Where and When
9th – 11th April 1981 @ The Allendale Centre, Wimborne
Mrs Garth-Bander feels it her duty to invite George and Margaret to lunch, tea or dinner now and then. They are such dreadful bores that the rest of the family usually dodges these occasions. Mr Garth-Bander is a charming man, absent-minded but no fool; the elder son Claude is pompous and priggish, and the younger son Dudley is high spirited and humorous; Frankie, the daughter, is a most attractive girl. Dudley’s friend Roger comes to stay with the family, and he and Frankie fall in love and eventually become engaged. Claude is in love with Gladys, the maidservant, and makes very heavy weather of it, but Gladys succeeds in reconciling Mrs Garth-Bander to the match. George and Margaret who have failed to come to tea in Act I and to dinner in Act II, do actually arrive for lunch at the end of Act III, but the curtain falls before their entrance.
- Gladys – Wendy Bruin
- Malcolm Garth-Bander – Joe Brooks
- Alice Garth-Bander – Muriel Brooks
- Dudley – Spencer Madan-Mayers
- Frankie – Carolyn Woodward
- Claude – Simon Jackson
- Roger – Nigel Woodward
- Beer – Jan Stevenson
- Director – Raymonde Grenville
- Stage Management – Gordon Eidmans
- Set Design – Gordon Eidmans
- Sound – Roger Grenville
- Properties – Joyce Eidmans
- Prompt – Mavis Hazleden
Sparkling ‘golden oldie’ at Wimborne
When Gerald Savory’s domestic comedy, George and MArgaret, first appeared in the West End in the thirties it was greeted with the same kind of pleasurable reaction which as been a success of the Alan Ayckbourn plays. Though based on different socail conditions – a few middle-class families nowadays have a ‘living-in’ maid – the play belongs to the same genre.
The ‘jokey’ title – George and Margaret are talked about but never appear – and the introduction of the new maid at the end of the play were controversial features in those far off pre-Osborne days.
The performance by Wimborne Drama Club at the Allendale Community Centre on Thursday showed that this well constructed play retains its sparkle and wit. The delightful Garth-Bander family radiate a niceness and loveable dottiness which is revelaed clearly in the development of the characters.
Joe Brooks as the absent-minded but extremely pereptive father, Murile Brooks as his harrassed class-conscious wife, Simon Jackson as the pompus but disarmingly honest elder son, Spencer Madan-Mayers as the lively younger son and Carolyn Woodward as the ultra modern daughter, all played their parts with complete conviction and sincerity.
Wendy Bruin, as the maid who attarcts the elder son into marriage, played the big scene with the mother with consummate skill. Nigel Woodward’s sensitive performance as the lover was an excellent foil to Carolyn Woodward’s daughter: their love scenes were appealing and moving.
Jan Stevenson, as the frumpy new maid, earned a well deserved round of applause on her first appearance, this was the part which well established Irene Handl’s reputation; it could well do the same for Jan.
The production by Raymonde Grenville allowed the characters and situations to develop naturally. the first act lacked speed and attack, but by the second act the cast had settled down; the wit sparkled; the laughs came and from then on the interest never flagged.
The sets designed by Gordon Eidmans were most effective but the lighting was some-what under rehearsed. the attention to detail was admirable. I liked particularly the eperiod costumes – the plus-fours were a nice touch, as were the authentic properties and the nostalgic ‘ thirties’ music during the intervals.
The prduction was well served by the backstage team, gordo Eidmans, roger Grenville, Joyce Eidmans and Mavis Hazleden. Congratulations to Wimborne Drama Club for their excellent revival of this ‘golden oldie’.
Nothing subtle about this
Gerald Savory’s comedy George and Margaret is not burdened with a title of hidden subtleties. Nor is the plot. The play makes some passing references to George and Margaret, who would appear to be as insufferable as the well-to-do family who are expecting them to tea. That much was made reasonable clear in Wimborne Drama Club’s production, the final performance of which is tonight at the AAllendale Centre.
Unfortunately, or fortunately perhaps, George and Margaret fail to turn up for tea, thus leaving the Garth-Banders – mum, dad and three grown-up children – to make what entertainment they can as they get on each others nerves. Some assistance towards that end is supplied by Gladys the maid, and Roger, a visiting musician.
Credit must go to Muriel Brooks, in the role of mum, for keeping things going with a swing, though she had her work cut out in the early stages of the play. Joe Brooks gave an agreeable characterisation of the absent-minded father, teding to opt out of family life while Carolyn Woodward, as the daughter, wears the trousers metaphorically and literally, seldom putting a foot wrong.
Pipe-smoking Simon Jackson as the elder brother, livens things up considerably in the second acy with the announcement that he intends to marry the parlour maid, a development with comic consequences not least of which are the reactions of Wendy Bruin, as Glady the maid who sounded a trifle too grand for that humble station in life. Wendy, however, looked attractive enough to explain how Simon came to be swept off his feet.
Spencer Madan-Mayers, Nigel Woodward and Jan Stevenson completed the line-up. The play was capably produced by Raymonde Grenville and the set by Gordon Eidmans captured the atmosphere of the place and the period = Hampstead before the war.