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Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell

The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.

June 28, 29, 30 – July 1, 2006.


Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell

by Keith Waterhouse

2110606_jeffery-bernard-is-unwell_playbill
“Hard to fault “
– Brighton Argus –

 

Directed by
Patricia Lyne

Cast

Bob Ryder – Jeffrey Bernard

Lyn Fernee – Journalists, Poets, Wives, Girlfriends, Thespians, Bores, Publicans, Sinners, Policemen, Waiters, Friends, Neighbours, Jockeys, Trainers, Punters, Tarts, Taxmen, Magistrates, Doctors, Nurses, Artists, Drunks, etc. etc.

David Bickers – Journalists, Poets, Wives, Girlfriends, Thespians, Bores, Publicans, Sinners, Policemen, Waiters, Friends, Neighbours, Jockeys, Trainers, Punters, Tarts, Taxmen, Magistrates, Doctors, Nurses, Artists, Drunks, etc. etc.

Kate Brownings – Journalists, Poets, Wives, Girlfriends, Thespians, Bores, Publicans, Sinners, Policemen, Waiters, Friends, Neighbours, Jockeys, Trainers, Punters, Tarts, Taxmen, Magistrates, Doctors, Nurses, Artists, Drunks, etc. etc.

David Peaty – Journalists, Poets, Wives, Girlfriends, Thespians, Bores, Publicans, Sinners, Policemen, Waiters, Friends, Neighbours, Jockeys, Trainers, Punters, Tarts, Taxmen, Magistrates, Doctors, Nurses, Artists, Drunks, etc. etc.

 

Production Crew

Stage ManagerDavid Comber

Technical Stage ManagerJohn Garland

ASMOlive Smith

LightingMike Medway

PropertiesMargaret Davy

PropertiesSue Whittaker

WardrobeMargaret Pierce

WardrobeCherry Briggs

Workshop TeamDavid Collis

Workshop TeamDavid Comber

Workshop TeamSylvie Walder

Workshop TeamNicki Moston

Workshop TeamSheila Neesham

Workshop TeamMark Flower

Workshop TeamTony Holmes

Workshop TeamTracey Holmes

Workshop TeamPhilip Oliver

Workshop TeamRobert Mitchell

Publicity & DesignRosemary Bouchy

Publicity & DesignRosemary Brown

Publicity & DesignAnna Barden

Publicity & DesignJudith Berrill

Front of HouseBetty Dawes

Box OfficeMark Flower

 

Programme Note #1: Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell

“Jeffrey Bernard was a legendary figure in Soho through the 1950s till his death in 1997. He somehow succeeded in immortalising his own chaotic lifestyle in a long-running weekly column, Low Life, originally in the New Statesman from 1973, before moving on to The Spectator in 1975. It chronicled his daily round of boozing, gambling and general dissipation, much of it evidenced at his infamous Soho local, the Coach and Horses. Jeff was often too far gone to produce the weekly column, on which occasions the magazine would print the classic notice ‘Jeffrey Bernard is unwell’. But his column did appear over a remarkable stretch of years, leading one witty commentator to call it “the longest suicide note in history”.

Keith Waterhouse knew Jeff well and had the brilliant idea of weaving a play from the material in The Spectator columns. He also conjured up a nostalgic picture of the boozy, bohemian Soho that’s now gone, featuring some of the highly colourful characters who Bernard rubbed shoulders with [‘usually in the gutter’ as he once put it]. Since it first appeared in 1989, the play has proved remarkably popular. Peter O’Toole, who also knew Bernard well, was in the first production and reprised the rôle to enormous acclaim in 1999, soon after Jeff’s long-inevitable demise.

Long before then, the fiction had taken over from the fact. One night when he was sitting sozzled in the stalls bar of the Apollo Theatre during a performance of the play, Jeff was confronted by the House Manager, who tried to eject him. “But I’m Jeffrey Bernard”, he pleaded. “You can’t be”, came the reply, “he’s up there on stage”!

 


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