Production 15 Tabitha

TabithaBy Arnold Ridley & Mary Cathcart Borer

Performed on Thu 3rd to Sat 5th December 1959 at St. George's Hall

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

Dr. Martin Brentwood Stanley Holness
Janet Bowering Molly Fitzgerald
Mary Trellington Dorrie Sherwin
Mr. Fawcett Henry Riley
Mrs. Ruth Prendergast Clare Bradshaw
Mrs. Eleanor Trellington Freda Hogben
Lavina Goldworthy Brenda Harvey
Detective Inspector Bruton Charles Hutchings
Dr. Brownlie John Varney

Cast of Tabitha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Tabitha

Cast of Tabitha

Landlady
St. George’s Drama Guild in Tabitha

A whimsical tale about three charming old ladies who wittingly poison their landlady Tabitha, by Arnold Ridley and Mary Cathcart Borer, was presented with considerable success by St. George’s Drama Guild at St. George’s Hall, Deal, last week. The play is based on the Arsenic and Old Lace style of humour; and provided that one does not regard the gentle air of murder as something sacrosanct or inviolable, Tabitha, is ingeniously funny. The principle characters are three elderly ladies, quiet and benevolent, who’s lives are plagued by the unpleasant landlady. Not only does she exploit their limited incomes, but helps herself to their personal possessions. By chance, the dear old ladies lay their hands on a bowl of poison, intended for one of their cats (Tabitha). With diabolical enterprise they mix the poison with a bottle of VAT 69, lock it up in a cupboard – and wait for the landlady’s depredations! Two of the ladies repent, and replace the poisoned whisky with another bottle of pure unadulterated scotch. Unfortunately they leave the residue of the poison in a tumbler – from which the landlady proceeds to dilute some of the unpoisoned whisky …. Got it? Tabitha is not an obvious choice for an amateur dramatic society, despite its cleverly contrived situations and lively dialogue. Although there are four minor parts for men, the interest and the action has to be sustained throughout 3 acts by three characters similar in age, style and temperament. Conrad Sherwin’s production overcame the casting problems (as far as the women were concerned) with outstanding success. The 1st and 2nd acts were excellent, and the 3rd act would have maintained the racy standards of what had gone before, if only one or two characters had taken the trouble to learn their lines. There were two performances of outstanding merit. Molly Fitzgerald played with admirable confidence and ease as the fairly innocent old ringleader. Regal in manner, she was thoroughly convincing as the colonial judge’s widow who has known better times. Her timing was perfect and the apprehensive manner in which she delivered the line perhaps she’s fainted on learning that the landlady is hors-de-combat, was just the stuff that comedy is all about. The other dominating performance was Stanley Holness’s cameo of a man nearly old enough to be his Grandfather. His doddering gait, hesitancy of speech and nicely turned delivery of a comic line were of a brilliant professional standard. In recent years, Mr. Holness has developed into one of the most talented and reliable actors on the local stage. Playing Molly Fitzgerald’s partners in what was almost a crime, Dorrie Sherwin (as the dithering rather feeble member of the trio, and Clare Bradshaw also did well). The drunk scene, in which the three old ladies decide to test the enormity of their actions, by the sampling of a bottle which they think might have been poisoned, was especially funny. The effect was achieved by slowly advancing degrees of garrulity, ending with the ladies staggering across the stage amidst glorious recollections of the Colonial Governors ball. Freda Hogben made an admirably vicious landlady, with just the right sort of edge on her voice, and Brenda Harvey played with vitality as the stepdaughter. This young actress has a good stage personality and uses her voice sensibly. By comparison, the young men of the cast were woefully stolid. Mr. Holness apart, the male actors left much to be desired. Henry Riley and John Varney were too young for the Doctors and their performances lacked authority and confidence, while the feelings expressed by Mr. Varney in his scenes with Miss. Harvey was more literal than metaphorical. Charles Hutchings’s performance as the Detective Inspector would have carried more conviction had he been more confident on his cues. On opening night he placed an unfair burden on the prompter. The set was spacious and well detailed. It was built by Jack Catt assisted by Henry Riley and Stanley Holness.

Production Team

Production Team

Producer Conrad Sherwin
Set Construction Jack Catt, assisted by Stanley Holness & Stanley Holness
Décor Bruce Housen
Lighting & Effects Bernard Kimpton
Stage Manager Doris Cohen
Props Betty Cocktell
Prompt William Fitzgerald
Front of House Bert Bradshaw, assisted by Ethel Cohen, Muriel Saunders, Margaret Casey & Antony Cohen
Box Office Kathleen Riley
Programme Sales Youth Fellowship
Catering Edith Campbell & Guild Players Members

Cast of Tabitha