The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
November 3, 4 & 5 1960
Don’t Listen Ladies
by Sacha Guitry (adapted by Stephen Powys & Guy Bolton)
Patrick Johnson – Daniel Bachelet [antique dealer]
Patricia Bennett – Henriette [a maid]
Jean Porter – Madeleine [Daniel’s second wife]
Ralph Dawes – Baron De Charancay
Raymond Hopper – Balndinet [Daniel’s assistant]
Betty Elliott – Julie Bille-en-Bois [an ex-actress]
Betty Dawes – Valentine [Daniel’s first wife]
Nicholas Sweet – A Porter
Adrian Hedges – Michel Aubrion
Associate Producer – Ross Workman
Stage Manager – Ian Elliott
ASMs – Frances Davy
ASMs – Frances Moulton
Set Design & Construction – Barrie Bowen
Lighting – Frank Hurrell
Sound Effects – John Chatfield
Wardrobe – Sheelagh O’Farrell
Properties – Valerie Collard
Properties – Maureen Hammond
Assistant to the SM – Clodagh O’Farrell
Assistant to the SM – Margaret Perrett
Assistant to the SM – Elizabeth Courtney-King
Assistant to the SM – Ann Skemer
Assistant to the SM – Patrick Daniels
Front of House Manager – George Penney
BB writes in the 6d Programme: “The Young Wick Players have chosen to open the Season [1960/1961] with this play by the well-known French actor and playwright, Sacha Guitry, and they have entered it for the Sussex 3 Act Drama Festival.
As you will see, the play is set in ‘one of the best antique shops in Paris’, which has given us many problems. However, through the kindness of our Southwick friends in lending various pieces and, particularly, to Mr. George Hollis-Denis in making one piece really necessary to the action, we hope we have produced a reasonably authentic set.
I am most grateful to Ross Workman, my Associate Producer, who achieved so much in my absence on holiday. We shall look forward to seeing him as Producer, possibly next year.
Our next production will be directed by Frances Moulton. Please note the date: 9th, 10th, and 11th February 1961.
We should like to thank you for your support, and we hope to give you some pleasure both tonight and throughout the Season.”
Publicity #1: Don’t Listen Ladies
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: October 21 1960 issue – page 7
Text Header: “IN TROUBLE WITH HIS TWO WIVES”
FOR their first production of the winter season, Young Wick Players are presenting a French comedy by Sacha Guitry, Don’t Listen Ladies, in which Patrick Johnson plays the part of a fashionable antique dealer who finds himself in difficulties with two wives. They are played by Jean Porter and Betty Dawes.
Miss Bess Blagden, determined to maintain the society’s high reputation has assembled a strong cast and will be entering the play in the Sussex Three-Act Festival. The set by Barrie Bowen promises to be a novel one and a fine example of expert decor.
The one newcomer in the cast is Patricia Bennett who has previously appeared as a member of Shoreham Townswomen’s Guild drama section.
The play is to be presented at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, from November 3 to 5 inclusive.
Review #1: Don’t Listen Ladies
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: November 11 1960 issue – page 14
Text Header: “CHARMING BREATH OF FRENCH AIR”
FOR talent and the ability to act, for the choice of a play and its presentation, for the originality and authenticity of the setting and for sheer entertainment the Young Wick Players must be one of the best amateur dramatic societies in Sussex. Sometimes amateur productions, either through lack of knowledge or even enthusiasm, appear shabby and unfinished. Not so with the Young Wick Players who last Thursday, Friday and Saturday with their presentation Don’t Listen Ladies, by Sacha Guitry, managed to bring a charming breath of French air to Sussex.
To say the play was a good one is no idle encomium. This rather risqué piece with its typically French asides, captured the heart of the audience from the beginning. The plot concerns a virile middle aged antique dealer, twice married, who cannot escape his reputation as being one for the ladies. His attractive wife finds an old love letter in his 18th century escritoire and immediately sets out upon a plan of campaign to make him jealous – all to the bewilderment of a faithful husband.
Just as things are getting sorted out the first wife “moves in” and the situation is shattered.
The company as a whole must be given credit for attempting this play, which like many adapted works, could so easily have lost its point. Although he had to be prompted twice Patrick Johnson, as Daniel Bachelet, the antique dealer, deserved praise not only for interpreting the personality of a reformed roué to perfection but also for overcoming a bout of nerves so admirably. Jean Porter as Madeleine, his second wife, with her efforts at infidelity, gave a convincing performance and brightened the stage with her presence. The exciting atmosphere of the Moulin Rouge simply oozed from Betty Elliott who talked, walked and looked like an ex-habitue from that famous Paris theatre. Betty Dawes as Valentine, Daniel’s first wife, could perhaps could have done with a little more rehearsing in her part as it required switching from a dowdy, sexless battleaxe whose only interest is poetry, to a slinky, irresistible siren – all in a matter of minutes.
Raymond Hopper, as Daniel’s youthful assistant, was well cast and he found no difficulty with his part, but why he was made to confess his love for Madeleine in the last five minutes of the play is a feature that can be explained only by Sacha Guitry. Madeleine’s “fiancé” played by Adrian Hedges gave just the right amount of affectation to be convincing as the young aristocrat and who could not help liking Nicholas Sweet as the porter overflowing with advice gleaned from his long association with the opposite sex? Ralph Dawes and Patricia Bennett in supporting parts contribute to an excellent evening’s theatre.
Review #2: Don’t Listen Ladies
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: None
Text Header: “Players aimed high”
FOR the first play of their 1960 – 61 season, the Young Wick Players certainly aimed high. They presented at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, last week, Sacha Guitry’s comedy Don’t Listen Ladies! The attraction of the play lies not so much in its rather thin, eternally triangulated plot as in a light, champagne-bubble presentation. This lightness of touch the Young Wick Players failed to achieve. Admittedly the translation by Stephen Powys and Guy Bolton was at times infelicitous and presented the actors with some lines very difficult to say.
Betty Elliott played Julie Bille-en-Bois, an ex-member of the Moulin Rouge, about the pronunciation of whose name there was a difference of opinion amongst the cast! At first sight, this faded beauty was an extremely well-observed characterisation but the fact remains that her portrait painted by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec forms an integral feature of the play which takes place in “The Present”. As Toulouse-Lautrec died in 1901, to have been painted at the height of her career, Julie Billie-en-Bois must now be at least eighty years old, Betty Elliott seemed little more than half that age.
The antique dealer, Daniel Bachelet, who is the hub around which the wheel of frivolous intrigue revolves was played by Patrick Johnson; his second wife, Madeleine by Jean Porter; and his first wife, Valentine by Betty Dawes. Adrian Hedges was really good a Michael Aubrion recently returned from abroad, and Ralph Dawes was suitable suave and convincing as the Baron de Charancay. Nicholas Sweet contributed a delightful cameo as a porter with a philosophy of life. Bachelet’s assistant, Blandinet, who is an expert on spiders, was played by Raymond Hopper and Henriette, a maid, by Patricia Bennett.
Barrie Bowen designed an excellent set, and the play was produced by Bess Blagden in association with Ross Workman.[web-ed: Barrie was residing in Finchley London N3 at the time; he would visit Southwick at the week-ends to work on designing and building the curved set of which Betty Dawes said “is very pleasant but gave the boys a headache when they put it up”]
Review #3: Don’t Listen Ladies
Publication: Brighton and Hove Herald
Publication Data: None
Text Header: “Another Success for Young Wick Players” —- A FROTHY FRENCH COMEDY
A HIGH standard of acting is achieved by The Young Wick Players in their current production of Don’t Listen, Ladies! at the Barn Theatre, Southwick. This frothy French comedy by Sacha Guitry, adapted by Stephen Powys and Guy Bolton, and admirably directed by Bess Blagden, is the Players’ entry in the Sussex Three-Act Drama Festival.
Set in a Paris antique shop, the play centres on the troubled love life of the proprietor, Daniel Bachelet, twice-married and apparently twice-bitten, for his opinion of the female species is a somewhat jaundiced and embittered one. There is a wealth of fun as Daniel’s past dalliances turn sour on him and wives 1 and 2 pick over his foibles. There are further complications in the arrival of an ‘old flame’.
Patrick Johnson fully merits his selection for the pivotal rôle of Daniel and interprets it with considerable skill. There are equally able performances by Jean Porter [Madeleine, his second wife] and Betty Dawes [Valentine, his first], both of whom act with verve and polish. Betty Elliott, as Julie, the ex-actress running to seed, also makes a marked contribution to the fun, and the feminine cast is completed by newcomer Patricia Bennett as Henriette, a maid.
Adrian Hedges, as Michel Aubrion, is the most typical of the amorous Frenchmen introduced, but there are well-sustained performances, too, by Raymond Hopper, Ralph Dawes and Nicholas Sweet.