The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
July 2, 3, 4 & 5, 2008.
Not Now Darling
by John Chapman & Ray Cooney
Katie Whitmore – Miss Whittington
Ian White – Arnold Couch
Lyn Fernee – Miss Tipdale
Maggie Pierce – Mrs. Frencham
Bob Ryder – Gilbert Bodley
Peter Thompson – Harry McMichael
Amanda Urwin-Mann – Janie McMichael
Sophie Lane – Sue Lawson
Judith Berrill – Maude Bodley
Richard Bulling – Mr. Lawson
Stage Manager – David Comber
Stage Manager – Tony Browning
Deputy Stage Manager – Zara Spanton
ASM – Olive Smith
Set Design – David Comber
Lighting – Mike Medway
Sound – Philip Oliver
Properties – Margaret Davy
Properties – Sue Whittaker
Wardrobe – Cherry Briggs
Wardrobe – Maggi Pierce
Workshop Team – David Comber
Workshop Team – Dave Collis
Workshop Team – Richard Bulling
Workshop Team – Sue Chaplin
Workshop Team – Sheila Neesham
Workshop Team – Margaret Davy
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Publicity – Anna Barden
Poster Design – Judith Berrill
Production Photos – Lucien Bouchy
Front of House Co-ordinator – Betty Dawes
Box Office – Margaret Murrell
Programme Note #1: Not Now Darling
JG wrote: “It doesn’t seem fashionable to admit enjoying Ray Cooney plays any more. They are not exactly ‘politically correct’ – and this one, written 40 years ago, has all the ingredients of a Carry On film, combining saucy innuendo with physical comedy. Cooney is a master of the farce genre and this play is one of his funniest, with no let-up in the action once it begins. Whilst it may seem to celebrate immoral behaviour, what is wrong, in a life where we have to be serous most of the time, with suspending our morals for a couple of hours and laughing at the absurdity of the situation.
Do enjoy it … you know you want to!”
Review #1: Not Now Darling
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Sam Woodman
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Farce is a curious beast, a bit like the little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When it’s good it’s very, very good, but .. I think you’ve got the analogy. In the wrong hands, an amateur production of Not Now, Darling could have been a catastrophe. Fortunately, in the capable hands of Wick Theatre Company and director John Garland, the play – by John Chapman and Ray Cooney – was a laugh-a-minute, laugh-out-loud triumph.
Set in a plush Mayfair fashion house, the story revolved around coats made form mink, rabbit and beaver, with a few saucy affairs thrown in for good measure. Bob Ryder was simply outstanding as the caddish furrier Gilbert Bodley, embroiled in a web of extra-marital liaisons and desperately trying to buy his mistress a coat with husband Harry’s [Peter Thompson] unwitting assistance. With a turn that was part Terry Tomas, part Leslie Phillips and, crucially, largely Bob Ryder, the actor stole the stage and the show was his performance. Ian White proved a perfect foil as his more prudish – but ultimately corruptible – business partner Arnold Crouch, offering impeccable comic timing and a performance that was in no way overshadowed. Ryder and White were ably supported by Amanda Urwin-Mann and Sophie Lane, as Gilbert’s lust-interest Janie McMichael and secretary Sue Lawson.
Gilbert and Arnold’s loyal secretary Miss Tipdale [Lyn Fernee] was driven mad trying to clear up the pair’s mess, including underwear disappearing out of the fourth-floor window on more than one occasion. As if things weren’t complicate enough, Gilbert’s wife Maud [Judith Berrill] entered the scene – the poor victim of her husband’s philandering, until the final scene, at least. Add to all that an hilarious sub-plot with Commander Frencham [Ray Hopper] and his wife [Maggi Pierce], desperate for her bespoke fur coat, and Not Now, Darling full of spoils and thrills.
Not dissimilar in style to the Carry On films, although with less of a nudge-nudge, wink-wink, saucy seaside postcard approach, Wick Theatre Company’s latest production left audiences heading home with aching sides.
Review #2: Not Now Darling
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
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When considering the art of theatre, farce is often spoken of disparagingly and dismissed as unworthy of serious consideration. A good production of a well-written and cleverly constructed farce, say from the pen of Ayckbourn or Frayn, can be an example of high comedy at its best. Other writers produce what are termed, bedroom farces, relying as they do on sexual situations and double entrendres with hilarious broad humour. Not Now, Darling is a fine example of the latter, with its labyrinthine and improbable plot concerning multiple infidelities – mayhem and misunderstandings galore.
Bob Ryder and Ian White stand out as actors totally tuned into each other. As the long-suffering secretary, Lyn Fernee subtly conveys the character’s sexual repression and longing, while Sophie Lane shows great promise with an assured performance.
Review #3: Not Now Darling
Publication: Words & Music
Publication Data: June 3 2008
Reviewer: Gordon Bull
Text Header: So many affairs at Southwick!
A highly intricate comment on the seamy side of life was the description of this farce by Ray Cooney. Why shouldn’t we laugh, says the programme, at all the goings on in life? Well the highly appreciative audience were well served here by the four couples and further couplings!
You couldn’t have done better if you had watched any one of the Carry On films. So many couples, so many affairs. It seemed that wherever you looked someone was at it.
Whereas Brian Rix was noted for the number of trouser-droppings[!] in his comedies, the other side as exploited here was ladies removing their dresses, hiding in cupboards and exchanging undies, most of which were mysteriously to land on the tops of London Buses or flagpole [sic] as they were dropped from the window of this select furrier’s shop which puzzled assistants were dispatched to recover.
Note. Not a single trouser drop. One had to compliment the cast on the curvaceous ladies as they became exposed to view and once again we beheld a stripper who, to spare our blushes or otherwise, didn’t quite go all the way.
The large WTC cast of naughty shoppers, proprietors, assistants and taxi driver carried this off with absolute professional aplomb so that laughter, loud and long, reverberated throughout as scantily clad ladies kept popping in and out of fur coats here and there. As for the plot, you had to be a genius to keep it all under your thumb.
I’m still not sure whether one of the beauties is still not waiting in the cupboard for who knows what! But, sorry, not now darling!
Congratulations to all the company without exception, directed so excellently by John Garland.
Review #4: Not Now Darling
Publication: Remote Goat – online
Publication Data: July 4 2008
Reviewer: Jill Lawrie
Text Header: “Brilliant funny quick fire comedy..”
Wick Theatre Company, celebrating their 60th year, staged the very comical farce ‘Not Now Darling’ at the Barn Theatre Southwick. Directed by John Garland, his talented cast played to a large and wide ranging audience who were kept constantly entertained breaking out into frequent laughter throughout the performance.
The play opens to the sounds of ‘Love and Marriage’ and the substantial set depicts the premises of a posh London salon in the 60’s Bodley Bodley & Crouch ~ furriers, complete with balconied windows and chaise longue. Gilbert Bodley (played by Bob Ryder) and Arnold Crouch (Ian White) are both superb with great chemistry between them. Gilbert being the dapper silver tongued charmer and would be philanderer contrasted by the rather gauche but great character of Arnold Crouch.
This is a quick fire comedy full of saucy cliches, innuendos, much door slamming and terrific timing. The female leads are extremely attractive, a couple of them spending most of the evening in their underwear! The four characters of Janie McMichael (Amanda Urwin-Mann) Miss Tipdale (Lyn Fernee) Sue Lawson (Sophie Lane) and Maude Bodley (Judith Berrell) with their hilarious antics ~ are great fun.
The action follows the exploits of various couples, the ‘mink coat’ and the long suffering secretary. As the farce unfolds chaos ensues, items of clothing including underwear get thrown from the window, landing on buses, flagpoles etc! The absurdity escalates when Mrs Bodley makes an unscheduled return from holiday causing more shenanigans leading to the ultimate quote “Oh what a tangled web we weave..”