The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
April 29, 30 – May 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8, 1976.
My Fair Lady
based on Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw adaptation and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Monica Joyce – Miss Eliza Doolittle
David Creedon – Prof. Henry Higgins
Douglas Tucker – Col. Hugh Pickering
Anita Hill – Mrs. Higgins
Audrey Laye – Mrs. Pearce
Frances Moulton – Mrs. Eynsford-Hill
Stephen Hayler – Freddy Eynsford-Hill
Keith Denyer – Alfred P. Doolittle
Alan Upton – Harry
George Porter – Jamie
Dinkie Flowers – Entertainer
Brian Moulton – Publican
Tim Cara – Costermonger
George Laye – Costermonger
Bill Richards – Costermonger
Ralph Dawes – Hoxton Man
Bill Mack – Selsey Man
Sally Bacon – Servant
Tim Cara – Servant
Jane Durance – Servant
Bill Mack – Servant
Frances Moulton – Servant
Mary Payne – Servant
Peter Joyce – Footman
Bill Mack – Footman
Sally Bacon – Maid
Brian Moulton – Prof. Zoltan Karpathy
Bill Mack – Sir Reginald Tarrington
Jane Durrance – Lady Tarrington
Tim Cara – Dr. Themistocles Stephanos
Sue Cara – Mrs. Stephanos
Jean Porter – Queen of Transylvania
John King – Consort
Ralph Dawes – Lord Boxington
Mary Payne – Lady Boxington
John Lambert – Chimney Sweep
Nicholas Thorne – Chimney Sweep
Charles Porter – Chimney Sweep
James Upton – Chimney Sweep
Robert Upton – Chimney Sweep
Jonathon Dawes – Chimney Sweep
Claire Hoad – Flower Girl
Alex Parrish – Flower Girl
Suzanne Brocken – Chorus
Valerie Burt – Chorus
Sue Cara – Chorus
Tim Cara – Chorus
Helena Drzyzga – Chorus
Jane Durance – Chorus
David Geere – Chorus
Anita Job – Chorus
George Laye – Chorus
Bill Mack – Chorus
Frances Moulton – Chorus
George Porter – Chorus
Bill Richards – Chorus
Alan Upton – Chorus
Producer – Richard Porter
Musical Director – Eric Thompson
Choreographer – Dinkie Flowers
Chorus Master – Patrick Johnson
Pianists – Lillian Chatfield
Pianist – Eric Thompson
Bass – Stuart Bartholomew
Percussion – David Green
Stage Manager – Paul Vrettos
Assistant Stage Manager – Ethel Barrs
Assistant Stage Manager – Frances Thorne
Assistant Stage Manager – Sheila Deasey
Set Design – Vincent Joyce
Set Construction – Paul Vrettos
Set Construction – Bill Mack
Additional Costumes – Hilary Woodward
Lighting Design – Frank Hurrell
Properties – Margaret Davy
Wardrobe Mistress – Hilary Woodward
Publicity – Terry Mase
Publicity – Valerie Bingham
Publicity #1: My Fair Lady
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: April 2 1976 issue – page 2
Text Header: “Amateurish? – Not – likely!”
‘There’s a big difference between being an amateur and amateurish’, says Terry Mase, publicity officer for Wick Theatre Company. And his comment seems particularly apt applied to the company’s preparations for their most ambitious production to date. My Fair Lady, being staged at a cost of around £500.
Award winning actress Monica Joyce, for instance, is strictly amateur, but rehearsing the part of Eliza Doolittle with professional panache. To make sure she’s getting the hang of the cockney accent she rings up her friends in the East End for advice and criticism. On the production side, too, director Jean Porter who has been with Wick for 21 years is working closely with her son Richard who is My Fair Lady’s producer, having completed a year’s drama training at Bristol Old Vic. ‘ He is probably better qualified than me,’ she said proudly.
Pygmalion, the play from which My Fair Lady is taken is quite familiar to Jean. She has directed it twice and twice before portrayed Eliza. She was Eliza for her home repertory company in Boston, Lincs., and took the part at short notice for Wick about 20 years ago. This time Wick are adopting a contemporary approach. ‘ We’re stylising the setting completely,’ said Jean. ‘The stage would be too cluttered if we used both scenery and the elaborate costumes designed by Nikki Le Roy.’
Monica Joyce has been with Wick since she was 14 and said of Eliza Doolittle; ‘It’s probably the part I’ve had to work hardest at. I have to do a lot more voice training and breathing exercises.’ Jean backed her up by stressing that My Fair Lady required genuine actors and actresses to convey the principal parts. The libretto, unlike in many other musicals, was not a ‘load of mush’. The most difficult part, thought Monica, was the transition scenes when Eliza was ‘talking posh’ while still thinking in Cockney. But Monica of Downs Way Southwick, has triumphed in similar testing circumstances. When Wick won the 1975-75 Brighton Drama Festival with Jean Anouilh’s The Lark, Monica carried off the best actress award as Joan of Arc. She also won best director and best actress awards at last year’s Southwick and Fishersgate festival, taking the part of Antigone. ‘ I’d be 50 before I got a chance to play these sorts of parts on the professional stage ‘, said Monica explaining why she had not taken up a career in acting.
Jean’s credentials are impressive. She trained with a Drury Lane teacher for three years and was about to go on the professional stage when she got married. She then decided to qualify in drama and taught freelance for a time, but has not taught since the birth of her last child 12 years ago.
The production runs at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, from April 29th to May 8th, excluding Sunday May 2nd. The box office number is Shoreham 5157.
Publicity #2: My Fair Lady
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: April 30 1976 issue – page 4 – publicity piece
Text Header: ” Allo, guv’nor! ”
MORE THAN 1,100 advance bookings had been made for Wick Theatre Company’s My Fair Lady by Monday evening for the show which opened yesterday [Thursday] at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, for nine days, excluding Sunday.
On parade are such talented performers as Monica Joyce [Eliza Doolittle] and Douglas Tucker [Col. Pickering], who won best actor award in this year’s Brighton and Hove drama festival when Wick presented When We Are Married. Professor Higgins is played by David Creedan [sic], who impressed as Becket in the play of the same name and as Elliott in Private Lives. The part of Mrs Pearce is in the capable hands of Audrey Laye; original Royal Ballet member; Anita Hill plays Mrs Higgins; ex-Bristol Old Vic and Sadlers Wells, and cabaret artist Steven Hayler is Freddy Eynsford-Hill.
Directed by Jean Porter and produced by her son Richard, My Fair Lady also features Keith Denyer [Alfie Doolittle], Frances Moulton [Mrs Eynford-Hill], Ralph Dawes and Mary Paine [Lord and Lady Boxington], Brian Moulton [Zolton Karparthy], George Porter [Jamie] and Alan Upton [Harry].
There is also a large supporting chorus for the big Covent Garden, Ascot and ballroom scenes with Nikki Le Roy in charge of costumes.
Phone Shoreham 5157 for tickets.
Publicity #3: My Fair Lady
Publication Data: Unknown
Text Header: “She’s got it”
“Jean Porter cheerfully admits that she can’t sing a note, but she is currently producing My Fair Lady for the talented Wick Theatre Company. Jean is one of the veterans of this Southwick based company, who win just about every festival they enter, and has worked both on musicals and straight plays in her 21 years with them.”
Review #1: My Fair Lady
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: May 7 1976 issue – page 5
Text Header: “It’s a ‘Pygmalion success’ for Wick”
WICK THEATRE Company’s production of My Fair Lady must be judged a success for director Jean Porter and her producer son Richard Porter. The £500 laid out in making this the most lavish of the company’s productions to date is money well spent. The colourful costumes of the chorus, especially that of the flower girls, combined with the energetic choreography of Dinkie Flowers to give the show many lively sequences.
My Fair Lady, an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, by Alan Jay Lerner, is the story of a flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, played by Monica Joyce, trained by phonetics expert Professor Henry Higgins, David Creedon, so that she might escape her humble origins to become ‘a lady’.
Monica Joyce mastered Eliza’s cockney accent well and the fact that some of the more ambitious songs were sometimes of a strain for her vocal range should not be allowed to detract from a performance which captured the spirit of the part more than adequately. Her acting ability was unmistakable as Eliza struggled hard to converse with the ladies of Ascot racecourse, in a slow but impeccable upper-class accent discussing her gin swilling father in grammar rather less than the best.
David Creedon gave a creditable performance as the bullying and pompous professor. Douglas Tucker, as Col. Hugh Pickering, Higgins’ friend and most sympathetic to Eliza’s plight as she is mercilessly drilled in her speech, was faultless. He provided a perfect foil for David Creedon to bring out the the full pomposity of Higgins, and at the dame time showed great talent for light comedy with a fine portrayal of the kindly work-shy colonel.
Keith Denyer’s Alfred P. Doolittle, Eliza’s father, was another notable performance. His I’m getting married in the morning scene was a highlight of the show as the coalman’s energy merged with lively choreography in a can-can type dance. Stephen Hayler coped well with the part of Freddy Eynsford-Hill, his style suiting the love-struck youth’s character with his Street where you live.
The production continues tonight [Friday] at the Barn Hall and ends tomorrow night.
Review #2: My Fair Lady
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Kathryn Bailey
Text Header: “A fair old production!”
THE WICK Theatre Company’s presentation of My Fair Lady was beautifully dressed, witty, tuneful and stylish. Director Jean Porter overcame the difficulties of the very small stage at the Barn theatre, Southwick, and made a bouncy lively show a credit to all concerned.
Monica Joyce played Eliza Doolittle, the Cockney flower seller transformed into society gel in the show, based on Shaw’s Pygmalion. She was deliciously cheeky and gave a truly excellent acting performance. Her singing was not as good, except in the Just You Wait, ‘Enery ‘Iggins number, where the power of her voice made up for the lapses in tune. She was very well supported by David Creedon, playing Professor Higgins rather like Rex Harrison but nevertheless doing it with verve, pomposity and skill. The other outstanding performances came from Keith Denyer as Alfred Doolittle. Eliza’s dustman dad, whose presence on stage was magnetising. He couldn’t fail to shine with his unselfconscious clowning and big, booming voice.
Musical director Eric Thompson and chorus master Pat Johnson had devised some exciting part-songs for chorus and the small orchestra deftly handled the score with its well known songs. It was a shame, though, that the overture was played while the characters stood stiffly on the darkened stage. It would have been better either to leave them backstage until after the overture, or to have put the lights on them.
Review #3: My Fair Lady
Publication: West Sussex Gazette
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: IDA COLE
Text Header: “My Fair Lady”
Currently, until Saturday, Wick Theatre Company are presenting Richard Porter’s lively production of My Fair Lady at the Barn Theatre, Southwick. Directed by Jean Porter, who plays the Queen, it has dazzling costumes, provided by Hilary Woodward and a theatrical costumier. The clever and unusual set is designed by Vincent Joyce, using little furniture but black staging and different backdrops rather like lantern slides. The necessary changes are carried out deftly by a good team who work in the dark since there is no curtain.
Monica Joyce is an excellent Eliza Doolittle, convincingly struggling with gentility and gradually winning through. It is, however, no use waiting to hear “Not Pygmalion likely!” for that has been by-passed. David Creedon is a likeable Professor Higgins, Douglas Tucker the courteous Col. Pickering, and Stephen Hayler the lovelorn Freddy Eynsford-Hill. Keith Denyer is burly Alfred Doolittle, the jovial dustman with an eye on the main chance; and Brian Moulton the Hungarian Professor who also prides himself on being astute.
Dinkie Flowers does the choreography, with a little busking from herself outside Covent Garden. She manages to create the illusion of space when everyone dances, especially in the Cockney scene and the ballroom. The Queen leads the stately dancing with her consort, impressively played by John King.
The pianist Eric Thompson is musical director, joined by Lillian Chatfield at a second piano, with Stuart Bartholomew [bass] and David Green [percussion]. They soon get things swinging with all those lilting and rhythmic songs.
It is a most enjoyable show and my only adverse criticism on the first night was that it all ended rather abruptly.