The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
October 5, 6, 7 & 8, 2005.
The Dumb Waiter
by Harold Pinter
Anorak of Fire
by Stephen Dinsdale
Cast – The Dumb Waiter
Ryan Lainchbury – Gus
Mark Best – Ben
Cast – Anorak of Fire
John Griffiths – Gus Gascoigne
Lighting – Mike Medway
Sound – Ian Healey
Stage Manager – David Comber
Stage Manager – Geoff Holme
Stage Manager – Tony Holmes
DSM – John Garland
DSM – Tony Brownings
ASM – Helen Brewster
ASM – Loren O’Dair
ASM – Olive Smith
Workshop Team – Sylvie Walder
Workshop Team – Nicki Moston
Workshop Team – Sheila Neesham
Workshop Team – Geoff Holme
Workshop Team – Tony Holmes
Workshop Team – David Comber
Workshop Team – Mike Davy
Workshop Team – Robert Mitchell
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Publicity – Simon Druce
Front of House – Betty Dawes
Box Office – Margaret Murrell
Programme Note #1: The Life and Death of Almost Everybody
“The Dumb Waiter is one of Harold Pinter’s earliest plays, written in 1957 though not performed in public until 1960. It is one of the works that firmly established Pinter’s reputation for a new and highly individual style of drama.
Anorak of Fire was first presented at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1993. It had an immediate popular success and has since been played widely in small theatres across Britain, with several revivals at the Fringe too.
We welcome three new [or relatively new] Wick actors in the production. John Griffiths is making his Barn début in Anorak of Fire. Mark Best and Ray Lainchbury [in the Dumb Waiter] first appeared in The Accrington Pals, and Mark has been seen more recently in Blue Remembered Hills. They have been closely involved in the development of the Young Wick section of the company.
We also welcome the involvement in this production of several new members who have joined the company in the last few months, in various rôles in the backstage, workshop and Front of House teams. ”
Review #1: The Life and Death of Almost Everybody
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Daniel de Silva
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The crème de la crème of local acting talent was whisked into shape on Saturday evening, offering a new blend of stage magnitude. The Wick Theatre Company put on two unique, self-styled one-act performances at the Barn in Southwick, creating an array of surprises, jokes and a very enjoyable acting style. With more than 50 years of experience entertaining the local community, I was impressed by these well choreographed plays that demonstrated true talent.
The performance of The Dumb Waiter, which began the evening, with two gifted actors, was my favourite because of the funny jokes, which seemed to work really well with the audience. They play the parts of two hardened gangsters, who were not quite sure of the situation they were in and questions of immorality seemed to spark some concerns. After the interval, the next act, Anorak of Fire, was not as exciting but still portrayed a very intelligent and witty performance about the life of a train spotter.
As the train enthusiast clutched his neatly packed lunchbox and stood before the impressive scenery, he laid down the rules of what not to do standing on a platform. Can a so-called train spotter really have a personal relationship next to the train tracks?
This hilarious solo sketch concluded the evening with laughter and embodied a tremendous skill in keeping the audience entertained for the entire act – an impressive performance from an actor with so much potential.
So, in all, these two acts set fire with a tremendous explosion last week as this talented acting company prepares to take Sussex by storm with many more thrilling performances, such as Dad’s Army and Are You Being Served? This will be an opportunity not to be missed and contain some first-class entertainment.
Review #2: The Life and Death of Almost Everybody
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
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The Wick Theatre Company has on offer two comedies for the price of one and how contrasting they prove to be.
The Dumb Waiter is an early work by Harold Pinter, dating from 1960. It is dark tale of two men, Ben and Gus, holed up in a basement hotel room and waiting, not for Godot but for Wilson, another mysterious person who fails to materialise. They are there to do a job or rather to carry out an assignment for it transpires that they are hired killers awaiting instructions as to their target. The dialogue is typical Pinter with nearly every utterance being repeated by the other person and questioned. Their waiting is punctuated by the bizarre comings and goings of the hotel’s dumb waiter with its requests for food orders. It was this part of the play that provided the most humour.
Despite excellent performances by Mark Best and Ryan Lainchbury the piece raises more questions than it answers and leaves much of the audience bewildered.
Much more to the taste of the audience is the second piece – Anorak of Fire – a gloriously funny monologue about train spotting. What would appear to be a deadly boring subject turns out to be a joyous piece thanks to the inventive mind of its creator, Stephen Dinsdale. A second Gus of the evening appears. One Gus Gascoigne faces the audience and addresses them on the subject that has been his obsession since he first heard a train whilst still in his pram. This obsession has been so strong, he admits, that it caused him to bunk off from kindergarten. He recounts the rapture that he found on his first visit to Crewe at the age of seven. Crewe, he explains, is to train-spotters as Monte Carlo is to James Bond.
The highlight of the evening is the recounting of his only sexual encounter with a girl from Boots named Jacky – a hilarious piece of writing.
Dressed in the traditional spotters costume of trainers, woolly hat and an anorak festooned with badges John Griffiths gives a superlative performance. He manages to portray Gus not only as a naïve buffoon but also to endow him with a form of dignity that his passion bestows.
Review #3: The Life and Death of Almost Everybody
Publication: Words & Music
Publication Data: Issue 120 – January/February 2006 – page 14
Reviewer: Gordon Bull
It appears that what London has by-passed, the WTC has bravely seized as an opportunity to celebrate the week-end 75th birthday of that controversial and great playwright Harold Pinter. Mind you, the great Alan Bennett said we should remember him with ‘two minutes of silence’. Make what you will of that!
Once again this remarkable local company has shown us it can tackle successfully a wide variety of stage presentations under Richard Ratcliffe and Pat Lyne’s expert guidance.
I well remember the shock of seeing Pinter’s The Birthday Party as my introduction to his economic style – but what a revelation! How he pares down conversations and yet manages to convey so much is sheer magic. The two excellent protagonists on Saturday in Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter were Ryan Lainchbury as Gus, and Mark Best as Ben. The opening was masterful as an example of the use of total silence and pause to set the scene in what was their mock cellar, bunker, kitchen or ‘what you like’ as the various extraneous noises, suggestive of gunfire or storm as you wish made contrast. (The music of Turnage or Tippett leaves one in a similar quandary.) But we know it’s a weird world which demands the fullest concentration. The emptiness of the final scene sees to that. Are we all mad?
John Griffiths representation as Gus Gascoigne the obsessed train-spotter in Anorak of Fire was undoubtedly without parallel. To sustain, for something like an hour without break, this highly amusing soliloquy on the delights of train-spotting called for every kind of nuance, facial expression, pause, inflexion of tone, rate of delivery, stance and attire, that lies within the book. I loved the attire he had chosen to dress in, (including his anorak of fire). We were there with him on the station, by the line, on the bridge and in the secret love-nested vantage point in which, having led him there on false pretences, his female admirer used all her female wiles to try to seduce and distract him from his obsession with the passing engines, wheel distributions and their numbers. His friends thought he was nuts and so he proved when it came to trains: all sorts of trains: steam, electric and certainly toy trains I guess!
A great performance. This was perfection indeed.