The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
November 23 & 24 1951
Hogs’ Blood and Helebore
by Jonquil Anthony
John Wilson – The Rev. Henry Foskett
Betty Carpenter – Mrs. Foskett
Michael Tracey – Philip Fosket
Diana Hubbard – Elaine
Eileen Turley – Lily Battams
Rodney Benn – Johnny Battams
Susan Pashley – Miss Maebelle Finn
Margaret Perry – Miss Malpas
Brian Cooper – Major Macaw
Pamela Riches – Lily’s Gran
Stage Manager – Peter Elder
ASM – Sylvia Sartin
ASM – Ralph Dawes
ASM – Leslie Eacock
Properties – Sheila Cottier
Properties – Judith Gregg
Wardrobe Mistress – Elaine Smithers
Effects – John Chatfield
Review #1: Hogs’ Blood and Helebore
Publication: Sussex Daily News
Publication Data: November 24 1951 issue – page 3
Text header: “Hog’s Blood in the Theatre Was Well Received”
THE Young Wick Players – every member is under 21 – presented Jonquil Anthony’s Hog’s Blood and Heleber [sic] in the Barn Theatre last night. Jonquil Anthony is the writer of Mrs. Dale’s Diary, but the plot of this play is far removed from the urbane life of the radio family. Star of the show was Mr. John Wilson as the Rev. Henry Foskett, the country parson whose inquisitiveness overcame his reluctance to dabble in the black arts, the raising of the devil and the materialisation of apparitions. Prime mover in the plot to discover the secrets of black magic and commercialise the result was Major Macaw, superbly played by Mr. Brian Cooper.
There was a laugh a minute as the various ingredients – the blood of a black cat, hog’s blood, deadly nightshade and dozens more – were added to the cauldron. A big cast spoke their lines well and received generous encouragement from a large audience.
Review #2: Hogs’ Blood and Helebore
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: November 30 1951 issue – page 8
Text header: “Comedy of Witchcraft ”
The Young Wick Players delighted a large audience with a new and almost unheard-of play at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, on Friday, when they gave a performance of Hog’s Blood and Helebore by Jonquil Anthony.
The fact that this was an unfamiliar play was not their only problem. As many young societies do, they had to face the difficulty of creating mature characterisations with youthful talent. It is a pity that so few plays are written which give teen-age players a chance to shine in acting characters of his own generation. The Young Wick Players, however, met both these problems with a degree of skill which belied their lack of experience.
From the first minute, it was obvious that this play was never intended to be taken seriously. Indeed no play with a title like Hog’s Blood and Helebore could possibly be approached with anything but a faint smile and a feeling of pleasurable anticipation. And the anticipation was satisfied, for although its plot is based on the black arts, the spirit of the play varies from broad comedy to roaring farce. The author, possibly to find some relaxation from his unenviable task of writing entries in Mrs. Dale’s Diary, has created a play which is trivial, yet tremendously entertaining.
The piece provides excellent opportunities for the cast, and those were not neglected on Friday night. Particularly outstanding was John Watson, who gave a splendid portrayal of the country vicar, who causes more trouble than he bargains for when he starts dabbling in witchcraft. He was aided and abetted in his adventures by Brian Cooper and Margaret Perry. Mr Cooper, in particular, was ideally cast in the role of a retired major whose military manner is only matched by his enthusiasm for the black art. He played for, and got, the laughs from start to finish.
Betty Carpenter, as the vicar’s tyrannical wife who gets her just deserts in the final scene, made a perfect foil for the absent minded character portrayed by Mr Wilson. The part of her son, who appeared to be more eccentric than his father, was excellently played by Michael Tracey. With Diane Hubbard, he provided the play’s sole “romantic interest”, although one tended to lose track of this during the hectic final act. Eileen Turley gave an attractive performance as the maid, Rodney Benn was a perfectly objectionable waif, and Susan Pashley made the most of her opportunities in the role of a snobbish authoress. Pamela riches was seen to advantage as a retired witch, who preferred bailing a saucepan to stirring a cauldron.
The producer, whose patient work was evident throughout, was Elizabeth Penney. The stage manager was Peter Elder and the House Manager Maureen Futcher.
The show was repeated on Saturday.
Review #3: Hogs’ Blood and Helebore
Publication: Brighton and Hove Herald
Publication Data: December 1 1951 issue – page 3
Text Header: None
For their second three-act play since formation some three years ago, the Young Wick Players selected Jonquil Anthony’s Hog’s Blood and Helebore. Principal character that of the agitated Rev. Henry Foskett was taken by John Wilson and Betty Carpenter was well cast as the vicar’s wife.
Of the lesser characters probably Margaret Perry, as Mss Malpass, was the most outstanding. Elizabeth Penney directed the play.
Review #4: Hogs’ Blood and Helebore
Publication Data: None
Text Header: “Hogs’ Blood and Hellebore”
IN the Barn Hall of their wonderful Community Centre at Southwick, the Wick Young Players gave a smooth and virile performance of Hogs’ Blood and Hellebore, by Jonquil Anthony on Friday and Saturday.
Young John Wilson as the Reverend Henry Foskett – a parson who indulges in “witchery and skullduggery” – gave a superlative performance and he was ably backed up by Betty carpenter as his browbeating wife, and his lovelorn son [Michael Tracy], Margaret Perry and Brian Cooper were excellent and also outstanding was young Rodney Benn as an impertinent and cheeky ‘kid’. Others in the cast were Diana Hubbard, Eileen Turley, Susan Pashley, and Pamela Riches.[/showhide]