The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
September 26, 27, 28, 29 & 30, 1978.
Butterflies Are Free
by Leonard Gershe
Peter Joyce – Don Baker
Jeanette Goode – Jill Tanner
Frances Moulton – Mrs. Baker
Barrie Bowen – Ralph Austin
Stage Manager – Frances Thorne
Assistant – Margaret Davy
Assistant – Susan Whittaker
Assistant – Jane Corbett
Lighting – Andrew Theaker
Set Design – Brian Moulton
Set Construction – Brian Moulton
Set Construction – Peter Joyce
Front of House – John King
Box Office – Sandie Joyce
Production Secretary – Peter Joyce
Musical Advisor – Patrick Johnson
Programme Note #1: Butterflies Are Free
BM wrote: “Very few playwrights have the gift of combining comedy and pathos in a package that is neither sickly sentimental nor predictable. I am sure you will agree with me that Leonard Gershe is one.
I fell in love with this play on sight and looked forward to the time when I could direct it for Wick. The time is now and I hope we do it justice.”
Programme Note #2: Butterflies Are Free
Peter Joyce is taking his first major part as Don. Peter was a member of the young Wick in the mid sixties before leaving the area. He returned in 1974 and has had a number of small parts in such productions as Othello, Man for All Seasons, and The Odd Couple. His last appearance was in the One Act Play Death and Nellie Miller.
Jeanette Goode has been with Wick for two years and has had parts in The Barretts and How the Other Half Loves.
Barrie Bowen is a long-standing member of Wick joining in 1963.
Frances Moulton is also a back-bone member. Both have appeared in numerous plays. Frances will be remembered for her part in The Barretts, she recently directed Wick’s Christmas play Rainbow. Barrie was in Rainbow and played a major part in The Secretary Bird.
Publicity #1: Butterflies Are Free
Publication: Amateur Stage
Publication Data: Unknown
Text Header: “‘Dancing is a dog’s life’, says Jeanette”
Jeanette Goode has given up the world of ballet for the amateur stage. A former pupil at the Ballet Rambert School, she is one of the central characters in Butterflies Are Free, bring presented by Wick Theatre Company at Southwick’s Barn Theatre next week.
Miss Goode left ballet school to join an Italian company for a year, followed by a two-year spell with the French company Ballet Mondiale, during which time she toured the Far East. “Then I became an air hostess to try to earn enough money to go to drama school.” said Miss Goode
But dancing, says Miss Goode, is a dog’s life. “However, I am keeping my hand in by choreographing a pantomime at Porth Cawl. This coupled with the experience I have gained with an amateur company, might help me become a professional actress. ”
In the play, Miss Goode plays a flighty young American who befriends a young blind man in a New York apartment block.
Review #1: Butterflies Are Free
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: September 29 1978 issue – page 2
Reviewer: Frank Horsley
Text Header: “Season off to a good start”
WICK THEATRE Company opened a new season on Tuesday at its sophisticated best. It again proved itself one of the few groups with the confidence and ability to tackle a play that requires the minimum of characters and the sparsest of settings. Any weak link would have been immediately obvious but this was not the case as Wick raised the curtain on Butterflies are Free at the Barn Theatre, Southwick.
Leonard Gershe’s comedy is a deceptively simple tale of a blind American youth trying to set up home away from his domineering mother and his instant affair with a flighty actress from the apartment next door. Set in 1960s New York, with liberal references to sex, drugs and the pop culture of the day, the play has a highly distinctive feel. But above all, it is funny. The humour is rather reminiscent of that in The Graduate, a film of the same era and Peter Joyce might almost have been a budding Dustin Hoffman as he took the part of the blind Don Baker, his first major rôle for Wick.
Jeanette Goode, playing the girl next door, was also filling her most demanding Wick rôle to date. Her flouncy, liberated approach was just right for the character, though she sometimes took the dialogue too fast and tripped over her lines.
The cast was completed by two of the company’s most experienced members, Frances Moulton and Barrie Bowen. Frances’ immaculate sense of timing as Don’s mother produced some of the heartiest laughs of the evening while Barrie made an impressive if all too brief appearance as the hip stage director.
Review #2: Butterflies Are Free
Publication: West Sussex Gazette
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Ida Cole
Wick Theatre Company presented Butterflies are Free last week and regrettably there was a very small audience who missed many of the laughs. This was partly because the cast did not allow time for them and partly because the hero was blind which confused the issue until one gets into the play’s mood.
Brian Mouton directed it and designed the carefully planned one-room American apartment, in which the action takes place. The piece de resistance was a very tall bunk bed, reached by a ladder.
Peter Joyce played the blind boy, Don Baker, most convincingly, never looking directly at anyone, but always turning towards a voice. It was his first major part with the company and he brought to it much sensitivity though his American accent got a little lost. Jeanette Goode was Jill, his dizzy dazzling neighbour with a dashing wardrobe which she seemed incapable of zipping up for herself. She spoke too fast for clarity but kept up a good accent. One found her irritating but that is what she was supposed to be and how she first struck Don’s devoted mother. Self-controlled, divorced and only 19, she came upon the blind boy as a refreshing draught dispersing the cobwebs of too much maternal care.
Frances Moulton was the mother who wrote idealistic best-sellers about a blind boy to encourage her son and was fearful when he tried to make a life of his own. Suddenly she realised he had outgrown the cotton wool and needed to find his own feet. She left him to do it just when he seemed to need her most – and sent the audience home with plenty of food for thought. Her accent flagged at times but it seemed immaterial. She was the salt of the earth, turning up trumps with her forthright remarks and good common sense.
Whether Jill stayed with Don or went off, as planned to live with Ralph [Barrie Bowen] one was left to imagine.