The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
March 6, 7, 8 & 9, 2013.
The Waltz of the Toreadors
by Jean Anouilh
Graham Till – General Leon St Pé
Pam Luxton – Amélie [the Generals’ Wife]
Phil Brown – Gaston [the General’s Secretary]
Alys Bowerman – Estelle [General’s Daughter]
Amy Curtis – Sidonie [General’s Daughter]
Stephanie Moorey – Ghislaine de Saint-Euverte
David Peaty – Dr. Bonfant
Margaret Pierce – Eugénie [a Maid]
Lauretta Tomlinson – Mme Dupont-Fredaine [a Dress-Maker]
Bob Ryder – the Curé
Rhiannon Armitage – [new Maid]
Stage Manager – John Garland
Lighting – Martin Oakley
Sound Design – Bob Ryder
Sound Operation – Rhys Skilling
Sound Operation – Andy Viney
Wardrobe – Margaret Pierce
Wardrobe – Cherry Briggs
Set Construction & Painting – David Comber
Set Construction & Painting – Carl Gray
Set Construction & Painting – David Collis
Set Construction & Painting – Sue Chaplin
Set Construction & Painting – Margaret Davy
Set Construction & Painting – Peter Harrison
Set Construction & Painting – Sheila Neesham
Set Construction & Painting – Martin Oakley
Set Construction & Painting – Judith Berrill
Publicity – Anna Quick
Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity – Judith Berrill
Programme Note #1: The Waltz of the Toreadors
CW wrote: “The Waltz of the Toreadors was written in 1951 by Jean Anouilh and could be best described as a comical, tragic farce.
A story of memory, desire and loss. A midlife crisis with a French twist. The General finds himself lost in the fond memory of his old flirtation. When Ghislaine turns up suddenly, he is delighted – until he finds himself competing for her hand with a considerably younger suitor.
This play has been made into a musical, a film starring Peter Sellers and, more recently, a production by the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2007 with Peter Bowles as the General, using this new translation by Ranjit Bolt.
This is the first time I have directed for Wick Theatre Company and i have really enjoyed working on this play – which was one of those on my ‘to do’ list. I know that all the hard work by the company in the bleak winter months will blossom in this production.
It has been a pleasure.”
Review #1: The Waltz of the Toreadors
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unkniwn
Reviewer: Elaine Hammond
Text Header: Brave choice proves perfect performance
A new and lively translation of Jean Anouilh’s The Waltz of the Toreadors was brought to the Barn Theatre, Southwick, last week by Wick Theatre Company. Possibly a brave choice, it didn’t exactly have people rushing to buy tickets, possibly because they weren’t quite sure what the farcical comedy was about. But those who did turn out found they thoroughly enjoyed it – I overheard many comments about it being well cast and perfectly performed. It only goes to show it’s worth giving things a go!
Graham Till had the demanding role of General St. Pé, a rather rampant old goat who can’t seem to keep his hands off anyone young and pretty. The script, in fact, was rather risqué, not surprising given its French origins, but Till blustered on, so it was never embarrassing. He was dealing with his hypochondriac wife, growing paunch and midlife crisis – enough for any man – when the love of his life for 17 years, Ghislaine, turned up.
Pam Luxton, playing the General’s wife, Amélie, was a voice off stage for the first half, calling out from her bedroom. But the enormous bed was brought on stage for the start of the second half, for an hilarious, yet poignant, scene where the General is driven to nearly strangle her.
All the issues of a marriage where both parties hate each other were brought to the fore, making it at times shocking. I didn’t have much sympathy with either!
Other good performances came from Alys Bowerman and Amy Curtis, as the General’s daughters, who produced quite a few giggles. Stephanie Moorey, as Ghislaine, brought some marvellous French chic to the piece and had our eyes popping out of our heads when she attempted suicide by apparently jumping out of the window!
Review #2: The Waltz of the Toreadors
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: March 8 2013
Reviewer: Louise Schweitzer
The Waltz Of The Toreadors is a French merry-go-round, a tragicomic farce of old age, dead love, new hope, past sin and comic coincidence. Written by Jean Anouilh in 1951, it has been given fresh charm with a marvellous revival by the Wick Company. Graham Till is perfect as General St Pé, precisely illustrating Francoise Sagan’s ideal man as strong and childish. On stage almost all evening, he is the focus of the drama and holds it strongly together, strutting one minute and collapsing the next.
Phil Brown, in his debut rôle as Gaston, manages to combine virginal seminarian and ardent lover rather nicely. David Peaty as Dr Bonfont, reminding us that this is a play by a man about men, demonstrates chauvinist prejudice in the face of terrible female adversity. Pam Luxton and Stephanie Moorey are fainting decoratively or medically most of the time while the poor daughters gamely act very plain indeed.
Roué, cliché, femme-du-monde are French words but the situations they conjure up belong to us all; through a wistful sadness, we laugh at what we recognise can happen through fault, through desire, through circumstances or through a wonderful play at the Southwick Barn Theatre.