The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
September 10, 11, 14, 16 & 18, 2004.
As You Like It
by William Shakespeare
September 11 [mat], 13, 15, 17 & 18 [mat] 2004.
Blue Remembered Hills
by Denis Potter
Cast – Blue Remembered Hills
David Peaty – Peter
Mark Best – Willie
John Garland – John
Nick Richmond – Raymond
Kate Brownings – Audrey
Judith Berrill – Angela
Bob Ryder – Donald
Edward & Eleanor Gamper – Original Music
Edward Gamper – Sound Studio
Cast – As You Like It
The De Boys Household 
John Garland – Oliver [the oldest son]
Nick Ryder – Jack [the second son]
Greg Robinson – Orlando [the youngest son]
Ray Hopper – Adam [servant to the de Boys]
Kevin Isaac – Dennis [servant to the de Boys]
The Court of the Usurping Duke
Tony Brownings – Frederick [ brother of Duke Senior]
Lyn Fernee – Celia [Frederick’s daughter]
Leila Leam – Rosalind [Duke Senior’s daughter]
Nicki Dunsford – Le Beu [courtier]
Jenny Burtenshaw – Chas [champion wrestler]
Pat Lyne – Touchstone [court comedian]
The Court in Exile
John Robinson – Duke Senior [older brother of Frederick]
Nick Ryder – Amyens [a lord attendant]
David Creedon – Jacques [a sad case]
The Folk of the Forest
David Peaty – Corin [a shepherd]
Nick Richmond – Silvius [a younger shepherd]
Judith Berrill – Phoebe [a shepherdess]
Kate Brownings – Audrey [a country girl]
Kevin Isaac – William [a simple country boy]
Ray Hopper – Mar-text [a hedge-priest]
Mark Best – Hymen [a hairy fairy]
Other parts – Members of the Cast
Pupils of St. Christopher’s School Hove
Members of the Cast
Stage Manager – David Comber
ASM – Olive Smith
Technical Stage Manager – David Bickers
Lighting – Mike Medway
Sound – Simon Snelling
Sound Studio – Greg Starns
Properties – Margaret Davy
Properties – Sue Whittaker
Wardrobe – Cherry Briggs
Wardrobe – Margaret Pierce
Wardrobe – Judith Berrill
Set & Technical Team – Dave Collis
Set & Technical Team – David Comber
Set & Technical Team – Mike Davy
Set & Technical Team – Brian Box
Set & Technical Team – Marc Lewis
Set & Technical Team – Mark Flower
Set & Technical Team – Robert Mitchell
Press & Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Press & Publicity – Lucien Bouchy
Press & Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Poster & Programme Design – Judith Berrill
Box Office – Margaret Murrell
Front of House Co-ordinator – Betty Dawes
Review #1: Blue Remembered Hills & As You Like It
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Jeremy Malies
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The Wick Theatre Company presented As You Like It last week at the Barn, Southwick. The piece is the best Shakespeare production I have seen all year, being witty, packed with inventive performances and original in direction.
As Rosalind, Leila Leam was almost cinematic in her attention to facial expression and small detail. It was an inspired response to the challenge of playing an intimate venue in the round, often only a yard from the audience. As a surprisingly up-beat Jacques, David Creedon distinguished himself with a resonant and wonderfully paced ‘seven ages of man’ that was so magical and fresh I almost broke the spell by applauding. The decision to portray Oliver’s wrestler, Charles, as a female martial arts expert was a clever piece of mischief and Jenny Burtenshaw was a delight.
As Orlando, Greg Robinson was clean-cut and stood on his dignity marvellously in the mock wooing scenes. Director Bob Ryder should be congratulated on overwhelming theatrical intelligence and winning visual gags – such as injured wrestlers being ferried around on stretcher and drip, love notes as paper darts and a shepherdess with a lamb sticking out of her rucksack. The uncluttered, effective set consisted of little more than a wood-chip floor. Mike Medway’s lighting was excellent, particularly when suggesting dappled morning sunshine. The sound effects were a sustained joy.
Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy was part of a double bill. In ‘rep’ with As You Like It the company presented Dennis Potter’s Blue Remembered Hills. First broadcast by the BBC in 1979, Blue Remembered Hills is set in the Forest of Dean on a summer’s day in 1943. Seven children act out squabbles and petty jealousies against the backdrop of rationing, an escaped POW and a father held captive by the Japanese. Potter’s ingenious and provocative twist is that the children are played by adults and the piece has an anti-nostalgia message similar to Lord of the Flies.
Several cast members appear in both pieces. After a glide-on rôle as the fairy Hymen in the Forest of Arden, Mark Best was a mainspring of events in Potter’s Gloucestershire. His intense, resourceful presence captures every cadence of the juvenile slanging matches. Nick Richmond was similarly impressive in sustaining a speech impediment through 90 minutes of dense, taut dialogue. Bob Ryder’s treatment of adolescent self-loathing and pyromania was closely observed.
Blue Remembered Hills manages to be elegiac and topical at the same time. It brings us up short at the notion that there was once an era when children could run free playing outdoors, stopping only when it was time to come in for tea.
Review #2: Blue Remembered Hills & As You Like It
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
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To start its new season Wick Theatre Company set themselves the ambitious and brave challenge of performing two plays on alternate nights – the first of these being Shakespeare’s sylvan comedy, As You Like It.
The Forest of Arden was skilfully evoked with the play being performed in the round on a woodland floor of bark chippings surrounded by tree branches. The effect was completed with birdsong and dappled sunlight, together with original music from local composers. There was much to enjoy in the production with the acting and the verse speaking being of a good standard.
To alternate with As You Like It, the Wick Theatre Company chose Blue Remembered Hills, a play originally written for television by Dennis Potter. It recalled a summer’s day spent by a gang of children playing in the Forest of Dean during the Second World War. As we watched the seven children play we became aware of the group dynamics with the struggle for leadership, the changing alliances and the tormenting of the weaker members. Their actions mirrored the world around them with fighting and acts of mindless violence and cruelty. Their persecution and taunting of the weak Donald ends in tragedy. Their remorse for this was short-lived as they found excuses for their actions and seek to escape blame.
Despite this serious undercurrent the play was full of humour, not the least of it coming about through adult actors playing the young children. The excellence of the writing was well matched by Pat Lyne’s sensitive direction and the high standard of acting. The realism of the forest settings and their varying moods were brought about through extremely clever use of the lighting. Full credit goes to Mike Medway and the rest of the technical team.
The play was a delight to watch as the adult actors turned themselves into children. Each of them managed to capture not only the spirit of youngsters but also to portray all of their childish body language. Particularly impressive was Mark Best as Willie, all gangling and gawky, and Kate Brownings, the ghoulish tomboy, Audrey, always ready to bash someone up. Judith Berrill gave a delightful portrayal of Angela, who one sensed would grow up to become a little madam. There were solid performances from David Peaty and John Garland as the rivals for top place in the gang. Nick Richmond had the difficult rôle of the stuttering Raymond.
A most sensitive performance came from Bob Ryder, whose portrayal of the tormented Donald is truly heartbreaking – a pathetic creature, having to endure not only the loss of his father missing in the Far East and the physical abuse from his mother, but also the cruelty from the other children. It was almost too painful to watch the scene where, in deep despair, he rocks backwards and forwards, banging his head against the wall and calling for his father to come back.
Review #3: Blue Remembered Hills & As You Like It
Publication: Words & Music
Publication Data: November – December 2004
Reviewer: Gordon Bull
Text Header: A Tour-de-Force
That the Wick Theatre Company could put on two such plays, cycled within nine days was surely a tour-de-force without parallel for amateur theatre, especially when the playwrights were Potter and Shakespeare. How could they achieve such excellence when several key players were taking part in both works?
Blue Remembered Hills took us back to well remembered pleasures and playground privations. Set in a forest the antics of the children [played so realistically by adults] mirrored in many ways those of adulthood. One wonders if we mature at all!
I was quite overwhelmed by the realism of the fights, the sobs, the effects of the girls, the pram and baby, [‘dolly’] one was thrown back in the river of life. The direction, lighting, music and effects in this play directed by Pat Lyne was scintillating, touching and moving. To pick out a star performer is impossible. For me, every one of these ‘children’ existed there and then, even my old girl friend of days gone by reappeared as if by magic and made me swallow! I don’t recollect children swearing in those days and certainly not “oh my god”[!], but maybe I was more sheltered than Denis Potter in those wartime exploits. What would we have done without those bombers and fighter planes for playtime? As for doctors and nurses-well! Superb acting by all the cast.
As You Like It was no less perfect, produced by Bob Ryder. After some early difficult fast talking both players and audience got into the swing of Shakespeare’s language and things flowed with a brilliant updating of each theme into 20/21 century contemporary life. Cross dressing was inevitable perhaps, there being a shortage of men, but again it fitted in with today’s melange of men with lovers of every hue. Rosalind [Leila Leam] was a most desirable creature even when acting the boy. Recorder players [pupils of St. Christopher, School, Hove] and other musicians provided a worthy accompaniment to Adam’s madrigal singing and Dennis, too performed a good dance. Touchstone [Pat Lyne] the Court Jester had a pretty wit.