J. B. Priestley
Where and When
23rd – 25th April 1953
Priestley’s 1938 British farce begins when a group of old friends, all married on the same day in the same chapel, gathers at the Helliwells’ home to celebrate their silver anniversary. When they discover that they are not legally married, each couple initially reacts with proper Victorian horror “what will the neighbours think?” But soon all three couples find themselves re-evaluating their marriages.
- Ruby Birtle – Pam Mottram
- Gerald Forbes – Norman Rowe
- Mrs Northrop – Muriel Clark
- Nancy Holmes – Eirwen Rowe
- Fred Dyson – Hugh Trenchard
- Henry Ormonroyd – Edward Phelps
- Alderman Joseph Helliwell – Paddy Brooman
- Maria Helliwell – Daphne Young
- Councillor Albert Parker – Michael Warwick
- Annie Parker – Elaine King
- Herbert Soppitt – Ronald Small
- Clara Soppitt – Megan Leleu
- Lottie Grady – Vida Jeffrey
- Rev. Clement Mercer – Donald Waterfield
- Producer – Leonard H. Mottram
- Assistant Producer – Lillian Hopper
- Stage Managers – J. Williams, D. Ellis and Hilary Boreham
- Prompt – Betty Viader
- Lighting – Reginald L. Wilkinson
- Interval Music Recordings – Charle O. Chaleel
- General and Business Manager – G. R. C. Hawkins
“When we Are Married” was Happy Choice
Getting together to celebrate their, silver wedding three middle-class Yorkshire families discover that the parson who married them failed to observe certain technicalities. Respectability is shattered as those about to celebrate realise that for the past 25 years they have not been husband and wife after all. From such a situation springs J. B. Priestley’s farcical comedy, When We Are Married.
This vas a happy choice for Wimborne Drama Club’s latest production and by exploiting the situation to the full the talented cast provided a riot of fun in Wimborne W.I. Hall on three nights last week.
Such “regulars” as Paddy Brooman and Ronald Small, who are always the mainstay of the Club’s productions were joined this time by several new members and it was obvious the players derived as much fun from the show as the audience. Yet they never failed to convince, and of particular merit was the manner in which they maintained throughout the Yorkshire dialect which formed so essential a part of the play.
Paddy Brooman and Daphne Young portrayed Alderman Joseph Helliwell and Maria Helliwell, Michael Warwick and Elaine King took the parts of Councillor Albert Parker and Annie Parker; and Ronald Small and Megan Leleu
were Herbert and Clara Soppitt. Muriel Clark gave a gem of a performance as Mrs. Northrop and Donald Waterfield as the Rev. Clement Mercer. Edward Phelps provided some of the richest comedy as Henry Ormonroyd and his performance as the drunken Press photographer verged on the professional.
Other players were Norman Rowe (as Gerald Forbes), Eirwen Rowe (Nancy Holmes), Hugh Trenchard (Fred Dyson) and Vida Jeffrey (Lottie Grady). Production was by Leonard H. Mottram, with the assistance of Lilian Hopper and stage managers were J. Williams, D. Ellis and Hilary Boreham. Betty Viader was prompter, Reginald L. Wilkinson was responsible for stage lighting and interval music was by Charles O Chaleel. General and business manager was G. R, C. Hawkins.
Wimborne Drama Club gets the laughs
A comedy as riotously funny as J. B. Priestley’s When We Are Married is always a safe bet for amateurs.
And the performances staged at the Women’s Institute Hall last week by Wimborne Drama Club were obviously to liking of the audiences.
Frankly, the production fell noticeably short of the high standard this company has achieved in recent
shows. Even allowing for unfamiliar conventions and an unfamiliar idiom, characterisations were by no means
strong. And at Thursday’s performance at least, appreciable slabs were cut from the dialogue (whether by
accident or design I know not) and several of the players were frequently inaudible. Act “curtains” were
Despite drawbacks, however the team provided very enjoyable entertainment and drew laughs a plenty.
Paddy Brooman and Daphne Young as Joe and Maria Helliwell gave outstanding performances and took most
of the weight of the play on to their shoulders. Michael Warwick and Elaine King played well as Albert and Annie Parker though the former needed more pomposity and truculence; and Ronald Small and Megan Leleu teamed nicely as Herbert and Clara Soppitt, the latter giving a fine, spirited interpretation of the part.
Pam Mottram’s Ruby Birtle was praiseworthy; Edward Phelps’ Henry Ormonroyd was good, but somewhat subdued – a comment which applies equally to Muriel Clark’s Mrs Northrop. Vida Jeffrey plaled Lottie Grady with sincerity ; Donald Waterfield was sound as Rev. Clement Mercer; Norman Rowe and Eirwen Rowe were a capable Gerald Forbes and Nancy Holmes; and Hugh Trenchard supported well as Fred Dyson.
Production was by the club’s chairman Leonard H. Gottram, assisted by Lillian Hopper.
J. Williams, D. Ellis and Hilary Boreham shared the duties of stage management; Betty Viader prompted; and Reginald L. Wilkinson was responsible for lighting. Charles O. Chaleel provided interval music and Mr. G. R. C. Hawkins was business manager.
Drama Club’s success in Yorkshire comedy
LAST CHANCE TO SEE EXCELLENT PRODUCTION TONIGHT
J. B. Priestley’s farcical Yorkshire comedy “When We are Married” was presented as Wimborne Drama Club’s second
play of the season on Thursday and last evening, and will be repeated tonight in the Women’s Institute Hall.
Once again the expert leadership of Mr. Leonard Mottram as producer is very much in evidence and the unusually large cast excels itself despite the fact that as well as learning parts, the majority of players had also to
adopt the North Country dialect.
Pam Mottram admirably sustained her accent during the whole of the play, and never once forgot that she was representing the inoffensive maidservant, Ruby Birtle.
Another ‘hardy annual’, Paddy Brooman, as Alderman Joseph Helliwell, gave a fine performance and Michael Warwick in an impeccable display, was another who made a perfectly convincing Yorkshireman, Cllr Albert Parker.
In a smaller part, Ron Small epitomised the ‘genus: henpecked husband’ in both looks and action; he had only to come on the stage to raise a laugh. As his wife, Megan Leleu revelled in her part, and obviously enjoyed her chance to slap her unfortunate spouse’s face.
Daphne Young and Elaine King, the wives of Alderman Helliwell and Albert Parker gave good displays but the feminine part which stole the show was Muriel Clark’s representation of the domestic, Mrs. Northrop.
The part might have been made for her; and if for no other reason, the play is worth a visit tonight just to hear Mrs. Northrop’s conversation with the three couples when they realise that, she knows their secret.
Charming Eirwen Rowe plays the part of Nancy Holmes with perfect confidence, and Vida Jeffrey is convincing as Lottie Grady. Donald Waterfield makes a seraphic Rev. Cement Mercer, while Norman Rowe as Gerald Forbes and Hugh Trenchard as the “man from the Yorkshire Argus”, both play well in shorter parts and use the stage to its full
Star of the show
Lastly I would name Edward Phelps in the part of the photographer Henry Ormonroyd, as star of the show. He gives as fine a representation of an inebriated, lovable rascal, as one can expect on the amateur stage.
Others whose help was invaluable for this play’s success are: Lillian Hopper (assisting the producer), J. Williams, D. Ellis and H. Boreham (stage managers), Betty Viader (prompt), R. L. Wilkinson (lightig), nC. O. Chaleel (music) and G. R. C. Hawkins (general and business manager)