Production 2 Ladies in Retirement

Ladies in RetirementBy Edward Percy & Reginald Denham

Performed on Fri 25th to Sat 26th May 1956 at St. George's Hall

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

Lucy Gilham Molly Fitzgerald
Leonora Fiske Dorrie Sherwin
Ellen Creed Clare Bradshaw
Albert Feather Sydney Philpott
Louisa Creed Doris Cohen
Emily Creed Kathleen Riley
Sister Theresa Susan Wakeham

Cast of Ladies in Retirement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Cast of Ladies in Retirement

Perfect Set for Ladies in Retirement

St George’s Church Drama Guild Production

The real stars of Ladies in Retirement, at St. George’s Hall last weekend were the set‑builders and painters, Phil Casey, Roger Bradshaw and Gladys Watson. This famous melodrama by Edward Percy and Reginald Denham takes place in the living room of an old pre-tudor farmhouse on the marshes of the Thames estuary, and Messrs. Casey and Bradshaw constructed the half timbered antique scene most realistically. When the St. George’s Church Drama Group staged their first production earlier this year, I credited them with one of the finest backstage teams in the locality. Their second production strengthens and consolidates that opinion. The set received a spontaneous burst of applause as soon as the curtains opened; and it was without doubt one of the finest I have ever seen in an amateur production. The acting standards were also commendable, especially as six of the seven members of the cast were making their first appearances. Ladies in Retirement is a fairly straightforward melodrama about four pathetic spinsters. Elen Creed is the shrewd and humourless housekeeper with a responsibility to her two imbecile sisters. Leonora Fiske is the lonely old lady in whose house they all live. When Ellen Creed is faced with the task of disposing of either her sisters or her employer, she decides to strangle Miss. Fiske, and the three sisters continue to live together in sublime spinsterhood until their nephew turns up and plays the role of amateur detective. Although there was some good acting in this production, the best did not come from the principals. The first act was the responsibility of Clare Bradshaw as Ellen Creed and Dorrie Sherwin as Leonora Fiske, and it was largely due to these two that it lacked momentum. Both delivered their lines with a monotonous lack of variety, and the whole act suffered precisely the same malady as the last amateur show that I attended. The dramatic pauses were outnumbered by uneasy silences in picking up cues. Doris Cohen and Kathleen Riley gave contrasting studies in horrific sisters, and sustained their respective airs of hysterics and surliness exceedingly well. Sydney Philpott was perfectly cast as the obsequious nephew who baulks at the prospect of anything more serious than embezzlement and seduction. A better performance than this it would be difficult to imagine. Mr. Philpott is a personable new actor of whom we should see more. Molly Fitzgerald played Lucy, The Maid, with ease and assurance; and Susan Wakeham completed the cast as the Sister who wanders in from a nearby Convent. Conrad Sherwin was the producer, and among the notable features of his work were the dramatic curtain scenes. He built up the piece to some richly theatrical climaxes, and the scene in which the maid disguises herself as the deceased Leonora Fiske was beautifully timed. In addition to those already mentioned, the team of helpers comprised: Stage manager, Phil Casey; Décor, Gladys Watson, assisted by Mary Riches; lighting, Robin Varney; dresser, Dorothy Philpott; Hair styles and Make-up, Catherine Philpott; Props, Bert Bradshaw and Gladys Watson, assisted by Angela Coe; Prompt, Freda Hogben; Business Manager, Horace Chittenden; Front of House, Stanley Townend. At the end of Saturday’s show, the Vicar of St. George’s (Rev. Lionel W. Hart, M.A.) congratulated the Drama Guild on their success; and said it was their policy that every member of the Guild should have a chance of taking part, consequently the majority of the cast were first-timers. This policy could lead to a conflict between the Drama Guild’s respective duties to its members and to its public. But on this occasion, at any rate, it can be fairly assumed that everyone went home happily.

M.B.M

Production Team

Production Team

Producer Conrad Sherwin
Stage Manager Phil Casey
Set Construction Phil Casey & Roger Bradshaw
Decor Gladys Watson & Mary Riches
Lighting Robin Varney
Costumes Simmons (London)
Dresser Dorothy Philpott
Hair Styles and Make-up Catherine Philpott
Props Bert Bradshaw, Gladys Watson & Angela Coe
Prompt Freda Hogben
Business Manager Horace Chittenden
Front of House Stanley Townend

Cast of Ladies in Retirement