The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
May 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16 1970
by Georges Feydeau
Directed by Nikki Le Roy
Ralph Dawes – Boniface
Valerie Bingham – Angelique
Jean Porter – Marcelle
Douglas Tucker – Cot
Anthony Deasey – Maxime
Betty Dawes – Victoire
Brian Moulton – Martin
Tom O’Donovan – 1st Porter
Ian Horton-Stephens – 2nd Porter
Stephen Moulton – A Porter
Barbara Moulton – Violette
Rosalind Tripp – Margueritte
Angela Mehr – Parquerette
Julie Morgan – Pervenche
David Creedon – Anniello
Neil Shepherd – Georges
Bess Blagden – A Lady
Nikki Le Roy – A Duke
Michael Padley – Tabu
Tom Atkinson – Police Inspector Bouchard
Michael Radcliffe – Policeman
Norman Hutchins – Policeman
Stage Manager – Brian Moulton
Assistant Stage Manager – Stephen Moulton
Assistant Stage Manager – Sue Brown
Wardrobe – Carol Brand
Sound Effects – Terry Mase
Properties – Margaret Davy
Properties – Barbara Moulton
Production Secretary – Frances Moulton
Lighting – Frank Hurrell
Designer – Tony Morrison
Designer – Ralph Dawes
Publicity Designer – Gordon Kelsey
Programme Note #1: Hotel Paradiso
Programme note: “The farces of Feydeau are as implacable and forthright in intention as a child with a peashooter. They concern the comic horrors that beset ordinary men and women in their determined pursuit of their follies and foibles.
The comic horrors of this farce shook London in a storm of hilarious laughter, and when ‘ the curtain came down for the last time, the whole, huge, crowded house broke in a frenzied excitement. There were cheers, there were shouts, there was jubilation and triumph. ‘So Harold Hobson in the Sunday Times described the scene.
In The Times, the Dramatic Critic, revealing some of the details of the plot gave a strong indication of the kind of comic horrors that beset the characters in Hotel Paradiso. ‘The central situation is a disreputable Paris hotel where all but one of the first act’s characters meet. The down-trodden husband is offering consolation to the dissatisfied wife of his best friend. His friend has been sent by the sanitary authorities to investigate ghostly noises in the haunted room suggestive of a defective water tank. A country innocent, an acquaintance of both families, is trying to find cheap accommodation for a large family of daughters. A studious youth whose subject is Spinoza on Passion, arrives with the parlour maid, who shares his interest in the subject. The number of rooms and doors are barely equal to the strain of the complications that follow.’
Altogether it is an hilarious farce, fun to read and funnier to act.”
Programme Note #2: Hotel Paradiso
Barrie Bowen wrote “Well, we’ve made 21 years thanks to all of you and like any other life it has been full of ‘downs and ups’, in that order, because spirits are always down at dress rehearsal times and up after a successful first night when we hope the audience has been entertained. Things are no different this week, and even perhaps multiplied with this our 21st. Nevertheless we hope you enjoy this evening’s presentation and find it worthy of the occasion. It is in the expert hands of Nikki Le Roy who, you will recall, has directed The Little Hut by André Poussin and A School for Scandal by Sheriden.
This month sees a triple 21st in the Wick. Our founder member Elizabeth Penney is still our president and apart from one season’s absence has been so, since our beginning. We are naturally indebted to her for the leadership, support and patience afforded to us all this time. Anthony Deasey playing Maxime tonight has just chalked up 21 years but as a young man and is giving valuable support to us in the age group.
Spring time is very busy for us. We have four plays in production and are frantically devising next season’s programme. It is almost finalised, but more of that when you have seen all this season. The local press has reported our moves to secure a theatre workshop. Together with the help of the Community Association and the Urban District Council this exercise is progressing very satisfactorily. If successful, this exciting development will permit a rapid broadening of the spectrum of plays presented by us.
All in all, the events surrounding Wick are occurring at a most appropriate time. The consolidation of them should justify your continued interest in us and we thank you for all your past support that ha brought us this far. We look forward to seeing you all again soon. Come to that, why not make a reservation TONIGHT for Say Who You Are in June.
Programme Note #3: Hotel Paradiso
JEAN PORTER has been an active member of the Wick for 15 years and during that time has been a committee member as well as acting and producing. At present she is the secretary of the Company, which takes up a great deal of and spare time she may have. Originally hailing from Lincolnshire, she learned her drama from an old professional actor and since that time has qualified as a teacher with the Florence Moore Studio in Brighton.
Once again, in tonight’s production, Jean is in costume and admits she loves playing in period plays and classical theatre. She is far from limited in her choice however, and also likes modern plays especially those by Arthur Miller, Edward Albee and Tennessee Williams. One further ambition for her is to see Wick tackle Shakespeare.
Over the years two parts have stood out in her memory, namely Catherine in The Queen and the Welshman and Amanda in Private Lives and it was probably the latter part that she was at her best. Her husband, George, is of course another active member of the Company, her daughter Susanna has appeared in past plays and Richard, her son made his debut in Becket. The youngest member of the family, Charles, has yet to appear on the stage, but knowing the tradition he can’t possibly keep away – can he!
The name of TERRY MASE has appeared on Wick programmes over the past eight years, but never in the glory columns of acting. Since joining us from school, Terry has been one of those invaluable persons whose sole ambition is to work backstage. He was first a scene shifter and has gradually worked his way through all the jobs until he was appointed to the executive committee at the beginning of this season. He is the Production Manager for the Company and is responsible for the setting up and running of this season’s plays; he has tackled the job with his customary hard-working efficiency.
The lot of the backstage personnel is not always a happy one as on a production night so much can go wrong. So it is not surprising that Terry enjoys comedies more, as it gives him a chance to have a laugh. It’s a sort of mental therapy and saves him from going mad. He thinks that Maria Marten and more recently Little Hut, were two of the most enjoyable plays Wick have done. The most awkward from his point of view was Becket but he still thinks this was probably one of the best productions. Coming from Terry this is worthwhile praise. He lives in Southwick and works as a bank clerk in the City, and this is the one complaint we have, because if there is bad weather and the trains are late, there is panic in the dressing room. It’s not good for the nerves you know.
Publicity #1: Hotel Paradiso
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: May 1 1970 issue – page 2
Text Header: ” ‘Paradiso’ high spot of Wick season? “
WICK Theatre Company are presenting what they hope will be the high spot of their 21st season, Hotel Paradiso, by George Feydeau, at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, from May 12 to 16.
The large cast is headed by Jean Porter, Valerie Bingham, Ralph Dawes and Douglas Tucker. The production promises to be a feast for the eye as well as the ear. Hotel Paradiso took London by storm when first produced in 1956 with a star cast. Set in the early 1900s, it has all the classic ingredients of French farce. All the characters are absurd and the situations they find themselves in, even more so.
To mark the first night, the members of the company are presenting small gifts of confectionary to the audience. There will also be a bar extension, where the cast and members of the company will be ‘at home’ to all who care to join them.
The company presented an excerpt of Oh! What a Lovely War in the recent Southwick Festival. Next season the plan is to present the whole of the show.
Review #1: Hotel Paradiso
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: May 15 issue – page 3
Reviewer: Frank Selby
Text Header: “WICK’S ‘HOTEL PARADISO’ A HILARIOUS SUCCESS”
CONTINUING their triumphant 21st season, Wick Theatre Company have scored yet another success with the current production Hotel Paradiso, by George Feydeau, at the Barn Theatre, Southwick. Final performance is tomorrow [Saturday].
The strong cast is headed by Ralph Dawes, in a superb portrayal of Boniface, with Valerie Bingham giving him good support as his wife, Angelique. Quite outstanding is Jean Porter, as Marcelle, who has an intriguing affair with Boniface in the Hotel Paradiso. Brian Moulton brings a brilliant touch of comedy to the part of Martin, a man who stutters when it rains and who has four daughters, charmingly played by Barbara Moulton, Rosalind Tripp, Angela Mehr and Julie Morgan.
The farces of Feydeau are as implacable and forthright in intention as a child with a peashooter and the entire cast of this play bring out the best in both lines and action, hilarious to a degree that is quite impressive and refreshing.
The central situation is a Paris hotel where anything can happen – and does. More light-hearted action is brought about by the love affair between Victoire, excellently played by Betty Dawes, and Maxine, a young student, studying Spinoza on Passion, portrayed well by Anthony Deasey. David Creedon, in the part of Aniello, the manager, is remarkably good and Neil Shepherd makes a good subordinate. Another first class performance is given by Douglas Tucker, in the part of Cot, best friend to Boniface
Making all too brief an appearance was Bess Blagden. She was partnered by Nikki Le Roy, also responsible for this brilliant production. They play a duke and lady. Michael Padley, in the part of an Indian, Tabu, also was good. Effective support is given by Tom Atkinson, in the part of a police inspector, Michael Radcliffe and Norman Hutchins, as policeman, and Tom Donovan and Steve Moulton, as porters.
One special point about this play was the excellence of the sound effects and Terry Mase, who has been associated with Wick for the past eight years, working behind the scenes as production manager and setting up and running the season’s plays. He is ably supported by Frances Moulton, as production Secretary. Other credits are due to stage manager, Barrie Bowen, assisted by Stephen Moulton and Sue Brown: wardrobe, Carol Brand: properties, Margaret David [sic] and Barbara Moulton: lighting Frank Murrell [sic]: designers, Teddy Morison and Ralph Dawes: front of house, George Porter.
Review #2: Hotel Paradiso
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: May 15 issue
Reviewer: Walter Hix
Text Header: “GREAT STUFF BY WICK”
IF YOU WANT a thoroughly exuberant evening, go along to the Barn Theatre, Southwick, tonight or tomorrow to see the Wick Theatre Company’s production of Hotel Paradiso by Georges Feydeau. All the parts in this uproarious farce are most ably played, and Nikki Le Roy’s direction brings speed, vitality and panache to the whole; it is a pity that he did not resist the temptation to attempt to steal the scene in his tiny part of The Duke.
Quite outstanding is Jean Porter as Marcelle, the nearly erring wife of Monsieur Cot. She brings great style to the part, her playing is sheer joy. Her rather dry stick of a husband is played by Douglas Tucker. Ralph Dawes is equally successful as Benedict Boniface who attempts and affaire with Marcelle; his very severe and unbending wife is Valerie Bingham. Not all the misbehaviour is above stairs. The saucy maid Victoire, played by Betty Dawes, also tries to educate the young Maxime [Anthony Deasey] in the facts of life. In the true farce tradition’ David Creedon makes the hotel manager Aniello a delightful figure with his glib patter and automatic assumption that all his guests are very temporary ones. This a hard-working and thoroughly effective performance.
Brian Moulton is Martin, the proud father of four galumphing daughters, Violette, Marguerite, Paquerette, and Pervenche, played by Barbara Moulton, Rosalind Tripp, Angela Mehr and Julie Morgan. Neil Shepherd is an entertaining hotel porter, who successfully adds to the complications of Hotel Paradiso; Michael Padley is an Indian gentlemen with an outstanding bill. Completing the cast are Tom Atkinson as Police Inspector Bouchard, Michael Radcliffe and Norman Hutchins as policemen, Tom O’Donovan and Steven Moulton as porters and Bess Blagden as a lady.
The fact that an injury and other circumstances made recasting necessary no more than two weeks ago makes the great success of this enterprise the more creditable to the company.