Production 87 Rose Without a Thorn

Rose Without a ThornBy Clifford Bax

 

Performed on Thu 16th to Sat 18th October 1975 at The Little Theatre

 

The Cast

The Cast

Henry VIII Peter Ashton
Thomas Cramner (Archbishop of Canterbury) Arthur Linsley
Sir Thomas Audley (Lord Chancellor) Alex Thomson
The Earl of Hertford Jim Smith
Thomas Culpeper (a young friend of The King) Peter Eckersley
Francis Derham James Cresswell
John Lassells (a butler) Leslie Baker
Katheryn Howard Kate Sherren
Katherine Tilney (Lady in Waiting) Gill Watson
Margery Morton (Lady in Waiting) Brenda Smith
Anne of Cleves Winifred Forder
Mary Lassells (her Lady in Waiting) Glenys Cresswell
Three Players in the Interlude Julian Grenville, Conrad Sherwin & Nick Cavell
A Masque  
Paris Deborah Bellamy
June Teresa Childs
Minerva Karin Burt
Venus Josephine Elwin

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

The Rose Without a Thorn

Guild Players Open Their New Season

The Guild Players open their new season tonight (Thursday) with Clifford Bax’s excellent historical costume drama, The Rose without a Thorn. It opens tonight at the Players’ Little Theatre, within St. George’s Hall, for three performances. The play looks at the dramatic love story of Henry VIII and the 20 year-old Lady Catherine Howard. The Merry Monarch is played by the talented Peter Ashton. Attractive Kate Sherrin plays Catherine. There is a first-rate cast, with Alex Thomson playing the Lord Chancellor, James Smith the Earl of Hertford, and Arthur Linsley cast as Archbishop Cramner. Peter Eckersley and James Cresswell are Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham, with Les Baker as Lassells, the King’s butler. Glenys Cresswell, Gill Watson and Brenda Smith are the Ladies-in-Waiting to the young Queen. A vicious trio whose testimonies lead to her downfall. Winifred Forder is the deposed Queen Anne of Cleves, and Julian Grenville, Conrad Sherwin and Nick Cavell are a trio of entertainers. The Rose without a Thorn will be directed by Gordon Crier, who was a pioneer BBC radio and television producer. In complete contrast, for their 2nd production, The Guild Players will present that sparkling William Douglas Home comedy Lloyd George Knew My Father, a hilarious piece about a family’s resistance to a motorway through their garden. Eleanor Bowthorpe and Tony Kilshawe have the leading parts.

Guild Players Excel in Historic Play

The Guild Players did well last week when they turned back the pages of history. They chose a good play, cast it exceedingly well and enhanced it with gorgeous costumes, excellent settings and good lighting. The Rose without a Thorn was a brilliant production which attracted near-capacity audiences who went away well satisfied. It was the kind of evening to lead to a revival of the local amateur theatre.
The Rose without a Thorn is written by Clifford Bax and takes a look at one of Henry VIII’s love affairs. The Rose without a Thorn was the glowing description Henry gave to the lovely Catherine Howard – who became his 5th wife as soon as he could divorce Anne of Cleves. The play tells of meeting, courtship, marriage and then pure tragedy. It is a story familiar to all those with a modicum of interest in history. The production was directed by Gordon Crier, who heightened the light and shade: the utter joy of courtship and then the abysmal ness of infidelity discovered. As Henry VIII, I have never seen Peter Ashton better. In the opening scene he is prematurely aged, soured by unhappy marriage. Then he is transformed into youthfulness again by his young bride, and in the final scene disintegrated when he learns she is unfaithful. Seldom does an actor have to cope with so much change of character in one role. Peter Ashton, for long a corner stone in Guild Players’ productions was so convincing! Kate Sherren played the luckless Catherine to perfection. Kate is an accomplished young actress with very good looks. She made a perfect Catherine and her scenes with Peter Ashton were excellent. Arthur Linsley, who has made a most welcome return to The Guild Players, was Thomas Cramner, The Archbishop of Canterbury, who had the ear of the King, but who was to eventually perish at the stake. Arthur Linsley conveyed Cramner’s zeal and frailty well, and was able to reveal the tinge of kind-heartedness he was known to have. Alex Thomson was masterful as Audley, the Lord Chancellor and Jim Smith demonstrative as Hertford. Both were able to assimilate the medieval age perfectly. Peter Eckersley was Thomas Culpeper, the young man whose indiscretions brought death to so many, and he was able to convey well the emotions of the man enthralled. There was an excellent and well-drawn characterization from the talented Winifred Forder, who portrayed the bewildered Anne of Cleves with a touch of sheer brilliance. Glenys Cresswell was convincing as the religious orientated Lady‑in‑Waiting who denounced the Queen. Brenda Smith was another Lady‑in‑Waiting caught up in the intrigue, and Gill Watson was the sympathetic third Lady-in-Waiting, dedicated to Catherine.; a  well-contrasted trio. The cast was made up with James Cresswell and Leslie Baker and there was a mirthful interlude with Julian Grenville, Conrad Sherwin and Nick Cavell as players within the play. Four attractive members from The Mavis Locke School of Dancing provided a masque: Deborah Bellamy, Teresa Childs, Karin Burt and Josephine Elwin. This was a really pleasing night and will, I hope, attract more enthusiasts to amateur theatre.

Tony Arnold

Production Team

Production Team

Director Gordon Crier
Decor Tony Kilshawe
Front of House Alan Cresswell
Stage Director Ann Newson
Stage Managers Christine Williams & Nick Cavell
Lighting, Music & Effects Colin Taverner & Arthur Laffar
Buffet Vera Eckersley