The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
April 17, 18 & 19, 1958.
Life With Father
by Clarence Day
Patricia Menheneott – Annie [a maid]
Betty Gedge – Mother [Vinnie]
Adrian Hedges – Clarence
Malcolm Guy – John
Stephen Warden – Whitney
Susanna Porter – Harlan
Ian Elliott – Father [Clare]
Maureen Morris – Margaret [the cook]
Frances Moulton – Cousin Cora
Patricia Holloway – Mary Skinner
Brian Moulton – The Rev. Dr. Lloyd
Carol Docwra – Delia [a maid]
Clodagh O’Farrell – Nora [a maid]
Peter O’Connor – Dr. Humphreys
George Porter – Dr. Somers
Betty Carpenter – Maggie [a maid]
Stage Director – Judy Wilkey
Stage Managers – Diana Topping
Stage Mangers – Belinda Penney
Lighting – Frank Hurrell
Properties – Frances Davy
Properties – Clodagh O’Farrell
Properties – Patricia Menheneott
Wardrobe – Bess Blagden
Assistant to Wardrobe – Sylvia Stubbs
Effects – Spencer Holden
Scenery Designed & Executed – Ian Elliott
Scenery Designed & Executed – George Porter
Front of House Manager – Ralph Dawes
Publicity #1: Life With Father
Publication Data: Unknown
Text Header: “Accents”
THE young Wick Players have Life With Father for their next production – at Southwick Barn Theatre on April 17, 18 and 19. “What about the American accents?” I asked Jean Porter, the producer.
She said: “I’m lucky, an American girl teaching over here is helping us to get the right accent. Otherwise I don’t think I’d have attempted it.” “Through Mrs. Bess Blagden we’ve been able to borrow costumes from the Eccles Repertory Company.” she added.
Review #1: Life With Father
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: May 2 1958 issue – page 9
Text Header: “Young Wick Players outstanding success in Life With Father”
The Young Wick Players enjoyed one of their biggest successes ever in presenting Clarence Day’s Life with Father at the Barn Theatre, Southwick on 17th, 18th, & 19th, April. Such comments as “This is the sort of play the public wants.” and “What a jolly play.” were heard. Youth will make its mark, even if one has to remark on lack of stage experience. However, in this play the freshness of youth shone through in many ways and the fact that seven of the cast had not been on the stage before was no drawback.
The challenge of an American period play with a large cast was met and overcome and producer Jean Porter had rich rewards for the work she put in on the three younger of the red-headed Day sons [Malcolm Guy, Stephen Warden and Susanna Porter] who all gave remarkably good performances in their first ever appearance on stage.
Father, of course, is the hub of the play but Mother always has her way. Ian Elliott was the mainstay of the team as Father, beautifully supported by Betty Gedge as Mother and life revolves around him and his hot-tempered outbursts. He is the driving force which keeps the comedy rolling long and inspires the others to give of their best. This zest kept Ian Elliott’s performance above the obvious criticism that he was too young and similarly it would be unjust to fault Betty Gedge in her charming Bebe Daniels-like performance.
Perhaps the most complete characterisation was by Adrian Hedges as Clarence, the elder son. He typified the agony of a boy in the throes of his first love [with only father’s cut-down suit to sport himself in]. Patricia Holloway, as Mary Skinner, the object of his affection, was excellent. The only other experienced players were Frances Moulton as a lively cousin Cora and Betty Carpenter in a brief maid’s part.
Newcomers, besides the Day children, were Brian Moulton as the Minister whose presence provokes Father to several outrageous and highly comic bursts of temper and Peter O’Connor as the family doctor quietly heaping coals of fire on Father’s head. Maureen Morris, Clodagh O’Farrell, Patricia Menheneott and Carol Docwra gave confident and competent performances as the Cook and the Maids [who retreat to the employment agencies before the blasts of Father’s tempers.]
The setting was attractive and cheerfully lit by Frank Hurrell. The group are lucky to have a resourceful wardrobe mistress in Mrs Blagden, who conjured up thirty two costumes with the help of the Eccles Repertory, with whom she has past association. Without her efforts the play could not have been staged.
The near-full houses on the final two nights were most gratifying to the Group after so much hard work and tonics like this play must be pulled out of the bag if Amateur Drama is to keep its audiences and its solvency.
I’m told that on Friday night, what appeared to be earth-quake tremors in the Day home, was only young Malcolm Guy falling off the stairs going up as Cook made a rapid entrance coming down. [Only one of the problems of a large cast on a small stage.]
Rounding off an enjoyable impression was Victorian music on the pianoforte, provided by Charles Gedge and Patrick Johnson.