Production 45 Fools Paradise

Fools ParadiseBy Peter Coke

Performed on Thu 10th to Sat 12th and Thu 17th to Sat 19th August 1967 at The Astor Theatre
Group called The Elizabethans, a collaboration of Deal Dramatic Societies

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

Julius Caxton Donald Wynn
Rose Dorothy Whitlock
Susan Dawson Diane Almond
Catherine Hayling Olive Harrison
Jane Hayling Phyllis Gray
Philip Hayling John Evans
Fiona Renshaw Dorothy Abbot
Brigitte Blair Doris Cohen

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Fools Paradise

Sparkling Production by The Elizabethans

When an old roué kicks the bucket and leaves all his worldly goods to his wife and ex‑wife with the proviso that they live under the same roof so that they will drive each other round the twist, his humorous plans go a little awry. As it happens, the wives get along quite amicably with each other – it’s their bank balances with which they are ever at variance. Thus the foundation for Fools Paradise, a comedy, is laid – and chaos reigns supreme. Unable to raise hard cash or to sell off the antique furniture on pain of forfeiting the house, wife No. 1 (Olive Harrison) and wife No. 2 (Phyllis Gray) surmount a series of minor obstacles like having the gas/electricity cut off by flogging one or two objets d’art. But when the bailiffs threaten, something drastic has to be done, and the family’s emeralds are tentatively put on the market. Two prospective buyers, a shady Yiddish dealer (Donald Wynn) and a long-standing, if eccentric friend (Doris Cohen), both put a sizeable deposit on the necklace and the wives are a few hundred pounds better off. Meanwhile, the son of wife No. 1 (John Evans), who cannot get his hands on his inheritance until he’s 30, is doing quite nicely out of the terribly glam heiress (Dorothy Abbot). And mum and step-mum manage to conj a couple of hundred from her en route. Even the cantankerous old family retainer (Dorothy Whitelock) – I’m nearly 80 you know – chips in with her meagre savings, while the attractive young addition to the household (Diane Almond) offers her donation to a good cause. What happens when the wives eventually try to sort out their debts, among many other trials and tribulations, would take more than this allotted space to explain. But if you want to find out, the production continues at the Astor today, Friday and Saturday. In her new role as producer, Eleanor Bowthorpe has wisely chosen a comedy which needs little bolstering. No doubt her buoyant personality has added sparkle to the production and augers well for any future attempt. And she has been well supported by Deal’s dramatic societies, who have pooled their resources of seasoned performers and called this offshoot The Elizabethans. As wife No. 2, Phyllis Gray dominates the stage. Her movements never exaggerated, often barely perceptible, always effortless, enhanced every word. And her voice projection is excellent. She does not need to shout to be heard at the back of the theatre and the faintest whisper is clearly audible. Olive Harrison’s wife No. 1, a financial pessimist, is sometimes overwhelmed by her part and inclined to gobble her words. On the whole her performance is a little disappointing. Dorothy Whitlock’s old servant, Rose, is nicely interpreted, albeit rather too sprightly at times for an octogenarian. Rest of the cast: Donald Wynn (Julius Caxton); Diane Almond (Susan Dawson); John Evans (Philip Hayling); Dorothy Abbot (Fiona Renshaw); Doris Cohen (Brigitte Blair).

G.W.

Production Team

Production Team

Director Eleanor Bowthorpe
Front of House Deal Corporation Staff, assisted by Andrew Lawson
Stage Director Philip Bowthorpe assisted by Sylvia Ling, Bernadette Baugh, Clare Bradshaw & Bee Greenwood
Lighting & Effects Roger Skinner
Set & Décor Guild Players Members