Production 96 The Chalk Garden

The Chalk GardenBy Enid Bagnold

 

Performed on Thu 16th to Sat 18th March 1978 at The Little Theatre

 

The Cast

The Cast

Miss. Mandrigal (the first applicant) Janet Roberts
Maitland (the manservant) Norman Smith
A Little Lady (the 2nd applicant) Zena Almond
3rd Lady (the 3rd applicant) Bessie Rich
Laurel Lesley Chiverton
Mrs. St. Maugham (her grandmother) Eleanor Boethorpe
Nurse Gill Watson
Olivia (Laurel’s mother) Ann Halliwell
The Judge Arthur Linslay

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Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

The Chalk Garden

Guild Players Offering Next Week

The Guild Players open on Thursday, March 16th, with The Chalk Garden, a hit play of two decades ago from the pen of master-dramatist Enid Bagnold. In the original production of 1956, the cast included Dame Edith Evans, Felix Aylmer and Peggy Ashcroft. In this production – which is directed by Gordon Crier – these parts are played by Eleanor Bowthorpe, Arthur Lindsley and Janet Roberts. Eleanor Bowthorpe has been in numerous Guild Players successes and is a well-experienced character-actress. In this role, as a dominant grandmother, she is most expressive. Arthur Lindsley appears in both The Guild Players and St. Leonard’s Players, , and never fails to turn in a good performance. In this play, he is cast as a judge – upon whom, in the final act, the whole story centres. A bright newcomer to The Guild Players is attractive Janet Roberts, and she has the central part of the enigmatic Miss. Madrigal. Another newcomer is young Lesley Chiverton, who is cast as the teenager Laural, a girl with many conflicts. Norman smith, a long-serving member of the Guild’s entourage, is the butler who dotes upon murder trials. Gordon Crier, who has been closely connected with The Guild Players since coming to Deal, is a veteran producer for BBC Radio and Television and was responsible for the Arthur Askey success Band Waggon. The set for the play is the work of Helga Wood, a professional theatre designer.

Women Dominate Play

The Chalk Garden, the play by Enid Bagnold, is essentially for women. They dominate the action throughout – although the key character, in the end, is a man. It all starts pleasantly enough in a charminn Sussex house; there follows considerable drama, and then what appears to be a happy ending……although one never knows. Two well-tried members of the Players gave first-rate performances. Eleanor Bowthorpe was well cast as a dowager with family problems, and Arthur Linsley suited exactly the part of the important judge. Eleanor Bowthorpe was just right as this autocratic lady while Arthur Lindley turned in an immaculate performance as a great legal figure suddenly brought out of his depth. Another long-serving member of the Players is Norman Smith and his performance as the long‑suffering manservant with a predilection for murder trials was one of the best ever. The central figure of the play is the mysterious Miss. Madrigal, who comes to dominate the household – and then is unmasked as a murderess. This difficult part went to newcomer Janet Roberts, a beautiful girl with unusually expressive hands. But she did not get the feeling of Miss. Madrigal until the 3rd Act, when all of a sudden; she lighted up in the climactic moments of the play. Miss Madrigal is not an easy part and does lack definition at first. I look forward to seeing Janet Roberts in a new Guild Players production. The play also marked the debut of Lesley Chiverton, a 15-year-old grammar school girl, who was cast as the teenager – very much a problem child. Again, a most difficult part, and I thought Lesley got the feeling of it very well. With more experience and guidance in her vocal delivery, she will be a very pleasing amateur theatre personality. Ann Halliwell, of St. Nicholas Players, was, as could be expected, entirely satisfying, and the cast was completed with Zena Almond, Bessie Rich and Gill Watson giving gifted little offerings. Direction was by Gordon Crier and he was deftly found the light and shade of this well-constructed play.

Production Team

Production Team

Director Gordon Crier
House Manager Alan Cresswell
Stage Director Philip Bowthorpe
Stage Managers Doris Cohen, Glenys Cresswell & Molly Fitzgerald
Lighting & Music Nick Tigwell & Peter Eckersley
Décor Helga Wood
Bar Peter Woods
Buffet Vera Eckersley
Box Office Tony Kilshawe & Peggy Crier