The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
February 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14, 1970.
by Jean Anouilh
George Rawlins – King Henry of England
Barbara Moulton, Rosalind Tripp – Pages
John Rankin – 1st Sentry
Richard Porter – 2nd Sentry
Kenneth Wilson – 1st Monk
Anthony Deasey – 2nd Monk
S. Brown – 3rd Monk
H. Goldsmith – 4th Monk
David Creedon – Thomas Becket
Raymond Hopper – Servant to Henry
Wilfred Perkins – Archbishop of Canterbury
David Geere – Bishop of Oxford
Richard Nicholas – Bishop of York
Douglas Tucker – Gilbert Folliot, Bishop of London
Norman Hutchins – Saxon Father
Julia Morgan – Saxon Girl
Anthony Deasey – Saxon Son
Graham Loder – 1st Baron
Jack Bingham – 2nd Baron
Mike Donkin – 3rd Baron
Barrie Bowen – 4th Baron
Pat Coplan – Gwendolen
Caroline Creedon – French girl
David Peaty – Little Monk
Raymond Hopper – Provost Marshall
Richard James – William of Corbeil
Elizabeth Penney – Queen Mother
Margaret Ockenden – Young Queen
Steven Moulton – Prince Henry
Neil Shephard – French Priest
Stephen Brand – French choir boy
Ralph Dawes – King Louis of France
Wilfred Perkins – 1st French Baron
Norman Hutchins – 2nd French Baron
Raymond Hopper – Arundel
Roy Davidson – The Pope
Neil Shephard – A Cardinal
Members of the Company – Crowd
Assistant Director – George Porter
Designers – Teddy Morison, Barrie Bowen
Stage Manager – Brian Moulton
Assistant Stage Manager – Susan Brown
Properties – Margaret Perrett
Lighting – Frank Hurrell, Ken Parsons
Sound Effects – Terry Mase
Wardrobe – Carol Brand
Wardrobe – Morfydd Bowen
Decor and Properties – Bess Blagden
Decor and Properties – Janet Leaney
Production Secretary – Jean Porter
Music Composer – Patrick Johnson
Programme Note: Becket
“Nearly 800 years ago Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral – whether at the direct instigation of Henry ll has never been decided. At the beginning of their association, Becket and the King shared the closest possible friendship, but later, when he had become Archbishop, Becket’s loyalty was to the Church and not the Crown.
Anouilh’s play, in the English translation, does not pretend to be historically accurate, but shows the development and later the destruction of their friendship between the two powerful personalities – Henry, a man of passion and Becket a man of principle, two men who differed only in their definition of loyalty.
The action takes place between 1156 and 1172. It moves from the Cathedral at Canterbury, through the English palaces and forests, to the French countryside, the Court of Louis of France, the Pope’s temporary palace at Sens, and back to England and Canterbury. The presentation of the play is continuous, with no intervals between scenes, and it is hoped that the fusion of colour, light and music will, together create ‘an experience that is entirely and only theatrical’.
George Rawlins, who directs tonight’s play, in which he appears as King Henry, is Drama Adviser to West Sussex County Council. Before taking up this post, he was Director of the Octagon at Bolton for eighteen months. The Octagon is famous for its very flexible layout. Under the direction of E. Martin Brown, George appeared as Henry in a touring production of Becket. He often reads the Morning Story on radio and is a teacher of mime, dance drama and drama. He adjudicates at many drama festivals.”
Publicity #1: Becket
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: January 30 1970 issue – page 9
Text Header: “WICK COMPANY’S ‘BECKET'”
IN association with Canterbury marking the eighth centenary of Thomas Becket being murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, Wick Theatre Company are presenting Anouilh’s Becket at the Barn Theatre Southwick, from February 10 to 14.
Producer is George Rawlins, county drama adviser for West Sussex, who will play Henry ll, David Creedon takes the title rôle. Almost the entire Wick company will be in the cast and outside companies will be helping out, Pat Coplan, of Brighton Operatic Society, will play Gwendolin. Others in the cast are Steven and Barbara Moulton, Molly Penney, Ray Hopper, Mike Donkin, Wilfred Perkins and Richard Nicholas.
With a producer of the calibre of George Rawlins, it should be a memorable production. School children will be admitted on the first night for a charge of 2s. 6d. anyone interested should phone Southwick 4114.
Review #1: Becket
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: February 13 issue 1970 – page 10
Reviewer: Frank Selby
Text Header: “A BRILLIANT ‘BECKET’ BY WICK THEATRE COMPANY”
WICK Theatre Company has scored yet another triumph in this its 21st season, with a brilliant presentation of Jean Anouilh’s Becket at the Barn Theatre this week. It’s [sic] run ends tomorrow [Saturday].
The action takes place between 1156 and 1172, moving from Canterbury Cathedral, through English palaces and forests to the French country-side, the court of Louis of France, the Pope’s temporary palace at Sens and back to England and Canterbury. The play never lags and the fusion of colour, light and music combine to create a theatrical experience of high quality. George Rawlins, who is drama adviser to West Sussex County Council, portrays King Henry of England to perfection. He also produced the play. David Creedon, in the part of Thomas Becket, brings a rare mixture of worldliness turning into foreseeable martyrdom and, like Henry, is hardly ever off the stage in this three-hour play. Elizabeth Penney is convincing in the part of the Queen Mother and Margaret Ockenden gives a sensitive performance as the young Queen, outraged by Henry’s love for Becket, which eventually turns to hate, leading to murder. Ralph Dawes, founder member, appearing in his 48th production with Wick, either as an actor or producer, gives a sustained performance as King Louis.
Effective support came from Caroline Creedon, as a French girl, David Peaty, as a monk, Steven Moulton as Prince Henry; Douglas Tucker as Bishop of London, Roy Davidson as the Pope and Neil Shephard as a cardinal. Guests appearing are Pat Copland, of Brighton and Hove Operatic Society, in the part of Gwendolen, Mike Donkin and Roy Davidson, of Southwick Operatic Society, David George and Richard Nicholas, of Southwick Players, Wilfred Perkins, of Woodingdean Players, and John Rankin, of Junior West Sussex Players. Strong support also comes from the rest of the large cast, which includes Barbara Moulton, Rosalind Tripp, Richard Porter, Kenneth Wilson, Anthony Deasey, S. Brown, H. Goldsmith, Raymond Hopper, Douglas Tucker, Norman Hutchins, Julia Morgan, Graham Loder, Jack Bingham, Barrie Bowen and Richard James.
George Rawlins uses all his professional expertise in his production of the play, in which he is assisted by George Porter. The design is excellent and the opening Cathedral scene is most effectively set by Teddy Morison and Barrie Bowen. Stage Manager is Brian Moulton, assisted by Susan Brown. Other credits are to Margaret Perrett, Frank Hurrell, Ken Parsons, Terry Mase, Carol Brand, Morfydd Bowen, Bess Blagden and Janet Leaney. Production secretary is Jean Porter and the music is composed by Patrick Johnson.
Review #2: Becket
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: February 13 issue – page 22
Reviewer: Walter Hix
Text Header: “‘BECKET’ IS A STUNNER”
I HAVE NOT seen for many years, if indeed at all, as fine an amateur production as Becket, by Jean Anouilh, currently performed by the Wick Theatre Company at the Barn Theatre, Southwick. Apart from the crowd, there are 38 named characters in this play of divided loyalties, of intrigue of Church and State and, above all, of acutely observed personal relationships.
George Rawlins gives a performance of great quality as Henry II of England whose very close friendship with Becket leads him to the mistake of having Becket made Archbishop and his failure to admit to himself that Becket’s loyalty to God is the greater. As the high principled Becket, David Creedon makes a fine job particularly in the subtlety of the transition from worldliness to austerity without the loss of humour or humanity. Douglas Tucker is an excellently conniving Bishop of London and the four roistering barons who take Henry’s spasm of anger too literally and dispatch Becket in the Cathedral of Canterbury are Graham Loder, Jack Bingham, Mike Donkin and Barrie Bowen.
This is not a play in which women have much part, but Margaret Ockenden as Henry’s Queen, Elizabeth Penney as the Queen Mother and Pat Coplan as Becket’s mistress Gwendolen all play well. Wilfred Perkins appears to very good effect both as the Archbishop of Canterbury and as a French baron. David Geere is Bishop of Oxford, Richard Nicholas, Bishop of York, Roy Davidson is the Pope and Neil Shepherd a Cardinal. Ralph Dawes is King Louis of France. The play is produced by George Rawlins.
There are final performances tonight and tomorrow at 7.45 p.m.
Review #3: Becket
Publication Data: February 13 issue
Reviewer: JEAN GARRATT
Text Header: ” ‘Director a brilliant Henry in Anouilh’s ‘Becket’ ”
BY directing and taking over the powerful part of Henry ll, in Jean Anouilh’s Becket, George Rawlins, of the Wick Theatre Company, carries off a mammoth task brilliantly this week, at the Barn Theatre, Southwick.
The French version, by Anouilh, of this incident in British history, which ends with the murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1172, is not intended to be historically accurate but it’s a marvellous play. It stands or falls by the calibre of the acting of the two central rôles – Henry, and his much loved friend, Thomas Becket. It would be difficult to fault the performance of either actor.
David Creedon plays Becket with great confidence. Friend of the king, he is ever ready to give advice on State matters or to go wenching. He enters into the life of the Norman Court, but, one suspects, never forgetting he is a Saxon.
David Creedon admirably suggests that even in his gayest mood there is always a growing doubt as to the path he would take if ever he had to chose between God and king. George Rawlins’ Henry is lusty and bold. He gives a penetrating picture of the light hearted seducer, kingly yet pathetic in his growing dependence on Becket, the one person he loves, yet does not understand.
There is admirable support from the rest of the cast, especially the trio of clergy, Wilfred Perkins, as the Archbishop of Canterbury, David Geere as the Bishop of Oxford and Richard Nicholas as the Bishop of York. Pat Coplan sings sweetly as Gwendolen. The huge company is beautifully managed and overcomes the difficulty of a comparatively small stage, one scene flowing smoothly into another. This is helped enormously by the imaginative lighting by Frank Hurrell and Ken Parsons, and sound effects by Terry Mase.
The play continues tonight and tomorrow, and booking is heavy.
The company’s next play is Hotel Paradiso by George Feydeau, from May 12-16.