Production 36 For Services Rendered

For Services RenderedBy W. Somerset Maugham

Performed on Thu 18th to Sat 20th November 1965 at The Astor Theatre
In combination with two other amateur dramatic groups
In aid of The British Legion

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

Eva Ardsley Dorothy Abbot
Lois Ardsley Jacqueline Ward
Sydney Ardsley Tony Faulkner
Collie Stratton Robin Basford
Wilfred Cedar Ronald Latham
Leonard Ardsley Andrew Lawson
Charlotte Ardsley Iris Doms
Gwen Cedar Molly Fitzgerald
Ethel Bartlett Rosemary Goodbourn
Howard Bratlett Bernard Grivell
Dr. Prentree Paul Davis
Gertrude Madeline Franklin

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

About 40 people turned out for the first night of Somerset Maugham’s For Services Rendered at the Astor Theatre (capacity 250) last Thursday. On Friday there were 60 and on Saturday, 120. It was rather ironic that the play, presented by the Deal and Walmer branch of the British Legion as a finale to Remembrance Week, should have as its subject the futility of war with its aftermath of forgotten heroes. First produced at the Globe Theatre in 1932, during an era when patriotism still retained some of its old glamour, the play proves that present day popular thinking on war is no innovation. The story is essentially of a family living in a small country town 15 years after the First World War. But there are three sub-plots each dealing with the effects of war on the characters. There is Sydney, the only son, blinded, cynical, unable to fulfil his father’s hopes by following in his footsteps as a solicitor. At first, you are a hero. Then you become a familiar object. Finally, you are just a burden. There are his two unmarried, now both unlikely to marry, Eva, who lost her fiancé in the war, whose life consists of creating diversions for Sydney and whose mind the turn of events unbalances. Younger sister Lois, vivacious, afraid that life is passing her by, runs off with an older married man. There is Collie Stratton, an ex R.N. Commander, decorated for gallantry, desperately trying to find his niche in society, and killing himself in the attempt. An exaggerated situation? Maybe, but take each plot in context and you have at least one of the dilemmas which faced thousands of people in the 20’s and 30’s. The other characters are merely dressing which help to bring the play to its climax, but each one is believable.

High Hopes Dashed
Leonard Ardsley, the father, whose high hopes of his son joining the family tradition by becoming a solicitor has been dashed, has done his bit by sacrificing his son (or was it his ambition) and would do it all over again if there were another war, who thinks Collie Stratton, R.N. is a jolly decent chap, but simply fails when it comes to business matters, who is unaware of the mental conflict around him. Charlotte Ardsley, his wife, trying hard to make the best of the situation. Trying hard to make the best of the situation, trying hard to pull an increasingly incompatible family together by smoothing their constant differences. Ethel Bartlett, the eldest daughter, whose marriage has left her disillusioned. Her farmer husband, Howard, who hankers for the good old days of the war, with their wine, women and song. Wilfred Cedar, a moneyed, ageing gigolo, clutching at the disappearing remnants of his vitality. Gwen, his wife, frightened of losing her husband to every woman he meets and losing him in the end to Lois. Dr. Prentice, Mrs. Ardsley’s brother, who has a good bedside manner, and Gertrude, the maid, completes the cast.

Competent Performances
Dorothy Abbot, Jacqueline Ward and Tony Faulkner, as Eva, Lois and Sydney, respectively, must share the honours for thoroughly competent and sensitive performances. Robin Basford as Collie Stratton; Ron Latham (who never speaks lines, always lives his character) as Wilfred Cedar; Andrew Lawson as Leonard Ardsley; Iris Doms as Charlotte Ardsley; Molly Fitzgerald as Gwen Cedar; Rosemary Goodbourne as Ethel Bartlett; Bernard Grival as Howard Bartlett; Paul Davis as Dr. Prentice; and Madeleine Franklin as Gertrude the maid, gave admirable support. Phyllis Gray, the Director must be complimented on the result.

G.W.
Published in the East Kent Mercury, November 25th 1965

Production Team

Production Team

Director Phyllis Gray