The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
August 9, 10 & 11, 2007.
Our Day Out
by Willy Russell
Ian Glover – Colin
Sammy Scammell – Susan
Matt Bayford – Morris
Tom Pearson – Reilly
Hugo Harwood – Digga
Rhys Webb – Andrews
William McDonald – Ronson
Miles Bland – Kevin
James Villiers – Jimmy
Tom Harris – Driver
Kirsty Biss – Carol
Allegra Drury – Karn
Sophie Lane – Linda
Rols Ham-Riche – Les
Danny Bayford – Shopkeeper & Zookeeper
David Thomas – Shopkeeper & Zookeeper
Katie Whitmore – Child
Addie Marten – Child
Holly Knight – Child
Chloe Dyer – Child
Nikki Dunsford – Mrs. Kay
Ian White – Mr. Briggs
Bob Ryder – Headmaster
Assistant Directors – Kevin Isaac
Assistant Directors – Ryan Lainchbury
Stage Manager – David Comber
Technical Stage Manager – Helen Brewster
Lighting Design – Mike Medway
Lighting & Sound – Mike Medway
Lighting & Sound – Jonathan Weldon
ASM – Zoey Attree
Projection – Kevin Isaac
Projection Design – Helen Brewster
Properties & Costume – Zoey Attree
Workshop Team – David Comber
Workshop Team – Dave Collis
Workshop Team – Richard Bulling
Backstage Crew – Andrew Cleveland
Backstage Crew – Dan Upton
Backstage Crew – Richard Bulling
Publicity & Design – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity & Design – Rosemary Brown
Publicity & Design – Helen Brewster
Production Photos – Lucien Bouchy
Front of House – Betty Dawes
Box Office – Margaret Murrell
Box Office – Mark Flower
Programme Note #1: Our Day Out
MB wrote: “Our Day Out is Young Wick’s fourth major production and my fourth year directing this talented group of young performers. I cannot express enough the pride and gratitude I have towards this dedicated cast. Their energy and enthusiasm h been shown in every aspect of the production. I wish to also thank Ryan Lainchbury and Kevin Isaac, who have been supportive throughout.
On and off stage, Young Wick have contribute to designing and putting together the production getting involved in lighting, sound, costume and publicity. They have proved, after winning Brighton & Hove Council awards lat year, that they are an ensemble company who can perform and produce show of excellence standards.
Our Day Out was written in the late 1970s by Willy Russell. The play is based on his experiences of trips in his own school in Liverpool. The play chronicles a day out for the progress class taken by their teacher Mrs. Kay. Determined they should enjoy themselves, she is overshadowed by the oppressive senior teacher Mr. Briggs, who believes the kids should behave and have fun in an orderly fashion.
Let Young Wick take you on the unforgettable day out. Remember, were you one of the kids making gestures out of the coach window?”
Review #1: Our Day Out
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Frank Horsley
Text Header: Unknown
W. C. Fields must have been turning in his grave. Both children and animals – those with whom you never work – featured prominently in Young Wick Theatre Company’s fourth major production at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, last week.
Mitigatingly the “animals” were only figments of the imagination, the stuff of sound effects and clever mime as the young actors and actresses – playing dead-end school-kids from Liverpool – pretended they had a whole menagerie under their coats when they re-boarded the coach after stealing goats, chickens, and goodness knows what other creatures from a zoo in just one of the hilarious scenes from Willy Russell’s Our Day Out. Director Mark Best, in charge of the Young Wick for the fourth year, again had every reason to be proud of his cast and crew, highlighting in his programme notes the “ensemble” expertise of this award-winning company.
Russell’s comic and poignant piece about what happens when Mrs. Kay leads her progress class on a day out to Conwyn Castle gave both the adults and youngsters involved plenty of chance to show off their acting chops. And, although it reduced the audience seating capacity, it was well worth devoting the stage exclusively to the coach and bringing the other action down to the auditorium floor.
Nikki Dunsford [Mrs. Kay] gave a lovely warm, sensitive portrayal of a teacher simply trying to give her no-hope, “born rejects” charges a bit of fun for once, despite the oppressive presence of senior teacher Mr. Briggs – dispatched on the trip by headmaster [Bob Ryder] to make sure the kids behaved themselves. Ian White, as Mr. Briggs, was by no means all brutish, bête noire, melting at times with subtle skill into a more humane character, to the extent of even suggesting the coach party should round of their day with a trip to the fair. Mike Medway’s swirling lighting effects and adroit use of back-projection made the fairground scene one of the highlights of the evening.
As touched on before, the production gave the young participants an unrivalled chance to throw into mime and other theatre of the physical – and there were also some nifty Scouse accents to hand. Outstanding in the acting department were Kirsty Bliss [shades here of a young Hayley Mills] and Rhys Webb, not to mention Tom Pearson, Hugo Harwood, William McDonald, Miles Bland, James Villiers, Allegra Drury, and Sophie Lane, particularly in the way they interacted with their teachers. Danny Bayford and Rols Ham-Riche combined to droll effect as shopkeepers and zookeepers, and Ian Glover and Sammy Scammell were young teachers having to ward off the unwanted attentions of over-sexed pupils among the day-trippers. Tom Harris also had some nice, humorous moments as the coach driver.
Review #2: Our Day Out
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
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Willy Russell’s play proved to be an ideal choice for the Young Wick Theatre Company. It told of a Liverpool school outing for the members of the Progress Class – a remedial class of no-hopers who are cherished by their teacher, Mrs. Kay, a finely judged performance from Nikki Dunsford, and despised by her colleague Briggs. Their coach journey was cleverly realised through a row of chairs on the upper stage with slides of childish drawings of the passing scenery – including closed down factories that emphasised their lack of a future. Further action took place on the floor in front of the stage giving an added dimension to the production. Along the way the coach stopped at a road side shop where the rip-off owners were outwitted by the youngsters and found themselves ripped off instead. This scene was wittily realised with Rols Ham-Riche and Danny Bayford playing the hapless traders. When the coach made its next stop at a zoo further pandemonium broke out as the pupils kidnapped the animals and hid them on the coach. A very funny scene enhanced by the use of appropriate animal noises.
The young cast acted with enthusiasm whilst displaying great discipline especially maintaining their Scouse accents throughout. This reflected the strong direction that they received from Mark Best who moulded the cast so that the ensemble playing was shown at its best. Amongst the many excellent performances Sophie Lane’s Linda and Tom Pearson’s Reilly impressed. Both captured well adolescent rebellion yet also showing immature insecurity. There was a cheeky performance from Rhys Webb as Andrews, a young pretender aspiring to be like the older boys.
The acting performance of the night came from Kirsty Bliss who was sensational as Carol. This player acted with an assurance that belied her years. Her cliff edge scene with Ian White, wonderfully odious as Briggs, was full of drama with the pair of them creating an atmosphere of mesmerising tension.
Review #3: Our Day Out
Publication: Words & Music
Publication Data: August 11 2007
Reviewer: Gordon Bull
Text Header: Sensible production
Just as in his musical Blood Brothers Willy Russell teaches us about class, nurture and nature in this wry play about secondary-school children on a class outing.
All credit must go to this sensitive and sensible production well directed by Mark Best using his younger members to excellent effect as they recall the antics which take place among a class of school kids. Certainly the older members of the cast, too, remember their own teachers and the way they either bullied, cajoled or gave in to the youngsters in order to stay on top of the situation. I suppose this is one scenario in which everybody has had experience.
The many humorous moments came through as a result of excellent timing, and the pathos generated between schoolgirl Carol [Kirsty Bliss] and bullish senior teacher Mr. Briggs [Ian White] was intense as she threatens to leap over the cliff-edge having deserted the beach.
The four teachers on the coach were nicely contrasted, the somewhat wacky understanding mistress Mrs. Kay [Nikki Dunsford] in charge who wanted to give the children a happy day as opposed to the methods of Briggs who was all tough and shout. Then there was the student teacher [Ian Grover] who wasn’t at all sure of his child psychology along with helper [Sammy Scammell] who largely kept her thoughts to herself. These are real characters and the young players knew well how to play up to them.
The production side was well conceived with black-out lighting between scenes and an effective bus of red chairs in two columns. The roadside café stall was a moment of pleasure with Danny Bayford and Rols Ham-Riche holding the fort against the wily invaders. The zoo scene was particularly amusing as the undisciplined children ran rings round the staff, smoking and handling the pets. I was only surprised that members of staff were not shown having similar behavioural problems, other than uncharacteristically leaving the group to roam free among the animals and on the beach. Remember ‘Albert and the Lion’!
We were to understand that these kids were underprivileged and somewhat backward and the day out was a progress prize. What do we think of that, Russell is asking? Laissez faire or strict control.
As a result of his interchange with the distressed Carol, Mr. Briggs appears to have a change of heart by treating the class to The Fair, which the children appreciate, but he finds it difficult in the end to change his spots as he finally exposes the film of the day’s fun to the light. Even the bus-driver gets a soft spot after talking to kind Mrs. Kay. The kids didn’t change for all the methodology. See the litter-bus!
There’s plenty to think about in this well-acted rumpy-tumpy.