Night of January 16th

Venue : Woodrush High School

Date : February 1973

Genre : Thriller

Director

Frank Winter
Director

Cast

Roger Booth
Judge Heath

Irene Price
Clerk of the Court

Barbara Clulee
Prison matron

Andrew Castle
Policeman

Gerry Solomon
District Attorney Flint

Beryl Linforth
Secretary

Gerry Smith
Dr Kirkland

Sybil Parr
Mrs John Hutchins

Ted Pedvin
Homer Van Fleet

Mike Beamish
Elmer Sweeney

Val Evans
Nancy Lee Faulkner

Jean Winter
Magda Svenson

Jack Parramore
John Graham Whitfield

Brenda Castle
Jean Chandler

Pam Davey
Roberta Van Rensselaer

Val Archer

Val Archer
Defence Attorney Stevens

no profile image

Yvonne Linnell
Secretary

Estelle Shutkever
Karen Andre

Phil Lett
Sigurd Jungquist

David Plumb
Larry Regan

Crew

Ken Gibbons
Set Design

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George Cope
Lighting

Willa Hislop
Properties

Crew

Ken Gibbons
Set Design

George Cope
Lighting

Willa Hislop
Properties

Production Gallery

Production Reviews

Night of January 16th

A PIN would certainly have been heard drop ping at Saturday night's performance of "Night of January 16th", by Ayn Rand presented at Woodrush 5chool by Wythall Dramatic Society.

The audience was completely absorbed; by this unusual theatrical experience - and as far as this particular member of the audience was concerned it was the best production its very competent society as produced.

The auditorium was converted by the society's scenic workshop into a very convincing reconstruction of an American courtroom. The only part of the stage used provided an impressive Judge's bench and witness stand. Attorneys for the prosecution and defence, their clients and secretaries sat at tables to the left and right of the Judge, while those members of the audience who had agreed, to be jury members were seated in a special section reserved for them. They were segregated from the “public gallery" throughout the evening, retiring to the “jury room" during the two intervals and to bring in their verdict at the end of the trial.

The court "officials" Judge, Roger Booth, Clerk of the Court, Irene Price; Prison Matron, Barbara Clulee; Bailiff, Malcolm Parker and Policeman, Andrew Castle, were unobtrusively portrayed and few members of the audience must have felt they were watching a play, more as though they were taking part in s' real life and death trial.

The necessary American accents of all those who took part were underplayed and therefore did not detract from the realism.

Undoubtedly the three main participants must equal praise, for as Karen Andre, the woman of the world accused of murdering her business associate/lover, Shutkever was so convincing in her "evidence" that there was hardly a dry eye in the audience at the end of Act 2. As the dynamic District Attorney, Gerry Solomon excelled himself and Val Archer's attorney for the defence was very compelling.

The rest of the cast were, of course, witnesses for the defence or prosecution and were all very convincing, making it difficult to single out one and not another - each was an adeptly drawn sketch of a very definite character.

The "public gallery” certainly warmed to Jean Winter's pseudo – prim, nosey - parker Swedish housekeeper and Pam Davey's Brooklyn-accented gangster's widow. Sybil Parr gave her usual expertly humorous flavour to the busy-body janitor's wife, Mrs Hutchins.

From the evidence given, one had a genuine picture of the murdered men a ruthless business tycoon, and the luxurious corrupt world in which the main participants lived, sympathy swaying from one to another as the complicated plot unravelled.

The verdict of "guilty" on Saturday night was; a real shock to all the participants, for on the three previous nights the verdict had been one of "Not guilty", and Estelle Shutkever anguished unbelieving hysteria, and her attorney's tight-lipped pallor must have lingered chillingly with quite a few members of the audience, who gasped audibly at the jury's pronouncement.

Producer Frank Winter is certainly to be congratulated on his courage in attempting such an unusual production, which must have provided a very interesting talking point for a good many people who attended this excellent latest production of the society.

V.L.L., Local Newspaper 1973


Night of January 16th

Members of the audience will be asked to play jurors in a courtroom drama this week.

Wythall Dramatic Society are claiming this week's run of "The Night of the 16th January" as the first by a society in the area.

It goes on from Wednesday to Saturday at Woodrush High School, Hollywood.

Frank Winter said: "We are performing on the floor of the hall, which will be set out like a courtroom. Witnesses will enter from public seats and a jury will be chosen from the audience. At the end of the trial a woman accused of murder, they will return a verdict."

Unknown, Local Newspaper 1973