Venue : Woodrush High School
Date : May 1968
Genre : Comedy
Grace Penning (Fenny)
Kathleen Kenton (Scrap)
Kathleen Kenton (Scrap)
Gwen Harvey (Flouncy)
Sound and Music
Set Designed by
After a slow start, Wythall Dramatic Society soon ensures that 'Dear Octopus' embraces you in its rib-tickling tentacles.
The company manages well to create theat peculiar warmth and emotional stress that family relationships always tend to generate.
Dorothy Girling handles her 17-member cast positively on the whole, though not eliminating all the slow spots.
Honours go to Estelle Shutkever as the slightly scatty Hilda and Sybil Parras over-weight Margery, while Ivan Castle and Valerie Archer make and endearing elderly couple.
There is much to like, too, about Andrew Castle's cheeky young Bill.
G.B., Local Newspaper
Even though families grow up and brothers and daughters leave home to battle their own way through life, the family ties still remain strong. This is the theme of Dodie Smith's "Dear Octopus."
When the Randolph household and it's offspring gather again at their North country house to celebrate Mum and Dad's Golden wedding.
Once again the enthusiasm with which Wythall Dramatic Society abounds was much in evidence during last weeks presentation of the play. It is a hallmark of this company which is celebrating it's tenth anniversary, that it always tries it's best.
Although the keenness of the 17 strong cast produced a good number of laughs, the standard of this presentation was not up to expectations. Some characters started with the high standard of acting one has come to expect from this society, but then they seemed to falter, and the promised beginning slithered to an unexpected stop.
Producer Dorothy Girling was not helped by the set which gave something of the effect of being inside a box-the Woodrush County Secondary school stage has certainly bigger scope than that. And the lighting at the sides of the stage has not been all that much improved.
Perhaps the Kudos for the evening should go to Stanley Girling ( Producer's Husband) as the brusque Nicholas Randolph, the only bachelor left in the family.
Mr Girling is not the type of amateur actor who gains so much concentration and loses the credentials. This was never better clarified than in the final act when he toasts the "Dear Octopus" at a family dinner. Long speeches require a tremendous amount of concentration, but certainly Mr Girling threw away a stage voice and substituted a natural one.
If only the others had followed his example. Even that adaptable actress Estelle Shutkever was strangely subdued, although there were short bursts of the standard old performance regulars have come to expect from her.
Ivan Castle and Valerie Archer as the golden wedding couple Charles and Dora were adequate enough, but Charles's make- up tended to belie his supposed years.
Christine Smith as Grace Fenning, companion too Dora and Charles started well, but as she became more emotionally involved with Nicholas her performance became involved and she slipped almost into obscurity.
Brenda Castle as Belle Schlessinger showed the old amateur failing of dropping her voice which spoiled an otherwise useful performance and Sybil Parr and Ted Pedvin and Margery and Kenneth Harvey helped keep the show going.
The Children Bill, Gwen (Flouncy) and Kathleen (scrap) were well played by Andrew Castle, Carol Girling and on Friday Rebecca Parr.
Other parts were taken by Irene price and Micheal Gibson as Edna and Hugh Randolph, Ann Girling as Laurel Randolph. Jackie Langstone as Cynthia Randolph. Sarah Gardner as Gertrude the parlour maid, and Barbara Clulee as Nanny Patching the nurse.
S.T., Redditch Advertiser