The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
April 11, 12 & 13 1957
The Happiest Days of Your Life
by John Dighton
Ralph Dawes – Dick Tassell
George Porter – Rainbow
Seamus McGurk – Rupert Billings
Patrick Johnson – Godfrey Pond
Betty Gedge – Miss Evelyn Whitchurch
Betty Carpenter – Miss Gossage
Raymond Hopper – Hopcroft Mi
Clodagh O’Farrell – Barbara Cahoun
Jean Porter – Joyce Harper
Derek Wass – The Reverend Edward Peck
Valerie Briggs – Mrs. Peck
Adrian Hedges – Edgar Sowter
Sally Rossington – Mrs. Sowter
Stage Manager – Clive Townsend
ASM – Frances Davy
Lighting – Frank Hurrell
Properties – Letitia Benson
Properties – Dorothy Robinson
Effects – Richard Pickard
Decor – Patricia Holloway
Decor – Judy Wilkey
Review #1: The Happiest Days of Your Life
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: April 19 1957 issue – page 10
Text Header: “High standard in farcical comedy”
A play like The Happiest Days of Your Life divests theatre-goers of any intellectual exercise but it bounds merrily along a well-known rut of improbability, which never fails to please. The production by the Young Wick Players in the Barn Theatre last week, set a standard of farcical comedy unlikely to be equalled in Southwick for a long time. Producer, Mary Gedge, helped by the cast, injected it with a raciness so subtle that even the small stage seemed an advantage, especially during the uproarious climax in the second act when every character rushes around in a clamour of protests, denials, and threats.
Patrick Johnson, as the headmaster, fluttered and fussed superbly like a house-proud sparrow, and Betty Gedge [Miss Evelyn Whitchurch] was grimly unyielding to every influence likely to bring a moral collapse in ‘my gels’. Betty Carpenter brought a quietly shuffling gawkiness to the extrovert Miss Gossage, a part too many actresses tend to over exaggerate, and the sober competence of Seamus McGurk, as the cynical Rupert Billings provided just the right note of relief.
Ralph Dawes and Jean Porter fitted nicely into the background a the continually thwarted pair of lovers, and Derek Wass, Valerie Briggs, Adrian Hedges and Sally Rossington made a convincing set of parents whose uneasiness about the circumstances at Hilary Hall gives way to stunned realisation. Raymond Hopper and Clodagh O’Farrell – both still at school – though not quite the holy terrors one would expect Hopcroft Mi and Barbara Cahoun to be, added a mischievous touch to the production. Finally, there was George Porter, who stumbled around as the ancient Rainbow.
Review #2: The Happiest Days of Your Life
Publication Data: Unknown
Text Header: “SEASON’S END PLAY”
BETTY GEDGE, of the Young Wick Players, is a school-teacher. One hopes that her clever, highly entertaining interpretation of the headmistress in the Young Wick’s presentation last week of The Happiest Days of Your Life is not ‘an event which casts its shadow before ….!’
This production marked the end of term – sorry, season – for the Players, and a riotous adieu it was too!
Producer Mary Gedge, and the Players, had this carefree lark about a wartime school’s evacuation contretemps galloping along with gusto, but kept within the bounds of farcical acting. Betty Carpenter’s love-struck games-mistress, Miss Gossage, was a joy to watch, and Patrick Johnson’s performance as the bedevilled Pond was excellent.
The production also owed its success to the lively, sound support of Ralph Dawes and Seamus McGurk [assistant masters], Jean Porter [Joyce Harper], George Porter [Rainbow], Derrick Wass, Valerie Briggs, Adrian Hedges, Sally Rossington [pupils’ parents] and Clodagh O’Farrell and Raymond Hopper [school pupils].