Where and When
7th – 9th November 1968 @ The Church House, Wimborne
After a crime-riddled past, Descius Heiss settles in London and to all appearances is a respectable gentleman. His chief aim is to provide happiness and security for his gifted daughter Margaret, who has been brought up in complete ignorance of her father’s past. Ostensibly, Heiss runs an antique shop – but he is actually involved in a black market of buying and selling stolen jewels. Archie Fellows, the ambitious and unscrupulous shop assistant, stumbles upon Descius’ secret, and sets about blackmailing him. Unable to cope with the pressure of Archie’s hold, and with the fear his daughter may discover the truth, Heiss murders his assistant. Driven by a guilty desperation and fear of exposure from investigations by Scotland Yard, Heiss believes there is only one option open to him, and will die to protect his daughter from the past.
- Descius Heiss – Donald Waterfield
- Archie Fellowes – Christopher Hughes
- Margaret Heiss – Janine Brockes
- Joan Deal – Christine Spink
- Mathilde Heiss – Daphne Young
- Mrs Catt – Elizabeth Anthony
- Robert Graham – Nicholas Carter
- Corder Morris – Arthur Brooks
- Steve Hubbard – Robert Tomlinson
- John Elliot – John Anthony
- Producer – Thelma Dryden and Muriel Brooks
- Stage Managers – Arthur Brooks, Clifford Cowling, Barry Nott and Ian Raeburn
- Property Mistresses – Pamela Donnison and Jenny Waring,
- Prompt- Pat Nott
- House Manager – Michael Waring
Mystery, murder and mirth
Although Edward Percy’s three act play The Shop at Sly Corner could kindly be termed wordy it provides a pleasant balance of murder, mystery and mirth to make it good entertainment when presented properly. The members of Wimborne Drama Club did their best to make the play a success when staging it at Church House, Wimborne for three evenings.
The scenery deserved the audiences’ sound applause; the costumes were excellent throughout; most people knew there lines well and the acting was – as usual with this group – competent. But I felt the show lost a great deal of its conviction in one important part. The leading man Donald Weatherfield, made an excellent effort at portraying Descius Heiss; but the whole of his performance was down-graded through failing to use an accent. Cmdr Waterfield was playing a man who apparently originated in France; served a term in a French penal camp for murder; and had then escaped to England to live as a dealer in antique “goodies” among the London Cockney. He was also a competent “fence” and friend of criminals. To present this character with a cultured best of British voice was inconceivable by any stretch of imagination. And this flaw was accentuated by the man’s sister – played by Daphne Young – who ably attempted an accent and whose part gained from the extra effort.
Otherwise the casting of this play was good and “twin” producers Thelma Dryden and Muriel Brooks had obviously worked hard towards a good final production.
The club has a growing talent among its younger members and in this group were Chris Hughes, Janine Brockes, Christine Spinks and Nicholas Carter. All had been seen before and each had gained from previous stage appearances. Chris made his mark as the horrible little Cockney blackmailer and Janine was at home cast as the cultured, violin playing daughter of Heiss.
The audience who enjoyed a laugh, liked Elizabeth Anthony, the char with strong what-am-I-sickening-for tendencies. Mrs Anthony revels in humorous parts and made a meal of this one – without overdoing it. Evergreen Arthur Brooks returned another sound piece of acting as the crook as did John Anthony as a policeman and Robert Tomlinson, the shop boy.
Among those working backstage were Clifford Cowling, Barry Nott, Ian Raeburn, Pamela Donnison, Jenny Waring, Pat Nott and Michael Waring.
Drama club earned full marks with thriller
Presenting ‘club evening’ performances of Edward Percy’s well-known thriller The Shop on Sly Corner last week, Wimborne Drama Club notched up one of the most successful productions in recent years.
As the antique dealing ‘fence’ Descius Heiss, Donald Waterfiled gave a sound and well sustained characterisation and received strong support from Daphne Young as his ‘sister’ Mathilde. Christopher Hughes was an aggressively villainous Archie Fellows; and Arthur Brooks measured up well to the part of the burglar Corder Morris.
The laughs in full measure went to Elizabeth Anthony, as the dreary domestic drudge Mrs Catt. Christine Spink gave an excellent straightforward performance as Joan Deal; and Nicholas Carter, John Anthony and Janine Brockes were wll cast as Robert Graham, Det Inspector John Elliot and Margaret Heiss respectively. Robert Tomlinson made a brief appearance as Steve Hubbard.
Thelma Dryden and Muriel Brooks were responsible for the well-planned production greatly enhanced by an attractive setting with the secret ‘furnace room’ cleverly concealed. Full marks go to the team of stage managers – Arthur Brooks, Clifford Cowling, Barry Nott and Ian Raeburn.
Drama Club Present Ever Popular Play
Wimborne Drama Club chose Edward Percy’s “The Shop at Sly Corner” for their latest production on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday last week.
Unfortunately, the audiences, particularly on the first night, were small. The fact that the weather made turning out in the evenings an unattractive prospect, and that there were only two small fires in the Church Room, did not help.
“Sly Corner” is a relatively simple play, with the action all taking place in one room. An elderly jeweller and antique dealer is blackmailed by a former employee, who finds out that the old man is a “fence”, taking stolen goods from London criminals.
Donald Waterfield played the old man, Descius Heiss. Not an easy part, since it required a considerable
amount of senile pondering and it was long.
On the first night, Mr. Waterfield had some diffculty with his lines, but Descius still emerged as a “real” character and Mr. Waterfield put some attractive touches into the portrayal.
The blackmailer Archie Fellowes – played by Christopher Hughes – was a typical villain’s part, bursting with melodramatic lines and a gun which was whipped on the slightest pretext. Mr. Hughes took the part confidently and knew his lines well – he even had the audience ,whispering nervously when he made his stealthy entrances onto the darkened stage.
The old man’s sister, Mathilde Heiss was played by Daphne Young, who put over just the right amount of sisterly affection and concern for the plight of her brother. Her accent was superb.
The remaining larger roles were the daughter (played by Janine Brockes) and her fiance (Nicholas Carter). Both dealt competently with their parts.
The housekeeper Mrs. Catt (Elizabeth Anthony) got the laughs with her small but excellent portrayal of a complaining, fond-of-the-bottle hypochondriac.
The smaller parts were taken by Christine Spink, Arthur Brooks, Robert Tomlinson and John Anthony.
The set and the props were excellent, and even ran to a most realistic hidden partition. The play produced by Thelma Dryden and Muriel Brooks. An enjoyable evening’s entertainment, but one left with the feeling that just a few more rehearsals would have been well worthwhile.