Dear Octopus

Venue : Woodrush High School

Date : May 1968

Genre : Comedy

Director

Cast

Christine Smith

Grace Penning (Fenny)

Andrew Castle

Bill Harvey

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Fiona Gardner

Kathleen Kenton (Scrap)

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Fiona Parr

Kathleen Kenton (Scrap)

Stanley Girling

Nicholas Randolph

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Sarah Gardner

Gertrude

Ivan Castle

Charles Randolph

Val Archer

Val Archer

Dora Randolph

Estelle Shutkever

Hilda Randolph

Sybil Parr

Margery Harvey

Ted Pedvin

Kenneth Harvey

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Carol Girling

Gwen Harvey (Flouncy)

Irene Price

Edna Randolph

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Michael Gibson

Hugh Randolph

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Ann Girling

Laurel Randolph

Brenda Castle

Belle Schlessinger

Jackie Langstone

Cynthia Randolph

Barbara Clulee

Nanny Patching

Crew

Bob Aldridge

Stage Manager

Gerry Smith

Assisted by

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Ray Archer

Properties

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Hilary Clulee

Properties

Jean Winter

Costumes

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George Cope

Lighting

Frank Winter

Sound and Music

Ken Gibbons

Set Designed by

Crew

Bob Aldridge

Stage Manager

Gerry Smith

Assisted by

Ray Archer

Properties

Hilary Clulee

Properties

Jean Winter

Costumes

George Cope

Lighting

Frank Winter

Sound and Music

Ken Gibbons

Set Designed by

Production Gallery

Reviews

Rib-Tickling Tentacles

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


Dear Octopus

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