Production 48 Lovers' Leap

Lovers' LeapBy Philip Johnson

Performed on Thu 7th to Sat 9th at The Astor Theatre and Wed 13th March 1968 at The Globe Theatre
In aid of Friends of The Hospital Association, Deal

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

Helen Storer Doris Cohen
Martha Zena Almond
Sarah Traille Glenys Cresswell
Cedric Norreys John Morris
Roger Storer Tony Kilshawe

Cast of Lovers' Leap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View the Gallery

View the Gallery

 

Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Lovers' Leap

Cast of Lovers' Leap

Emotive Connotations Missed

If you think you are pretty adept at the word association game, try this. Storm, Divorce Reform Bill, Rameses III. It is not, as you might imagine, the shortest route to a decree. It is the format of The Guild Players production Lovers’ Leap. The title is something of a misnomer because it is really about a disease common to all the women of one family – they can’t keep their men – and about two sisters in particular, Helen Storer and Sarah Traille. Sarah arrives at Helen’s house for the weekend with boyfriend in tow. The object of the exercise is to decide whether they will exchange vows or live together. Little Sarah is determined not to make the same mistake as the rest of them. Meanwhile, Helen is agitatedly awaiting the return of her husband who has been on a whistle-stop tour of the pyramids of seven years. The wanderer appears and immediately asks his wife for a divorce. She agrees on condition he will act out a charade with her to submerge their own miserable failure and demonstrate the beauty, sanctity and success of marriage to Sarah. At the same time she convinces her husband that the quirks which drove him away are gone. Even storms which once sent her scurrying to the boot cupboard now lure her to the roof to watch the lightning strike. They act their parts so well that for a brief interlude they believe they are falling in love again. Until the storm breaks, the thunder rolls and the lightning throws shafts of light into the room. Helen bravely resists the temptation to run like the devil to her usual haunts with a supply of sherry and biscuits. But she is defeated not so much by the storm itself but by her sardonic husband who did not believe her anyway. Everything does not end happily and he returns to the sands of the desert taking Sarah’s affianced with him and ruining the lives of two women. Back to the word association game. The storm which inevitably breaks is symbolic of the final racking upheaval of a marriage with a woman frantically clutching at the receding strands of a fulfilled life. Had the Divorce Reform Bill been part of our legislature both husband and wife might have been spared the ghastly parody they were forced into. They could have parted on a less sour note simply by obtaining a decree because their marriage had irretrievably broken down. And Rameses III? It is to his tomb the two men scuttle for sanctuary from the siren sisters. As a comedy, the play was competently handled by the Players and they were gratified by gusts of laughter even if their timing was slightly awry. But they missed the emotive connotations of the situation. The comic lines only partly disguised the pathos of a marriage which broke down simply because the partners were incompatible. And the desperate, if futile, attempt of the younger sister to avoid the same mistake of her kinswoman. The Guild Players took their lines on face value without probing too deeply and the result was no pathos and too much bathos. In this context two situations come to mind. When Helen ultimately and unwillingly succumbs to her terror of the storm, more sympathy could have been gleaned for the character had Doris Cohen played her part with more restraint at this moment. She is aware, and so is the audience, that her marriage stands or falls by her ability to ride out the storm. This is the climax of the play. But by falling all over the settee and waggling her legs in the air, she has reduced poor Helen to ridicule. This is not so much a comment on Doris Cohen, who handled her character extremely well, but on the direction. It seems to be a feature of all Deal’s dramatic societies to over-stress a point and to hammer in their interpretation of the facts instead of allowing us to think for ourselves. The second observation is on the final scene. Might the impression not have been more poignant if the curtains closed on the two women mute, rather than the that final fling of the curtains showing them eating a hearty breakfast and laughing hysterically? Glenys Cresswell, John Morris and Tony Kilshawe were all well cast, even if they did not go too deeply into the relationship of each character with the other. Zena Almond made a brief appearance on stage as Martha the maid.

G.W.

Production Team

Production Team

Director Tony Kilshawe
Front of House Bert Bradshaw
Publicity Reuben Atkinson
Stage Director Norman Smith
Stage Managers Brenda Smith, Dorothy Prentice & Molly Fitzgerald
Lighting & Effects Arthur Laffar & Colin Taverner
Wardrobe and Make-Up Supervisor Joyce Jewson
Scenery & Décor Reuben Atkinson & Tony Kilshawe

Cast of Lovers' Leap