The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
December 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15 1973
The Amorous Prawn
by Anthony Kimmins
Barrie Bowen – Corporal Sydney Green
Monica Joyce – Private Biddy O’Hara WRAC
Valerie Burt – Private Suzie Tidmarsh WRAC
Jean Porter – Lady Fitzadam
Keith Denyer – Major General Sir Hamish Fitzadam KBE, CB, DSO
Bill Mack – Private Albert Higgins
Raymond Hopper – Private Willie Maltravers
Alan Upton – Sam Goulansky
David Creedon – Larry Hoffman
Jack Bingham – The Prawn
Raymond Hopper – Uncle Joe
Stage Manager – George Laye
Assist Stage Manager – Paul Vrettos
Assist Stage Manager – Ethel Barrs
Assist Stage Manager – Ulla Sharman
Design – George Laye
Lighting – Frank Hurrell
Sound Effects – Roger Stott
Wardrobe – Mary Payne
Properties – Margaret Davy
Properties – Frances Thorne
Front of House – Mike Donkin
Programme Note #1: The Amorous Prawn
AL wrote “Against a wintry background of fuel shortages, power cuts and strikes we offer the light-hearted entertainment and relaxation of The Amorous Prawn. It is a farcical comedy and moves from one improbable situation to another.
The wife of the G.O.C., North Western District decides to raise money by turning the official residence into an hotel in her husband’s absence. She is aided and abetted by the service personnel who staff the house and all goes well until the arrival of the ‘Prawn’ and then ….. well, all is resolved in a hilarious climax.
I consider it a well constructed, well written play of its type – a light hearted diversion from everyday cares.”
Programme Note #2: The Amorous Prawn
The Amorous Prawn brings us to the halfway point in our 25th Season. Until very recently 1948 [our foundation year] seemed a long time ago but suddenly the ration books and the paraffin heated offices, the queues and the power cuts have brought back many memories. “It’s yesterday once more”.
In the theatre a great deal has happened since 1948. Although it is fashionable [when has it not been?] to grumble about the ‘dearth of good modern writers’ most of us are aware that the last two decades have produced many remarkable plays and a shift in emphasis away from diversion and entertainment to plays which explore some of the complex emotions of our strange modern society.
The remainder of our Season needs very little introduction. Tennessee Williams’ magnificent play Night of the Iguana will be produced by George Porter on February 12-16 1974 [Please note this date: there was a mistake in our letter to patrons placing this production in January.] Nikki Le Roy will produce An Italian Straw Hat from April 27 – May 4 1974 and this looks like giving him the perfect vehicle for his own particular originality. Richard Porter is producing White Liars for the Southwick Festival April 19/20 April 1974. This is a play which will intrigue you and it has been strongly cast.
So there is much to look forward to. In planning each season we like to feel that we are starting a dialogue with our audiences. You contribute to the dialogue firstly by booking seats and then by your reactions when you are here. Some of you go further and write to us about our productions and we welcome this enthusiastically. Be as critical [or as ecstatic] as you like – we don’t mind upsetting you [a little] sometimes but we would never forgive ourselves if we bored you!
Review #1: The Amorous Prawn
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: December 21 issue – page 2
Reviewer: Harry Patterson
Text Header: “This Prawn is certain mirth”
WHATEVER agonies the world is heaping on your shoulders the Wick Theatre’s production of Anthony Kimmins’ The Amorous Prawn is virtually guaranteed to bring a smile to the unhappiest face. Yes, it was well worth taking a trip to the Barn Theatre Southwick at the week-end to see this play.
The setting is Major General Sir Hamilton Fitzadam’s quarters in a small army station in Scotland and he has to go to America for his last service job before retirement. He and his wife superbly played by Jean Porter, have set their hearts on a house in Dorset, but they need more money and once the general is out of the way Lady Fitzadam commandeers his personal staff and turns his quarters into a salmon fishing, gourmet attracting guest-house. Two Americans Sam Goulansky [Alan Upton] and Larry Hoffman [David Creedon] take up residence and are more than willing to throw their money around.
For once the American accents are maintained really well and enhance rather than detract from the performance. Apart from Lady Fitzadam having to fight off the attentions of Larry, everything goes well. The house in Dorset is becoming a reality as the five members of staff are making money hand over fist. But then the first problem: the general arrives back early and even worse the Prawn [Jack Bingham] arrives and things really start a’popping.
Barrie Bowen, as the corporal, handles the switch from army to hotel brilliantly as do Monica Joyce [Biddy], Valerie Burt [Suzie] and Bill Mack [Albert], special mention for Ray Hopper who turns the cook Willie into a delightful character. Keith Denyer as the general makes a fine traditional army officer.
The characters in the play may have had their problems but this excellent production made the audience forget theirs.
Review #2: The Amorous Prawn
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Walter Hix
Text Header: “Fun time at the general’s place”
The Amorous Prawn, currently presented by the Wick Theatre Company at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, is a pleasing comedy of strange happenings at the official residence of the GOC, North-western District in the general’s absence on an official mission. Turning Glenmally House into a guesthouse with service personnel a staff is an idea which becomes complicated when the general returns and, worse, one of the guests turns out to be a Person of Importance. Deviser of the pan is Lady Fitzadam, wife of Sir Hamish Fitzadam, KBE, CB, DSO, who is played with considerable verve and personality by Jean Porter. Very military and 40 years in the Army is the major-general, played by Keith Denyer. In charge of staff is Corporal Sydney Green, who is transformed into maitre d’hotel Mr Green. Barrie Bowen fits both aspects of his rôle perfectly from the authentic Regular corporal to the pseudo-cultivated tones of the hotel manger.
His “staff” consists of the rather thick Private Higgins, addicted to beer [Bill Mack], the slightly flashy sex symbol, Private Suzie Tidmarsh [Valerie Burt], the simple little Private Biddy O’Hara [Monica Joyce] and the rather precious dedicated cook Private Willie Maltravers [Raymond Hopper]. These work excellently as a team and it is no criticism of the other to say that Raymond Hopper has the edge on them for sheer neatness and detail of his characterisation.
The two American guests, Larry Hoffman and Sam Goulansky, are excellently cast in David Creedon and Alan Upton and the Very Important Prawn is played by Jack Bingham.
Audrey Laye’s production keeps the whole thing moving speedily from fun to fun.