Production 46 Cranford

CranfordBy Mrs. Gaskill, Adapted by Martyn Coleman

Performed on Thu 30th November to Sat 2nd December 1967 at The Little Theatre

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

Mrs. Gaskill Dorrie Sherwin
Miss. Matilda Jenkyns (Miss. Matty) Clare Bradshaw
Martha Dawn Ladd
Mary Smith Brenda Smith
Miss. Pole Anne Willis
Miss. Barker Molly Boyce
Mrs. Forrester Zena Almond
The Hon. Mrs. Jamieson Helen Exelby
Mr. Hoggins Andrew Lawson
Lady Glenmire Eleanor Bowthorpe
Jem Hearn Alex Thomson

Cast of Cranford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Cranford

Cast of Cranford

It Could Have Been a Success

In the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons….Thus runs the opening sentence of Mrs. Gaskell’s immotal classic novel about the life and times of pre‑Victorian rural England. In the second place Cranford takes its place among the literary works I have waded through more from a sense of duty than pleasure. In the third place I viewed The Guild Players staging of the adaptation by Martyn Coleman with not a little anticipation. For surely the play could not be so infinitely tedious as the book. Cranford is indeed the story of Amazons, albeit rather less exotic than their South American sisters, a portrait of the social round in a country village managed entirely by women (shudder). A genteel 19th Century Peyton Place where nothing could possibly happen without half the inhabitants knowing by lunchtime and the rest the wiser by evening. No-one possessed outright wealth, most were of moderate but comfortable means. Money spending was condemned as vulgar and ostentatious. The adaptation lifted three chunks from the novel and pieced them together – breaking in a new maid, a love of long ago, and bankruptcy – using a mature Mrs. Gaskell to provide the narrative link. Tackled with humour, pace and timing, it could have been an uproarious send‑up. It wasn’t and it flopped. Yet possibly the chief architects of the failure were the Players themselves. They came on stage with doom in every word and every gesture. They were convinced it would not be a success and this attitude ensured more than anything else it was not. Andrew Lawson as Mr. Hoggins attempted to inject some life into the play and draw one or two chuckles but he was fighting a losing battle. Eleanor Bowthorpe gave up the ghost early on and confined herself to a high pitched shriek which showed promise of reaching top C before the evening was through. Director Julian Grenville must take a share of the blame because he was guilty of the frightful crime of miscasting which manifested itself in Anne Willis. She struggled valiantly with a part beyond her and was concerned only with delivering her lines at the expense of expression and life. The set was beautifully designed by Norman Smith and the company and it was sad the actors could not do it justice.

G.W.

Production Team

Production Team

Director Julian Grenville
Front of House Manager Bert Bradshaw
Stage Director Philip Bowthorpe
Stage Managers Doris Cohen, Bernadette Baugh & Peter Eckersley
Lighting & Effects Robin Varney & Colin Taverner
Wardrobe Joyce Jewson & Dorothy Prentice
Catering Vera Eckersley & Olive Rose
Set and Décor Norman Smith & Guild Players Members
Box Office Reuben Atkinson

Cast of Cranford