The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
April 12, 13 & 14, 1962.
The Deep Blue Sea
by Terence Rattigan
Helen Suter – Mrs. Elton
Raymond Hopper – Philip Welch
Elizabeth Courtney-King – Ann Welch
Jean Porter – Hester Collyer
Ian Barnett – Mr. Miller
John Perrett – Sir William Collyer
Barrie Bowen – Freddie Page
Ralph Dawes – Jackie Jackson
Stage Manager – Clodagh O’Farrell
ASM – Mary Chinchen
Lighting – Frank Hurrell
Sound Effects – Graham Snow
Wardrobe – Bess Blagden
Decor – Bess Blagden
Properties – Joan Corney, Margaret Perrett
Stage Staff – Michael Davy
Stage Staff – Maureen Hammonds
Stage Staff – Frances Thorne
Set Design & Construction – John Perrett
Set Design & Construction – Harry Chinchen
Set Design & Construction – Michael Davy
Front of House Manager – George Penney
GP wrote: “One of the characters in this play says rather priggishly, that he is ‘awfully interested’ in the problem of Heather Collyer and Freddie Page because ‘it throws a sort of light on human nature, really.’
I am interested in the play because Terrence Rattigan has given us, in Hester and Freddie, two beautifully drawn characters in a situation which recurs right down through history. It is the raw stuff of life, where an irrational love strips away all props of morality and ethics and becomes the sole reason for living ….. almost.
I hope in this presentation you will find something of real value, a moment or two of theatrical experience which will linger with you afterwards. That is what the cast and I aim towards. If we succeed in some measure, then we are helping to make the Amateur Theatre worthwhile and that is our constant endeavour.”
Review #1: The Deep Blue Sea
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: April 20 1962 issue – page 12
Text Header: “Tiny Flaws in Fine Production”
The high reputation won over the years by Young Wick Players has been achieved by a simple formula: work, work and more work with perfection as the target.
Last Thursday, Friday and Saturday with its production of Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea the company almost reached that target. Only one or two tiny flaws marred an otherwise faultless presentation. The cast was given an excellent start by the set, designed with skill and imagination by John Perrett, and the inimitable stamp of George Porter, the producer, was evident from beginning to end. The play, concerning the estranged wife of a respectable judge, who lives with her selfish boy friend until the last thread of self-respect snaps and she attempts suicide, gave Jean Porter and Barrie Bowen excellent opportunities to draw upon their vast funds of talent. Jean Porter threw every ounce of her stage training into the part of Hester until the atmosphere was thick with pathos. From the opening moments until the final curtain she lived, moved, thought and breathed as Hester Collyer. Not once, when I saw the production on Thursday, did the character lose its realism. So brilliant was her performance that Barrie Bowen might have played throughout in the penumbra of mediocrity had he not appreciated, and taken full advantage of, the author’s masterly contrast of personalities. Apart from a blank moment at the beginning, when his lines eluded him, his portrayal of Freddie, the ex-RAF pilot still living in his world of a decade ago, was sympathetically done.
Helen Suter as a charitable landlady, with her cheerful kindness, convinced the audience of her sincerity. Raymond Hopper did not detract from the atmosphere of the play, but he did not seem smugly secure enough to be the priggish character the author intended. Ian Barnett as Mr. Miller, a former German doctor, who lost his profession in doubtful circumstances, was cleverly saturnine but spoilt his first-night performance by spasmodically forgetting his accent. Hester Collyer’s husband, the judge, was nicely acted by John Perrett who exuded the lofty dignity of his position. Supporting rôles were efficiently played by Elizabeth Courtney-King [wife of the priggish young man from upstairs] and Ralph Dawes [Freddie’s bosom friend].
The obvious effort put into the production was rewarded by an excellent evening’s theatre.
Review #2: The Deep Blue Sea
Publication Data: April 20 1962 issue
Text Header: “TIMES HAVE CHANGED”
EVER since Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea was first presented in the early ‘fifties, we have been in the habit of referring to it as a very good play. And in doing this, we overlooked the change of outlook with people in general. The trouble now is that the people who think and react as the people in this play think and react no longer exist, but they have not the advantage of being historical characters. The inevitable result is that we are ‘not with them’ and find it intensely hard to believe in them.
Thus the actors have a double difficult task, but the Young Wick Players, who presented the play last week, accepted the challenge. Hester Collyer, daughter of a clergyman and separated wife of judge Sir William Collyer, is living with ex-flyer Freddy Page. Her feeling that Freddy does not love her enough drives Hester to attempt suicide.
Jean Porter’s characterisation as Hester was a considered and thoughtful, but she failed to convince that she was a women driven to self-destruction by what she considers an unrequited love. As the play-boy character Freddy, Barrie Bowen did extremely well. Ian Barnett played Mr. Miller, a disbarred doctor of German origin, who revives the would-be suicide and thereafter maintains a watchful eye. This was clever characterisation, with the right degree of accent in a man who had lived here since 1938.
Mrs. Elton, landlady of the rooming house, was played by Helen Suter, Phillip and Ann Welch the young married couple from the flat upstairs, were Raymond Hopper and Elizabeth Courtney-King. The judge, Sir William Collyer, was John Perrett and Ralph Dawes contributed a clever cameo as Jackie Jackson, ex-R.A.F. friend of Freddy.
Production was by George Porter, John Perrett had designed an effective setting, and Clodagh O’Farrell was stage manager.