Production 17 This Happy Home

This Happy HomeBy Michael Brett

Performed on Wed 20th to Sat 23rd July 1960 at The Astor Theatre
Part of the 2nd Summer Drama Festival

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

Jim Drew Ronald Latham
Doris Drew (his wife) Molly Fitzgerald
Phyllis Drew (his daughter) Rosemary Smith
Arthur Sparling Conrad Sherwin
Natalie Sparling (his daughter) Norman Smith
Elizabeth Sparling Dorrie Sherwin

Cast of This Happy Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

This Happy Home

Cast of This Happy Home

Simple Humour in This Happy Home
St. George’s Church Drama Guild at Astor Theatre

Good, clean, simple unsubtle British boarding-house comedy at its best, was the offering at The Astor Theatre last week, when St. George’s Church Drama Guild presented the third production in the eight-week summer Drama Festival – Michael Brett’s This Happy Home. The situation of a couple of working class families who rent a seaside villa for their annual fortnight’s holiday, is packed with comical possibilities; and Mr. Brett would appear to have seized every single one of them! After two or three days, the two wives are at each other’s throats: the meek, henpecked husband takes to the bottle, the teenagers fall in, out, and back in love again. In short, This Happy Home, is a wonderfully human commentary on the British family’s grim determination to enjoy itself at the height of the holiday season! Conrad Sherwin’s production had very few flaws in it, and the pace, which, as I have written before, is the prime quality in a play of this sort, was consistently racy. Ronald Latham and Molly Fitzgerald, as Jim and Doris Drew, were both perfectly in character. Mr. Latham projected his broad, loud-mouthed, working class temperament with superb effect, and his timing could not be faulted; while Mrs. Fitzgerald portrait of the wife, ready for a fray at the slightest provocation, showed once again that she is one of the district’s most reliable and versatile actresses. Conrad Sherwin did all that was necessary for the meek Mr. Sparling, a pathetic weed of a man, subjected to a domineering wife. His drunk scene was one of the funniest and most convincing that I have seen for a very long time. So easily could this comic highlight of the play have been spoilt by over-acting.; instead, it nearly brought the house down with its authenticity. Dorrie Sherwin might have dome more for the nagging wife’s hypochondriac character on Thursday evening, although I am told that her acting improved on Friday and Saturday. Of the adolescents, Rosemary Smith was outstanding as a boisterous young Teddy-girl – admirably uninhibited, and quick and expressive in every line and gesture. Here was a character that never failed to register accurately. Brenda Harvey acted with charm as Natalie Sparling and she went on in the best traditions of show business following a family bereavement on Friday, and Norman Smith completed the cast as her singularly colourless boyfriend Dick Drew. The set and décor, by the Company, were excellent This might have been any sordid sitting-room just off the seafront, while the piano was of best tap-room vintage. Doris Cohen was stage manager and prompt; the lighting and stereophonic effects were well handled by Bernard Kimpton, assisted by Tony Welsh and Raymond Cole: with Clare Bradshaw responsible for props, Joyce Jewson, makeup and John Varney, backcloth. Last night (Wednesday), the festival entered its 4th week with St. George’s Players production of Message for Margaret by James Parish.

Production Team

Production Team

Director Conrad Sherwin
Set Construction Jack Catt
Décor Guild Players Members
Lighting & Effects Bernard Kimpton, assisted by Ray Cole
Props Clare Bradshaw
Prompt William Fitzgerald
Make-up Joyce Jewson
Front of House Deal Corporation, assisted by Drama Guild Members

Cast of This Happy Home