Production 12 Sailor Beware

Sailor BewareBy Philip King & Falkland L. Cary

Performed on Thu 12th to Sat 14th February 1959 at St. George's Hall

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

Edie Hornett Dorrie Sherwin
Emma Hornett Doris Cohen
Mrs. Lack Clare Bradshaw
Henry Hornett Conrad Sherwin
Albert Tufnell A.B Roger Bradshaw
Carnoustie Bligh A.B Henry Riley
Daphne Pink Molly Fitzgerald
Shirley Hornett Brenda Harvey
The Reverend Oliver Purefoy Jim Pearson-Wood

Cast of Sailor Beware

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Cast of Sailor Beware

Sailor Beware was One Long Laugh
St. George’s Drama Guild in a Domestic Comedy

St. George’s Church Drama Guild excelled last weekend in a fast moving and competent performance of Sailor Beware, the record-breaking comedy by Philip King and Falkland Cary. Despite its well laid situations and good story, this play is not the obvious choice for an amateur company. The chief pitfall lies in embarking on a work in which the entire action revolves around one character. If Emma Hornett does not register successfully, then the whole performance is doomed to failure. To make matters worse, this role was created at The Strand Theatre by Miss Peggy mount, whose own brilliant performance on stage, screen and television, has come to be regarded as a touchstone of interpretation. Now let me hasten to add that Doris Cohen’s portrayal was nothing short of a tour-de-force.; she was the epitome of every music hall mother-in-law. This was not a second Peggy Mount by any means; Mrs Cohen’s character was a nagger and a carper rather than a booming automaton, with the result that some of the humour was missed. But right from the opening scene, she set a cracking pace, darting across the stage like a four-minute-miler, emitting her lines like a sergeant major in skirts. It was a long and exacting part which she sustained in character for 2½ solid hours. The story of the play is well known – an orphaned sailor arrives home on leave to marry the Hornett’s daughter. After one night in the family home, he takes a dim view of the prospective mother-in-law, who has already paid a deposit on a home for the newly-marrieds – only three doors away! As a result, he misses his wedding; and the final scene is a nicely contrived reconciliation, engineered by the parish priest. Roger Bradshaw, as the young bridegroom, gave the impression of being rather more nervous and apprehensive than the authors intended, although he has gained in confidence since his debut last year in The Heiress. With experience, he should cultivate a good stage presence. Brenda Harvey projected refreshing charm as Shirley Hornett, and the noisy audience on opening night sent up a gasp of admiration when she appeared in the final scene in a radiant bridal gown. But the couple’s love scene, which should have stood out as an oasis in the desert of broad comedy, lacked the tenderness and sincerity which young players so seldom care to express. In the smaller parts, there were some excellent characterisations. Conrad Sherwin was every inch the hen-pecked husband with a penchant for rearing ferrets in the back garden; and his accent and sharply turned utterances of the last act were superbly well caught. Molly Fitzgerald made a somewhat matronly bridesmaid, but this was a bright little cameo, played with the confidence and east that is a feature of all her work. Clare Bradshaw was nicely true‑to-life as Mrs. Lack, the cigarette‑drooping neighbour who drops in on the scrounge; and Henry Riley made a promising first appearance as Carnoustie, the Scottish best man. His brogue was convincing; and he extracted some good comedy from the bed-scene. Dorrie Sherwin has never done anything to equal her performance as Edie Hornett. This is a gem of a part – the timid sister-in-law, with an unfortunate habit of leaving hot saucepans on newly polished tables, who bursts into volumes of tears whenever given cause to recall her own unsuccessful marriage! She was completely in sympathy with the part and dithered around the stage to capital effect. Jim Pearson-Wood, producer of the St. Nicholas Players (Ringwould), made a guest appearance in the last act as the Rev. Oliver Purefoy, and it was a pleasure to find this role played not as a caricature but as a sane, convincing parish priest to whom the young couple really could tell their troubles and find a solution. Mr. Pearson-Wood’s quiet, sympathetic manner was just right. Thanks to producer Conrad Sherwin (and Doris Cohen’s persistent tempo), the play was taken at a good comedy pace; and painstaking care had been taken with some of the groupings and effects. I particularly liked Mrs. Sherwin’s late appearance at the tea table on the tiniest of miniature stools; and also the successful timing of the vicar’s entrance. The set was admirably spacious; but not altogether convincing. The wallpaper was somewhat pretentious for a working class dining room; and the doors were gaudily out of character. The furnishings, on the other hand, were extremely good. One final point of commendation – the prompter was out of work – and on opening night at that! I agreed.

M.B.M.

Production Team

Production Team

Producer Conrad Sherwin
Set Construction George Bailey, Henry Riley & Derek Llewellyn
Décor Bruce Houston
Lighting & Effects Phil Casey & Bernard Kimpton
Props Kathleen Riley
Prompt Edith Campbell
Make-up & Hairstyles Catherine Philpott
Catering Messrs. J. P. Catt & Sons
Business Manager & Front of House Bert Bradshaw, assisted by Muriel Saunders, Joyce Cook, Ethel Cohen & Margaret Casey
Programmes Youth Fellowship
Box Office Clare Bradshaw, Freda Hogben & Helpers

Cast of Sailor Beware