The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
October 30 & 31, 1953.
The Girl Who Couldn’t Quite
by Leo Marks
Desmond Tyler – Tim [Tramp]
Sylvia Sartin – Ruth Taylor
Eileen Turley – Pamela Taylor [Mother to Ruth]
Betty Gedge – Janet Taylor [Grandmother to Ruth]
Edwin Tupper – Paul Evans
Godfrey Evans – Sir John Pelham
Ross Workman – Tony [Manservant]
Crew – Unknown
Review #1: The Girl Who Couldn’t Quite
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: November 6 1953 issue – page 5
Text Header:”His first part, but he stole the show”
Though all the male members of the cast were inexperienced, the Young Wick Players did well with their first production of the season at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, on Friday and Saturday because of their choice of play, The Girl Who Couldn’t Quite, by Leo Marks.
This charming and unsophisticated comedy is a satire on the modern psychological drama. Instead of portraying the hysterical patient under the psychiatrist’s spell, it tells the story of a girl, unable to laugh, who is cured by the sight of a tramp with strange ideas about helping the poor by giving them other people’s property.
Producer Betty Carpenter, presenting her first play, had to find a strong personality to take the rôle of Tim the tramp, even through she new the Players were seriously short of male actors. She took a risk by choosing Desmond Tyler, who looked the part but was totally inexperienced. Although he lacked polish and spoke his lines too fast, he carried the show. Not many people of his age could go on stage for the first time in their lives and achieve a minor triumph.
Godfrey Evans, as Sir John, and Edwin Tupper, as Paul Evans, also new to the stage, did not do quite as well as Desmond Tyler, but with a little more strength in delivery they would have carried their not too difficult parts well. Ross Workman would also have done better in a minor part if he had shown a little more power.
Sylvia Sartin, Eileen Turley and Betty Gedge all of about the same age, had the extreme difficult task of playing daughter, mother, and grandmother. Sylvia Sartin, as the girl who couldn’t quite, certainly did not deserve this title with respect to her acting abilities, which left little to be desired. Eileen Turley looked a little young for her mother, but her performance was very competent. Betty Gedge, as the grandmother, gave a polished and convincing performance.
Despite many difficulties the players succeeded in giving a delightful evening’s entertainment.
Review #2: The Girl Who Couldn’t Quite
Publication: Brighton and Hove Herald
Publication Data: November 7 1953 issue – page 8
Text Header:”THE GIRL WHO COULDN’T QUITE”
IF author Leo Marks had been present at the Young Wick Player’s production of his serio-comedy The Girl Who Couldn’t Quite at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, at the week-end, he might have thought of changing the title. Certainly he would have joined in the laughter caused by the delightfully unselfconscious performance of the tramp who couldn’t quite remember his lines.
A newcomer to the amateur stage, Desmond Tyler has a natural gift for buffoonery.
With all the sang-froid of the practiced comedian he turned his lapses of memory into the high-spots of the evening. What audience could fail to respond to the lovable vagrant who confides across the footlights “Just a minute, I’ve forgotten me words”, and then appeals loudly to the prompter for help?
It must be a trifle disconcerting for the rest of the cast, but such unusual informality was great fun for everyone else.
In more serious vain, but pointing every witty line, Betty Gedge gave an outstandingly good performance as a modern grandmother forced to take a tramp into her house in order to entertain an ailing granddaughter who is not quite right in the head. Sylvia Sartin was nicely convincing in the title role, and the anxious mother was well played by Eileen Turley.
Excellent support was given by Edwin Tupper, Godfrey Evans and Ross Workman, and the play was produced by Betty Carpenter.
Review #3: The Girl Who Couldn’t Quite
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: November 7 953 issue – page 8
Text Header: “‘What comes next?’ asked actor”
PRODUCER Betty Carpenter took a chance when she cast bearded Desmond Tyler as the tramp in the Young Wick Player’s production of The Girl Who Couldn’t Quite, for he had neither been on a stage before nor to a theatre in his life.
The play was presented last week at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, and the success of this story of a young girl who is cured of a morbid neurosis by a kindly and philosophical tramp was largely due to his extraordinary personality. One of the biggest laughs of the evening was this “discovery’s” frank admission that he had forgotten the next line. But this incident, which might well have upset an experienced player, left him quite unconcerned.
Sylvia Sartin did well as the mentally sick Ruth, and Eileen Turley, though rather young, had dignity and composure as the girl’s mother. Youth also handicapped Betty Gedge as the grandmother, though her performance was otherwise intelligent and capable. The other members of the cast were Edwin Tupper, Ross Workman and Godfrey Evans.
Review #4: The Girl Who Couldn’t Quite
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: November 7 1953 issue – page 16 LOCAL LIMELIGHT
Text Header: None
IT must have been something of an ordeal for 27-year-old Desmond Tyler when he faced the floodlights last week in the Young Wick Player’s production of The Girl Who Couldn’t Quite, at the Barn Theatre, Southwick.
Desmond, who lives in the Old Village, Portslade, had never been on a stage before and, what is more, had never been to a theatre, but his complete unconcern gave no hint of nervousness. As the philosophical tramp he had very little need for make-up. Tall, with shoulder-length hair and fiery red beard and moustache, it was simple matter to add the tattered garments suitable for a ‘Knight of the Road’.
Strangely, his own ideals echo those of the character he portrayed. A builder by trade, his evenings are spent digging in the garden and communing with the birds and trees, or rug making! After serving in the forces during the war the wanderlust took him to Australia, but the peace of Portslade eventually called him home again. His own description of himself? A red faced devil.
For their next production, Summer in December, the Young Wick Players have a new producer, Mr. Clifton James of Worthing. At one time a professional actor, Mr. James had the unusual task during the war of impersonating “Monty” and he has made this the subject of a book which he recently completed.