The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
October 13, 14 & 15 1955
Castle in the Air
by Alan Melville
Ross Workman – Menzies
Diane Topping – “Boss” Trent
Ralph Dawes – The Earl of Lochrane
Peter Carpenter – Arthur Phillips
Betty Gedge – Mrs. Dunne
Stage Manager – Betty Carpenter
Effects – John Chatfield
Properties – Eileen Turley
Properties – Diana Hubbard
Wardrobe – Marion Hughes
Publicity #1: Castle in the Air
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: October 7 1955 issue – page 8 – Talk of Many Things
Text Header: “Appeal for toys”
WHILE the Young Wick Players are busily preparing for their first production of the season, Alan Melville’s Castle in the Air, next Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Barn Theatre, they are also panning to repeat a worthy performance of last year, by collecting toys for children’s homes.
This time, however, as their Christmas play is not till the middle of December, they are asking people to make their gifts early so the toys can be mended and painted. The secretary is Miss Betty Carpenter, of 115 The Gardens, Southwick, Hove 48350.so please get in touch with her.
Their play is being produced by David Arch-Doel, who is producing for the Young Wicks first time, but is experienced at his job. It is an amusing comedy involving the fate of the ancestral, home of a Scottish Lord. When I say one would-be buyer is an official from the Coal Board, the other a glamorous American, well you guess it is a funny situation.
Looking ahead to Christmas again – and why shouldn’t I with greeting cards appearing in the shops? – the Yong Wicks are this year to stage a three-act Nativity Play specially written by Mrs Elizabeth Penney, and produced by the Rector, the Rev. Hugh Etherington. On Tuesday morning I saw Mrs Penney working on her play in her garden and she said it was going along well.
Review #1: Castle in the Air
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: October 21 1955 issue – page 10
Text Header: “YOUNG WICK PLAYERS IN COMEDY”
THE Young Wick Players started their season with Alan Melville’s comedy, Castle in the Air, which was presented at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, on Friday. It told of a down-and-out young Scottish aristocrat [Ralph Dawes], who turned his family seat into a guest house, comprised of four unseen guests, with the help of an attractive young housekeeper [Diane Topping], who holds a secret torch for him, and a disrespectful young servant boy [Ross Workman].
They find themselves in a predicament when an executive of the Coal Board [Peter Carpenter] arrives to requisition the estate, for a holiday hostel for coal miners. They become even more tied up when a young American woman [Betty Gedge], who thinks that her ancestors came from the estate, offers them an enormous sum for it. However, with the usual misunderstandings, everything turns out all right in the end. The dialogue was quick and amusing.
The backroom boys scored high. The wardrobe was by Marion Hughes, effects by John Chatfield, properties by Eileen Turley and Diane Hubbard, and Betty Carpenter acted as stage manager. The play was produced by David Arch-Doel.
Review #2: Castle in the Air
Publication Data: Unknown
Text Header: “The Star in the cast – saves Young Wick Player ”
Amateur producers are often warned about the unbalanced effect of a star performer in a mediocre cast. The Young Wick Players, however, are to be congratulated rather than censured for picking Betty Gedge to bring sparkle to Alan Melville’s somewhat dated comedy, Castle in the Air, presented at the Barn Theatre at the week-end. As the rich and attractive young ancestor-hunter from the USA, Miss Gedge certainly outshone everyone else in the mouldering castle in Aberdeenshire where dollars speak louder than the requisitionary powers of the Coal Board. But, without her, it is doubtful whether audiences would have enjoyed the play as much as they did. Ross Workman managed to twist his tongue convincingly round the Scottish accent for the part of the man-of-all-work, and Ralph Dawes and Diane Topping were capably partnered as the impecunious Earl of Lochrane and his long-suffering private secretary. Peter carpenter lacked authority in the rôle of the Coal Board official, but provided considerable amusement as the victim of a severe cold in the head.
A somewhat ragged production was not helped by muddled lines at the opening performance, and the voice of the prompter was far too frequently heard – an amateur fault far too often, and too easily, forgiven.
Review #3 Castle in the Air
Publication Data: Unknown
Text Header: “Good Evening”
The Young Wick Players, staging Alan Melville’s witty comedy, Castle in the Air, at the Barn Theatre last week-end, could have made a happier choice than a rather dated play which called for a more authorative and sophisticated cast than this youthful company possesses. But their production deserves commendation for, in spite of this considerable drawback, they provided a good evening’s entertainment.
David Arch-Doe’s production introduced a nice sense of comedy and knowledge of movement, but different lines needed professional timing to achieve a hundred per cent success. we learned of the hard-up Earl of Lochrane who sought to sell his castle to a wealthy American divorcee and, at the same time, to dissuade a would-be requisitioner from the Coal Board. His Lordship was played in a nonchalant easy manner by Ralph Dawes, a very good attempt. Betty Gedge, with a believable accent acquitted herself well as the American visitor. Diane Topping, as the secretary, had sincerity and, a rather too quiet charm, and Peter Carpenter showed promise in his unsympathetic rôle as the man from the Coal Board. But it was Ross Workman who agreeably surprised with his consistent Scottish accent and admirable characterisation as Menzies the manservant.