Venue : Woodrush High School
Date : October 1980
Genre : One Act Play(s)
Lighting and Sound
Versatility in Bedtime Stories
In 1958 Wythall Dramatic Society began its long and distinguished career by presenting three one-act plays and last weel this pattern was repeated with a show entitled "Bedtime Stories" which was staged at Woodrush High School.
Directed by Sybil Parr, the programme included a thriller prefaced and followed by two of John Mortimer's comedies and although on felt that the players did not quite reache the heights attained in some of their longer productions, the certainly displayed much versatility and were, as always, word perfect.
The first comedy entitled "Mill Hill" seemed a little slow to get off the ground but the pace increased as the performers got into their stride and the antics of the lover who was turned on by dressing up as Sir Francis Drake for his illicit affairs produced some amusing situations even though they somehow just fell short of the hilarious.
Even so, the players Willa Hislop, Mike Finch and Jack Parramore worked well and made the most of a fairly slender plot.
The thriller "Sorry, wrong number" was difficult production to stage since much of the action was contained in phone calls overheard by a bed-ridden invalid and great credit must be given to the Society for the way in which the various callers were housed in semi-darkness before partly drawn curtain each sided of the stage, thus creating just the right atmosphere of mystery.
The main role - that of the incapacitated Mrs Stevenson - was played by Estelle Shutkever. To bring life to a character while remaining almost completely immobile is no easy task but Mrs Shutkever brought initial bewilderment, growing alarm and finally blind panic into her vocal expression, carrying the play through mounting tension to its terrifying conclusion.
This was an ambitious play particularly for an amateur company without the benefit of unlimited scenery and props but Wythall Dramatic Society, undoubtedly proved itself capable of coping very adequately.
The final offering, "Marble Arch" was the funnier of the evenings two comedies and gave ample scope for Val Archer who can handle humour as ably as she can drama.
Like the first play, this concerned an under-cover love affair but this time the other woman (played by Mrs Archer) thought that her man was dead in the bathroom, and laughs came thick and fast as she made desperate attempts to have his body removed by the janitor.
When it turned out that he was not dead at all, the audience had the chance of seeing Gerry Solomon's expertise as a comedy actor. What a range of facial expressions Mr Solomon can command and whatever type of role he takes, he is so completely natural and at ease that one feels he is really living the part.
Thanks to these two outstanding performers, competently supported by Angela Smith, Ken Gibbons, the play romped along to complete a programme of entertainment which was obviously enjoyed.
P.K.S., Local Newspaper 1980
Triple Success for Wythall Group
Three one-act plays are never easy, even for an experienced group like Wythall Dramatic Society.
With such a vast stage, it was difficult to create the intimate atmosphere needed for the first play, John Mortimer’s bedroom farce, “Mill Hill”.
But the evening soon livened up with "Sorry, Wrong Number," with Estelle Shutkever giving a convincing performance as a neurotic and bed-ridden woman, who falls prey to New York's telephone system.
Gerry Solomon provided laughs as the tough New York cop who rates apple pie higher than Kojak’s lollipops.
And there was more fun in the last bedtime story, where a peer gets stuck in his lady's loo!
Fiona Pitcher, Local Newspaper 1980