Production 79 Escapade

EscapadeBy Roger MacDougall

 

Performed on Thu 14th to Sat 16th March 1974 at The Little Theatre

 

The Cast

The Cast

Stella Hampden Doris Cohen
Mrs. Hampden (her mother-in-law) Zena Almond
Peter Henderson (John’s cousin) Peter Ashton
William Saxon Robert Johnstone
Sir Harold Cookham Andrew Lawson
John Hampden (Stella’s husband) Alex Thomson
Walters Norman Smith
Dr. Skillingworth (the headmaster) Julian Grenville
Miss. Betts (his secretary) Lorna Richardson
Paton (schoolboy) John Saunders
Daventry James Cresswell
Andrew Deeson (a reporter) James Smith
Mollie (his stenographer) Patricia Ufton
George (a press photographer) Norman Smith

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Escapade

Christmas Fantasy for all The Family

Escapade is an unremarkable play. The author, Roger MacDougall, contrives the most slender of stories and creates a pack of stock characters merely to launch criticism of the world about him. What could have been a pleasing comedy keeps coming to a full stop as characters take time out to pontificate on almost every controversial subject – except the Church – one can think of. It was remarkable; therefore, The Guild Players did so well with their production of this play. They presented it at their new Little Theatre at St. George’s Hall – and delighted audiences. Escapade offers scope to only one character and the rest of the parts are mere carbon copies of a 101 comedies. What makes the play attractive to amateurs is its large cast – no less than 15 parts – most of which require no great exertion from anyone with a modicum of talent. What made Escapade worthwhile for me was the performances of two youngsters cast as schoolboys. Two worthwhile new faces in one production is something! John Saunders as Charlie Paton revealed a natural feeling of theatre and his one appearance in the 2nd act was a model for youngsters with stage ambition. His performance bubbled. John Saunders as the 6th former presented a more mature pupil and did it well. James has the looks and talent, which will soon make him a juvenile lead. He is of the age to be groomed for worthwhile roles with The Guild Players. The other redeeming feature of Escapade was the portrayal of a pacifist writer by Alex Thomson. He gave a thoroughly unsympathetic character a coating of warmth and the play rested all night on his shoulders. A completely false note jarred the credibility of the story in the writing of the newspaper reporter – a thoroughly distorted character unlike any Fleet St. journalist I know. So bad in fact, even the talented James Smith could not give it any depth. The rest of the cast were, as always, highly competent – but their talents were not given any chance with such banal roles. Doris Cohen, Zena Almond, Peter Ashton, Robert Johnston (an all-too short chance here), Andrew Lawson, Norman Smith, Julian Grenville (the only member of the cast other the Alex Thomson with any chance to shine, and he did). Lorna Richardson: and Patricia Ufton, who was not allowed to say anything! Escapade was directed by Tony Kilshawe, who wasn’t too sure if he had a light comedy or a piece of pacifist propaganda. He certainly brought out the light but, in my view, allowed in far too much shade. But the capacity audience on Saturday enjoyed the show and there will be a rush to book for The Guild Players next production, The Diary of Anne Frank, to be presented at The Little Theatre in May.

Tony Arnold

Production Team

Production Team

Director Tony Kilshawe
Front of House Alan Cresswell
Stage Director Norman Smith
Stage Managers Molly Fitzgerald & Patricia Ufton
Lighting & Effects Arthur Laffar & Colin Taverner
Make-up Joyce Jewson
Box Office Glenys Cresswell
Bar Peter Eckersley
Buffet Vera Eckersley