Where and When
5th – 7th November 1981 @ The Allendale Centre, Wimborne
Private Lives concerns fussy, cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine, who has remarried but finds himself haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, Elvira. Clever, insistent and well aware of Charles’ shortcomings, Elvira is called up by a visiting “happy medium,” the eccentric and flighty Madame Arcati. As everyone’s personalities clash, Charles’ current wife, Ruth, is accidentally killed. She “passes over” and joins Elvira, allowing the two “blithe spirits” to haunt the hapless Charles into perpetuity.
- Edith – Mavis Hazleden
- Ruth – Jan Stevenson
- Charles – John Pemble
- Dr Bradman – David Green
- Mrs Bradman – Angela Johnson
- Madame Arcati – Joyce Eidmans
- Elvira – Jane Sherwill
- Director – Raymonde Grenville
- Stage Manager – Joe Brooks
- Assistant – Gordon Eidmans
- Prompt – Muriel Brooks
- Sound – Nick Hollingsworth
- Lighting – Roger Grenville
- Properties – Carolyn Woodward and Spencer Madan-Mayers
- Front of House – Daphne Young
- Publicity – David Sherwill and Wendy Bruin
Prompter had to take lead role
After an absence of some years it was nice to receive an invitation to return and review a production by the Wimborne Drama Club and to find that little has changed in the intervening period. One change is that Lord Olivire, yes, the great actor himself, is now a patron of the club, being a friend of one of the present members.
The choice of production this year was Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, an easy going farce which is popular with amateur groups because of its amusing plot and witty dialogue. Wimborne tackled it pretty well, although there were rather too many prompts on the night I went, which spoiled the continuity.
As is often the case with amateur productions, there were crises and yet the cast cam through them very well indeed. Wendy Bruin, who should’ve played the part of Mrs Bradman, had to pull out at the last minute, and so it was up to Angela Johnson to fill the breach from her previous position as prompter. All things considered she did very well.
The part of Ruth was taken by Jan Stevenson in what was her first big role, and a recent recruit to acting she too gave a good account of herself. Because of various commitments the club were unable to cast both the male parts and therefore had to “borrow” John Pemble from Broadstone Players for the role of Charles. He appeared to have considerable theatrical experience, a lead to the other players which was thankfully followed.
David Green, a stalwart of the club, took the other male role as Dr. Bradman and gave one of his best performances. A new recruit to Wimborne Drama in the person of Joyce Eidmans, who was making her debut with the club, made a likeable impression.
Mavis Hazleden took the part of the maid Edith and provided all the humour that she was supposed to and, to her credit, probably a little more; a nice cameo role. Last but by no means least was Jane Sherwill as the blithe spirit herself, Elvira. She was very good indeed.
The director was Raymonde Grenville. Because the play was a success she obviously deserves the credit, although it must annoy people like herself that amateur dramatics do not have the following that they did. The stage manager was Joe Brooks, assisted by Gordon Eidmans. Murile Brooks did the prompting. Nick Hollingsworth was in charge of sound. Roger Grenville looked after the lighting, with properties in the hands of Carolyn Woodward and Spencer Madan-Mayers. Daphne Young was in charge of front-of-house and publicity was looked after by David Sherwill and Wendy Bruin.