The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
October 10, 11, 12 & 13, 2007
The Memory of Water
by Shelagh Stephenson
Sheelagh Baker – Vi
Katie Brownings – Mary
Judith Berrill – Teresa
Lyn Fernee – Catherine
David Peaty – Mike
Bob Ryder – Frank
Stage Manager – David Comber
Stage Manager – Richard Bulling
Technical Stage Manager – Helen Brewster
ASM – Olive Smith
Sound Operator – Jonathon Weldon
Lighting Design – Mike Medway
Lighting Technician – Philip Oliver
Props – Sue Whittaker
Props – Margaret Davy
Wardrobe – Cherry Briggs
Wardrobe – Margaret Pierce
Workshop Team – David Comber
Workshop Team – David Collis
Workshop Team – Richard Bulling
Workshop Team – Philip Oliver
Workshop Team – Mark Flower
Painters – Sue Chaplin
Painters – Margaret Davy
Painters – Sheila Neesham
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Publicity – Anna Barden
Production Photos – Lucien Bouchy
Front of House – Betty Dawes
Box Office – Mark Flower
Programme Note #1: The Memory of Water
The programme carried the following: “Shelagh Stephenson had a successful run of radio plays before her first major stage play, The Memory of Water, in 1996. It subsequently won the Oliver Award for Best Comedy  and was then filmed as Before You Go . Her follow-up successes include An Experiment with an Air Pump , Ancient Lights  and Mappa Mundi .
The Memory of Water is an absorbing play on many levels, with strong characterisation and sharply observed relationships – and an ability to blend lyrical sadness with wry comedy. An enjoyable running theme is the power which memory has to shape our feelings and our lives – but also the puzzle of how unreliable memory is, with different people remembering the same event in entirely different ways.
Pat Lyne has previously directed the highly praised Wick productions of The Dresser , Blue Remembered Hills , Anorak of Fire  and Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell” .
Review #1: The Memory of Water
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Sam Woodman
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A play about three sisters’ recently deceased mother and the build-up to her funeral might seem an unlikely success story for the stage. But that is exactly what Wick Theatre Company achieved with its latest production, The Memory of Water.
Written by Shelagh Stephenson and performed at Southwick’s Barn Theatre last week, the play centred on sisters Mary, Teresa and Catherine (Katie Brownings, Judith Berrill and Lyn Fernee), bickering over their memories of their late mother Vi (played by Sheelagh Baker).
David Peaty appeared as Mike, Mary’s lover, and Bob Ryder was Frank, Teresa’s husband. The strong cast took the audience on a journey through the darkly comic, sadly poignant, laugh-out-loud funny and back round again. Bob Ryder stole the show in one of his strongest performances since portraying Jeffrey Bernard – and his opening (but unrepeatable, in a family newspaper, at least) line encapsulated the plethora of the character’s feelings in three short words. Robust language and adult themes cropped up frequently throughout, but served only to add to the play’s realism and replicate how any group of people might deal with a sudden death in the family.
Directed by Pat Lyne, The Memory of Water rose to the challenge of tackling a perhaps less-than-appealing topic, making it accessible and entertaining.
Review #2: The Memory of Water
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
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After the death of their mother, three sisters gather to prepare for the funeral. Teresa is one of life’s martyrs, obsessed with efficiency and practicality; Mary, a successful doctor, harbours a loss from her past whilst Catherine, the youngest, is emotionally unstable relying on drugs and men. The enforced reunion reveals uneasiness in their relationship – childhood grudges, against each other and their mother, soon surface. The play explores their recollections and reveals the fragility of memory. There is confusion over what happened and to whom. The event is a catalyst for them to examine their relationships with their partners.
Wick Theatre’s production provided a rich, entertaining evening that did full justice to the writing – a skilful blend of hilarious comedy, often black, and painful angst. There were fine performances from the entire cast. The women’s rôles provided the greater opportunities to challenge their acting skills. Each of them required to play comedy as well as emotional scenes – the comic highlight being the hysterical scene where they dress up in their mother’s clothes. Katie Brownings brought out the vulnerability behind Mary’s tough professional shell. The interplay with her dead mother – be she ghost or imagined – was particularly moving in the final encounter. As the mother, Sheelagh Baker gave another of her fine character studies, bringing out well both the comedy and pathos of the character. As Teresa, Judith Berrill, captured well the character’s practicality and obsessive nature and was particularly sensitive in the scene where her drunkenness allowed her true pent up feelings to be released. Lyn Fernee was successful in tackling the difficult rôle of Catherine. The character is complex with a volatile persona aggravated by the use of recreational drugs. Her love life is in a mess and she is paranoid that her siblings have always excluded her. Fernee’s performance fully captured all Catherine’s quirkiness.
The play’s two male rôles were in the safe hands of David Peaty and Bob Ryder. Peaty as Mike, the married lover of Mary, had the task of making a selfish character likeable. Whilst Ryder gave a rounded performance as Teresa’s long suffering husband – the man’s unhappiness nicely balanced with a light comic touch.
The simplest, yet practical, set provided the right atmosphere as did the lighting and sound effects. Once again Mike Medway was, if you’ll pardon the pun, spot on!