Breath of Spring
Venue : Woodrush High School
Date : May 1980
Genre : Comedy
Lighting and Sound
Perfect Breath at Wythall
Superlatives have been used often in connection with Wythall Dramatic Society but at the risk of repetitive, one seeming record that its production staged at Woodrush High School last week was as near perfection as it could possibly have been.
Peter Coke's comedy “Breath of Spring" certainly lived up to its name, being a delightful romp which kept the audience laughing from start to finish.
The plot itself, woven around a series of fur robberies carried out by a group of zany aristocrats, provided admirable material and all concerned made the most of their opportunities.
It was very much a team effort but if a special accolade is to be awarded it must go to Val Archer who (looking and sounding like the lat Joyce Grenfell) played the part of Dame Beatrice Appleby, leader if the gang. Her great artistry lies in the fact of being so completely natural that she does not give the impression she is acting at all.
Estelle Shutkever, as always, gave a brilliant and vivacious performance as the most valuable member of the gang, Nannette Parry the sparkle of whose dialogue was only matched by the eccentricity of her costume.
Beryl Linforth was brilliant as the timid, bumbling Hattie, who only managed to sustain her venture into crime by the constant consumption of nerve pills.
Another player deserving of special mention was Angela Smith who has been with the society for a shorter time than some of her colleagues. Beginning with supporting parts in earlier productions, she has advanced rapidly in skill, and as the smoothly sophisticated Lady Alice Miller, she proved beyond all question how competently she can handle a major role.
Equally confident and refreshingly unconcerned was Wilia Hislop as the ex-gaol-bird bird maid to Dame Beatrice who strove valiantly to keep her mistress out of the hands of the law (played by John Cope and Gerry Smith) often with disastrous results and dominating the entire team of loveable baddies was Jack Parramore as the redoubtable Brigadier Payne who organised each operation with military precision.
The society may be short of male members but what a treasure it has in Mr Parramore with his perfect timing and his attribute of the true comedian - the ability to remain poker-faced under any circumstances.
The whole production was beautifully staged and clothed and the transformation of some of the female cast into elderly ladies was a masterpiece of make-up.
It has always been the custom of the society to change its producer for each play and this policy is a good one since it encourages fresh ideas and methods of approach. The director on this occasion was Gerry Solomon assisted by Chris Avery and on witnessing the uninhibited enjoyment of the audience, they must both have been well pleased with their efforts.
P.K.S., Local Newspaper 1980