Where and When
20th – 22nd October 1988 @ The Allendale Centre, Wimborne
The Jackson are a nice middle aged English couple. Their best friends are their Canadian neighbors, the Krogers. All is blissful in their world until a detective from Scotland Yard asks to use their house as an observation station to try and foil a Soviet spy ring operating in the area.
- Barbara Jackson – Barbara Trebilco
- Bob Jackson – Paul Hewitt
- Julie Jackson – Helen Wood
- Helen Kroger – Margaret Pope
- Peter Kroger – Hugh Brasnett
- Mr Stewart – Joe Brooks
- Thelma – Carolyn Woodward
- Sally – Mavis Hazleden
- Director – Enid Davies
- Stage Manager – Barbara Hurst
- ASM – Mark Collins, Spencer Hare and Peter Whiting
- Prompt – Jan Stevenson
- Properties – Sheila Morrell and Janet Whiting
- Set Construction – Spencer Hare
- Lighting – Chris Richards
- Sound – Mark Collins
- Costume – Mavis Hazleden
- Front of House – Daphne Young
- Poster Design – Thelma Dryden
- Publicity – Carolyn Woodward
Dorset spy scandal plot for play
It was back in 1961 that the scandal rocked the nation. It seemed unbelievable that an outwardly normal couple like Peter and Helen Kroger could be accused of spying for the Russians. Dorset had more than a passing interest in the case as the couple, with their associate Gordon Lonsdale, were being fed secret information by a man and his girlfriend working for the Admiralty at Portland.
Twenty-seven years on it’s not easy to remember the details of the event but thanks to Hugh Whitemore’s brilliant play, Pack of Lies, Wimborne Drama Club made it live again at the Allendale Centre last week.
Set against this true story of espionage, the plot is mainly concerned with the emotional upheaval of the Jackson family, close neighbours and affectionate friends of the Krogers in Cranleigh Drive, Ruislip.
Bob and Barbara Jackson find it impossible to grasp the fact that their outgoing and generous friends could be involved in anything as horrendous as international spying, but when their house is taken over for surveillance purposes the nightmares become stark reality. Barbara is torn between loyalty to her best friend and what she knows is her duty and if that were not enough, her daughter Julie adores her “Auntie Helen”.
The whole of the play takes place in the Jacksons’ house and each scene is preceeded by a short monologue which gives added information and generally sets the mood.
This appears to be a play favouring the ladies. the strongest characters by far are the two principle females. In comparison there is little in the male roles for the actors to get their teeth into. Bouquets for an outstanding performance must go to Barbar Trebilco as Barbara Jackson. This demanding role kept her on stage for the best part of two hours and she ran the gamut of every human emotion.
Helen Kroger, played by Margaret Pope, came over as an attractive lady with great personality. A little overwhelmong at times but basically warm and friendly. This is a wonderful part for an actress who can keep up the American (or was it Canadian) accent convincingly and Margaret did excellently.
Paul Hewitt as Bob Jackson made a typical suburban husband and was a perfect foil for his jittery wife.
Peter Kroger was admirably played by Hugh Brasnett whose distinctive looks would have perhaps made him a little too noticable for a spy. Thirteen year old Helen Wood as teenager Julie Jackson was a delight.
Perhaps the most difficult role of all was that of Stewart the investigating civil servant. It must be said that Joe Brooks had to deal with a great deal of repititive dialogue. Not an easy script to learn.
Making their important contributions to the play were Carolyn Woodward and Mavis Hazleden as the surveillance girls Thelma and Sally.
Pack of Lies was directed and produced by Enid davies and those behind the scenes were Barbara Hurst (stage manager), Mark Collins, Spencer Hare and Peter Whiting (Assistant Stage Managers), Jan Stevenson (propmpt).
Sheila Morrell amd Janet Whiting (props), Spencer Hare (set construction), Chris Richards (lighting), Mark Collins (sound), Mavis Hazleden (costume), Daphne Young (front of house), Thelma Dryden (poster design), Carolyn Woodward (publicity) and Geoff Phillips (publicity photographs)