Southwick & Fishersgate Community Association – Eleventh Festival of Arts & Crafts
The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
April 24 & 25, 1964.
Adjudicator: Michael Smee
Winning Group: The Phoenix Players
One-Act Drama Festival
Competitors – in order of appearance:
1. Shoreham Theatre Group
Send Her Victorious
by Philip Johnson
Produced by Peter Voit
2. The Wick Theatre Company
The Bespoke Overcoat
by Wolf Mankowitz
Produced by George Porter
3. The Phoenix Players
The Tricolor Suite
by Peter S. Preston
Produced by Olive Furmann
4. Rottingdean Drama Society
Anne of Shottery
Produced by Sheila Doughty
5. Horsham Dramatic Society
The Sweep of the Axe
by Mabel Facey
Produced by L. A. D. Speller
6. The Southwick Players
by G. F. Palmer
Produced by George Baker
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: May 1 1964 issue – page 2
Text Header: Festival cup leaves Southwick at last
WITH their production of The Tricolor Suite by Peter S. Preston, Phoenix Players of Worthing, won the annual Drama Festival organised by Southwick Community Association and held at the Barn Theatre on Friday and Saturday.
This is the first time the festival cup has been won by a group outside Southwick since the festival started in 1954. The trophy was presented to the play’s producer, Olive Furmann, by Mrs B. E. Newman, President of the Community Association.
Southwick Players [English Flummery] and the Wick Theatre Company of Southwick [The Bespoke Overcoat] were placed second and third respectively by the adjudicator, radio and television actor, Michael Smee. Other groups taking part were; Shoreham Theatre Group [Send Her Victorious], Rottingdean Drama Society [Anne of Shottery], and Horsham Dramatic Society [The Sweep of the Axe].
English Flummery, which nearly won the cup for Southwick Players for the fifth time, was a romping medieval bedroom comedy in verse set in a country castle at the time of the Crusades.
Mr Smee said the play was cheerful and well done. Costume and make-up were excellent. One fault he had with many of the plays was masking. There were two occasions in English Flummery when one actor ‘masked’ another from the view of some of the audience. Making her first appearance with the Players, 17-year-old Bernadette Hughson, of The Royal Sovereign, Shoreham, gave a smouldering performance as My Lady. Marianne, played by Peggy Deall, used her exceptional voice to great advantage and made the play’s naive verse a pleasure to hear. As the stranger knight, Robert Etteridge was as elegant and conceited as befitted his part. Edmund Andrew gave a magnificent performance as My Lord, a loveable bear of a man, being just a little dotty in the right places. Ena Sollis’s brief appearance as Alice, a serving wench, was well timed and provided an excellent contrast with the rest of the players.
The play was presented on Saturday, as were the offerings by Rottingdean Dramatic Society and Horsham Dramatic Society. The previous night the competing companies were Shoreham Theatre Group, Wick Theatre Company, and Phoenix Players.
Philip Johnson’s Send Her Victorious, staged by the Theatre Group as its first festival entry, was said by Mr Smee, to have come off ‘pretty well because not too much was attempted. The cast – Evening Institute members – had attacked the play with a good deal more relish than its quality justified. It was a flimsy 1932 comedy of ‘caddish chaps and handsome women, very much out of fashion. Their endeavour had succeeded against impossible odds. The cast comprised Peter Voit, who also directed, Brian Clover, Jane Urben, Andrew Matthewson and Kay Norman.
Wolf Mankowitz’s The Bespoke Overcoat, produced by George Porter, was the Wick Theatre Company’s entry. This Jewish comedy-drama was excellently produced, said Mr Smee, but it was a mistake to stress its pathos. He gave high prise for a ‘near – perfect performance, beautifully timed,’ to Patrick Johnson, as Fender, and also had nice things to say of Ray Hopper, Norman Hutchins and Christopher Newman.
The Tricolor Suite by Peter S. Preston, the Phoenix Players choice, was described by the adjudicator as a first-class example of team work in a ‘light, harmless, sexy comedy of the type people enjoy today.’
He particularly singled out for praise John Bignall, as Andre, for his perfect poise, pace and assured comedy style, and Pat Edwards for excellent acting and some ‘superb’ exits. The rest of the cast comprised Michael Smith, Ian Warwick, Val Rickie, Ken Cook, Jackie Gilby, Joan Child, Martin Rumsey, Ken Forbes, Judy Parsons, Julia Ruddick and Raynor Dennis.