The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
March 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18 1967
by Noël Coward
Fabian E. de P. Worsfield
Jean Porter – Judith Bliss
David Goodger – David Bliss
Dale Wood – Sorel Bliss
Robert del Quiaro – Simon Bliss
Jillian Cheetham – Myra Arundel
David Creedon – Richard Greatham
Jackie Coryton – Amber Dobson
Raymond Hopper – Sandy Tyrell
Betty Dawes – Clara
Assistant Director – Angela Bolton
Set Designer – Vincent Joyce
Decor – Irene Sweet
Production Manager – Ian Leavey
Stage Manager – Geoffrey Nash
Electrician – Frank Hurrell
Sound Engineers – Frank Hurrell
Sound Engineers – Terry Mase
Wardrobe Mistress – Morfydd Bowen
Property Mistress – Margaret Perrett
Property Mistress – Frances Thorne
Costume Hire – Le Roy of Brighton
Front of House Manager – Barrie Bowen
Programme Note: Hay Fever
FW wrote: “This is only my second production in this delightful theatre, and again chose a comedy. I think I sensed that the company would be a delight to work with, and this has certainly been vindicated.
I must record a visitor’s tribute to the research and general ‘back-stage’ arrangements which have been most professional, and to add to any ‘Coward nostalgia’, the scenery painting has been formalised as it was when the play was first produced.
This has been a really happy production and I hope we can share this enjoyment with you through our performance of this difficult but rewarding play.”
Review #1: Hay Fever
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: March 17 1967 issue – page 14
Text Header: “The Roaring Twenties brought to life”
THE era of the gay but vacuous ‘flappers’ of Roaring Twenties is vividly recaptured in the Wick Theatre Company’s production of Noël Coward’s diverting Hay Fever at the Barn Hall, Southwick, this week. Directed by Fabian E. de P. Worsfield, assisted by Angela Bolton, with a fine period set designed by Vincent Joyce and decor by Irene Sweet, the production shows, once again, that the Wicks can successfully project the mood and times of any play to which they bring their talents.
The current production was well received at its opening night on Tuesday, when one or two rough edges were apparent, but by tonight [Friday] and tomorrow night it should be one delicious romp from first to last.
The setting is the Cookham home of the artistic slap-happy Bliss family, over whom towers the impressive figure of Judith, the mother, an actress of past talents and very present temperament who even at home lives as if she is still on stage. There is David, her husband, a novelist, Sorel, the pert and pretty daughter, and Simon, a gushing young man with artistic leanings. Unbeknown to the others, each has invited a friend down for a quiet weekend by the river.
There are some riotous results, in which life with the Blisses turns out to be far from blissful for their guests, who are largely ignored and finally sneak off, sadder but wiser people.
Jean Porter plays Judith with a delightful zest, over-acting outrageously as the rôle demands and hard-pedalling every note of the comedy. Dale Wood and David Goodger prove admirable choices for Sorel and Simon, and Bob del Quiaro, playing David, effectively injects humour into a less demonstrative rôle. Newcomers to the company, Jillian Cheetham, as suave Myra Arundel, and Amber Dobson, as gauche and lisping Jackie Coryton, two of the hapless guests, interpret their contrasting rôles with studied finesse. David Creedon acquits himself well as pleasant Richard Greatham, and energetic, boyish Sandy Tyrell is capably played by Raymond Hopper, Betty Dawes amuses as the somewhat waspish maid, Clara.
Assisting backstage in a variety of duties are Ian Leavey, Frank Hurrell, Terry Mase, Morfydd Bowen, Frances Thorn [sic] and Margaret Perrett.
Review #2: Hay Fever
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: Unknown
Text Header: “Wick reap rewards of adventure”
For their production of Noël Coward’s Hay Fever last week, the Wick Theatre Company had a guest producer Fabian E. de P. Worsfield, who is hon. director of Brighton Youth Theatre and speech and drama master at the Dorothy Stringer Secondary Modern School in Brighton.
This was a very adventurous production of what the producer rightly calls a ‘difficult, but rewarding’ play. Set in the Twenties, and skillfully costumed with every trick of the trade employed, an equally rewarding evening was given to the audience by this, I say again, very adventurous production.
Of the delightfully crazy house-hold of best-seller writer David Bliss [played with a pleasing subtlety by Robert del Quiaro] the key member is his former actress wife, Judith. In this part Jean Porter had a spate of opportunities for comedy and seized them all. Judith, posing all over the place, can be a bit of a bore and it requires great skill in an actress to make her consistently amusing and in a strange way credible. I was consistently amused by Jean Porter and never bored. Their children, Simon and Sorel were played by David Goodger and Dale Wood: Simon somewhat fey and artistic, Sorel with the saving grace to realise that the house IS crazy and will make frequent determinations to reform. Dale Wood must watch a tendency to rush her words and shriek when angry. The vampish Myra Arundel was played with very great charm and astringency by Jillian Cheetham, David Creedon was the fish-out-of-water diplomat Richard Greatham and Betty Dawes the ex-dresser / housekeeper Clara.
Two parts played with exquisite comedy, which nevertheless, tottered perilously on the edge of farce were the supporting Sandy Tyrell by Raymond Hopper with a fund of inventiveness and skill, and the vacuous Jackie Coryton by Amber Dobson with the Dutch doll make-up and dead-pan expression.
Review #3: Hay Fever
Publication Data: Issue March 17
Reviewer: I B-W
Text Header: “Hay Fever is still catching”
NOEL COWARD’S play never cease to delight, but, inevitably, they seem dated. Does it matter one jot or tittle? They – like the rich comedy, Hay Fever, being presented tonight and tomorrow night at the Barn Theatre by Wick Theatre Company – provide absorbingly brittle amusement, and that, alone, is enough justification for the casting of a kindly eye upon their ‘twenties tone.
The Wick Players [sic] are well equipped to put over the slick suavity of Coward’s quips and quirks. Here we have a typical piece of nonsense, directed by Fabian E. de P. Worsefield [sic], against a set designed by Vincent Joyce, with decor by Irene Sweet – both obviously moved by a professional fervour which has resulted in delightful authenticity.
The Bliss family – all temperamental and admirably cast – is projected cleverly by Dale Wood as pretty, restless daughter, Sorel, David Goodger as her erratic brother, Simon, Robert del Quiaro as her author father, David, and Jean Porter as their ex-actress mother, Judith. Their Cookham home is gradually invaded by guests, invited by each in turn unknown to the rest. Glamorous, cool-as-cucumber Myra Arundel arrives, and gives Jillian Cheetham an opportunity she grasps with precision to put love-lorn Simon through his paces.
Judith, of course, is a man-eater and utterly adorable in her sexy bewitchery. No wonder ingenuous Sandy Tyrell finds her too-too much for him, though the part was anything of the kind for competent Raymond Hopper. Betty Dawes introduces a welcome matter-of-factness into the frantic domestic scene as the housekeeper, Clara. Amber Dobson lisps her way around a wide-eyed Jackie Coryton, David’s choice of weekend guest, and David Creedon is good enough as Richard Greatham to turn any head as pretty as Sorel’s.