Production 24 Winter Sunshine

Winter SunshineBy G.A. Thomas

Performed on Thu 7th to Sat 9th November 1963 at St. George's Hall
Name change to Guild Players of St. George's Church
In aid of St. George’s Church Organ Renovation Fund

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

George (a steward) Ronald Spencer
An Elderly Passenger Bert Bradshaw
Sophie Lucas Dorrie Sherwin
A Woman Passenger Mollie Boyce
An Athletic Young Woman Pamela Rye
Anne Simpson Brenda Harvey
A Young Woman Passenger Sally Riley
Colonel Powell Ronald Latham
Maggie Jones Doris Cohen
Katherine Blake Molly Fitzgerald
Joan Trench Conrad Sherwin
Junior Ship’s Officer Henry Riley
Sailor Gregory Holyoake
Captain Morton (the Ship’s Commander) Tony Kilshawe
Other Passengers Clare Bradshaw, Andrew Lawson & Reuben Atkinson

Cast of Winter Sunshine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Cast of Winter Sunshine

Winter Sunshine beamed on Guild Players

A comedy which needed a good deal of thought and some very convincing characterisations to make it funny – that was Winter Sunshine, which was presented in St. George’s Hall for three days last week. It was obvious that a good deal of thought had been put into the job, and little could be said against the choice of performers for their particular parts; only minor and almost insignificant criticisms could be levelled against this, the latest produce of The Guild Players. But who wants to level criticisms against a play which has provided a fine evening’s entertainment and brought a little tropical sunshine into autumnal Deal? The play, under the adept direction of Tony Kilshawe, had the professional touch which I expected. Only minor flaws gave away the fact that these were amateurs. Flaws like the very infrequent forgetting of lines, which were covered up with quick thinking and a prompter who was on the ball, and which only made one appreciate the difficulties of the first night. The action took place throughout the promenade deck of the Southern Cross, bound for Bombay and Australia. It concerned the problems of a group of people whose world is limited to the ship’s rails for many days. Centre character is Sophie Lucas, played with sparkling feeling by Dorrie Sherwin. She spends her days in a very pleasant way – travelling backwards and forwards from England to Australia on a ship – and is known to the crew as a personal friend. She is also the friend and problem-solver of the passengers who meet her. Passengers like Katherine Blake, off to join her husband in India, and John Trench, a blind conman who makes a living from unsuspecting women travelling on steamers. Katherine is well played by Molly Fitzgerald, who injected into the part all the necessary wide-eyed innocence which it demanded. Putting into this part just the opposite – a restrained measure of villainy – was Conrad Sherwin as John Trench. But he didn’t go too far, and kept the audience always able to see his point of view as a crook who has a living to make. The other romance developing on the ship is between Colonel Powell (Ronald Latham) and Maggie Jones (Doris Cohen), who start the play as the greatest of enemies. The Colonel is a man of fine physique who intends to keep himself that way by a series of morning exercises which intensely annoy ex‑hotel proprietor Maggie, who is on her way to Australia to see her daughter and son-in-law. I found Ronald Latham’s portrayal one of the start turns of the play, although Maggie – who predictably becomes engaged to him before the final curtain – was not far behind in the running. Doris Cohen was always on her toes – often literally – and showed her experience with the Players to the full. Other notable performances came from Ronald Spencer as the conspiratorial steward George; Brenda Harvey as the tragic young woman whose love has been scorned (it turns out all right in the end, don’t worry) and who attempts to end it all by leaping from the ship’s rail; and Tony Kilshawe as the ship’s captain who places a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of his permanent passenger, Sophie Lucas. I was not over-impressed by the set – a ship’s deck could have given Andrew Lawson and Ronald Spencer more scope for realism, but we were faced with little more than the usual drawing room scene turned inside out with portholes added. And did the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, etc., have to be represented by a dirty canvas and a sea as grey and forbidding as that around the Goodwin’s in November? But it was the story and the acting which counted, and both came up to providing some light and amusing entertainment.

Prompt had Lead Part

It is disturbing for the audience when the prompter is almost regarded as one of the players, as was the case in Winter Sunshine, a comedy presented by The Guild Players of St. George’s Church, Deal. The audience showed this when the play opened at St. George’s Hall on Thursday evening, by its uninhibited guffaws at the prompter’s efforts to keep the play going. It was unfortunate that one of the principal characters was the worst offender – Dorrie Sherwin as Sophie Lucas. Apart from this she gave a good performance as a sort of walking marriage agency cum citizens’ advice bureau to most of her fellow passengers on a ship bound for Sydney. The plot is intricate. The passengers all have their problems, hopes and fears, but everything ends happily. Brenda Harvey found the right note of despondency as Anne Simpson, a tragic young woman who attempts suicide on the journey because she left her fiancé for a man who turned out to be no good. Special praise is due to Ronald Latham as Colonel Powell and Doris Cohen as Maggie Jones, the merry divorcee. They start the trip hating each other, and end it engaged to each other, after some shrewd manoeuvres by Miss Lucas. Tony Kilshawe as Captain Morgan, the ship’s commander, had an embarrassing moment when two of the other players off-stage failed to take a cue. After repeating the line twice he finally said oh come on. They took that cue. The offenders in this instance were Conrad Sherwin as John Trench, a blind confidence trickster (snared by the indomitable Miss Lucas in the end), and Molly Fitzgerald as Katherine Blake, who is one her way to meet her husband at Bombay, but changes her mind after meeting Trench who persuaded her to part with £200. Ronald Spencer as George, a steward, was proficient and enthusiastic. The play was nonetheless enjoyable and it would be quite fair to describe it as a comedy of errors.

Production Team

Production Team

Director Tony Kilshawe
Set & Décor Andrew Lawson & Ronald Spencer
Lighting & Effects Robin Varney
Props Mollie Bryce
Prompt Clare Bradshaw
Make Up & Wardrobe Joyce Jewson & Vera Eckersley
Front of House Freda Hogben
Box Office Elsie Lawson

Cast of Winter Sunshine