‘Hound’ a real triumph. Slendid acting all round from a well-chosen cast with a completely transformed Adrian Kenward as Simon, who one would not recognise as the same distraught father in the previous one-act play.
One could only admire the body on the floor throughout [Derek Fraser] Not a twitch. What a part! I recommend him to look up the part of the Devil in ‘The Waters of Lethe’
John Garland, Bob Ryder, Theresa Manville, Candice Gregory, Zoe Edden and Peter Thompson all contributed superbly.
Review #3: The Real Inspector Hound & Black and Silver
Publication: Wick Newsletter
Publication Data: September 2001
Reviewer: Claire Wiggins
There was no sign of first night nerves as Hazel Starns and Adrian Kenward snuggled down into bed, looking as if they had sunk into an exhausted sleep. This was the opening scene from Black and Silver by Michael Frayn, the first play in the Wick’s comedy double bill. Director Peter Thompson should be proud of his debut. He extracted beautiful performances from Hazel and Adrian. They were so convincingly as the sleep deprived couple trying to enjoy a second honeymoon, that if i didn’t know otherwise, I would have said they were playing this from experience. They worked well together to draw all the humour out of Michael Frayn’s cleverly written dialogue, whilst achieving subtle changes in mood from sleepy, to angry, through to sexy and affectionate. Mike Medway’s use of subdued lighting served to enhance these moods. Simon Snelling did an excellent job of providing realistic baby cries as required. The timing of the sound effects with the actors’ responses added a further sense of realism to this amusing, but rather moving, short play.
The Real Inspector Hound, by Tom Stoppard, the second play of the evening, was in direct contrast to the gentle humour of the first. This spoof on the Agatha Christie ‘Whodunit’ had a cast of ‘larger than life’ characters, who worked well together to give a highly accomplished performance. Director Simon Druce made full use of the studio space. I particularly liked the way the set was used to make it look as if the people behind Moon and Birdboot were part of the stage audience. His direction drew out the humour of the spoof, without allowing it to descend into the ridiculous.
John Garland and Bob Ryder created believable characters, gradually becoming involved in the show they had gone to review. They straddled the two elements of the play effectively by maintaining their characters, even when they were simply watching the action. Adrian Kenward gave an energetic performance as the cad Simon, which required a considerable change from his character in the earlier show. Candice Gregory looked lovely as the rejected Felicity. She spoke clearly, elegantly and emotionally as her character required. Scenes between Felicity and Cynthia, played by Zoë Edden, worked particularly well. Both maintained their pitch and tone of expression throughout the play, giving powerful and yet humorous performances. More humour was added by the witty characterisation of Magnus, played by Peter Thompson. His control of the wheelchair was commendable. Hugh Hemmings as the confused Inspector Hound, played the rôle with warmth and confidence.
The most understated performance of the evening, and yet the one which for me ‘stole the show’ was Theresa Manville as Mrs Drudge, while she remained in keeping with the style of the show, she added a genuine note which made the spoof story appear even more absurd. Her activities on stage when the focus was on the ‘audience’ was just right. She maintained her character and looked busy, without distracting from the actors who were speaking.
Finally comes the ‘corpse’. It cannot be easy to play dead on demand and Derek Fraser deserves credit for his ability to lie still, apparently without breathing, throughout the show.
Cast and backstage teams worked together well to provide two slick, enjoyable productions. It is good to know that there are now another two directors that the Wick can confidently add to its repertoire.
Comment #1: The Real Inspector Hound & Black and Silver
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: August 16 2001 issue – page 6 – letter
Author: A. R. Clevett, Rowan Close, Portslade
Heading: “Double Bill was totally faultless”
I WRITE to congratulate the Wick Theatre Company on their recent double bill production of Michael Frayn’s Black and Silver and Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound.
The first short play showed the perils of a return to a honeymoon hotel with a new baby in tow, and the second; a ‘who dun it’ send up, and after seeing the play I am still not sure who did it.
The word perfect case made for a wonderful evening’s entertainment, in a faultless production.