Venue : Woodrush High School
Date : June 1970
Genre : Romantic Comedy
Julia Ward McKinlock
Linus Larrabee, Jnr
Assistant Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
From once upon a time to happily ever after...
Beginning with a "Once upon a time" introduction by Valerie Evans, and ending with a "happily ever after" embrace, Wythall Dramatic Society's presentation of "Sabrina Fair" at Woodrush school last week was aptly described in the programme as a fairy story.
The action of Samuel Taylor's romantic comedy about homecoming, after five years in Paris, of Sabrina Fairchild, whose father is chauffeur to and American uppercrust society family, takes place entirely on the terrace of the Larrabee's luxurious home on the North shore of Long Island.
The slender plot concerns the effect of the now vivaciously grown-up and outspoken Sabrina, played delightfully by Pam Davey, on the two sons of the family, playboy Daved, played by Phillip Lett, whome she idolised from afar before she went to Paris, and Linus Junior, the cynical bachelor business tycoon, in charge of the family firm, played effectively by Frank Winter.
In try fairy story fashion, David falls in love with Sabrina to the embarrassment of his mother, Maude Larrabee, played by an elegant and witty charm by Valerie Archer, and the resignation of Mr. Larrabee, played by a very distinguished Gerry Solomon.
The parents magnanimously agree to the marriage only to find that the chauffeur, Fairchild, played with an efficient stoicism by Ted Pedvin, won't hear of it - and the girl herself hasn't even been asked.
When David does pop the question, Sabrina immediately turns him down, by which time Fairchild has returned to the scene to disclose that while for the past 30 years he has been the loyal family servant, he has also been playing the stockmarket and is in fact a millionare and Sabrina an heiress.
When everyone has recovered from the shock of this revelation and Linus Senior has commented wryly "What I can't forgive is that for 30 years he has sat on that front seat and never given me a tip!" Sabrina and Linus Junior decide they been in love with each other all the time, providing the happy every after ending to the story.
Pamela Davey, who was playing her first big role, was very good in the leading part of Sabrina, which meant she was on stage for most of the time. It was a pity though, that Phillip Lett, the 17-year old schoolboy member of the Society was, through his lack of experience, not convincing in the part of David, although he has obvious ability and confidence.
Other characters of note were Maude's lifelong friend, and languidly humorous Julia Ward McKinlock, whose worldy-wise manner was portrayed ideally by Estelle Shutkeve, Paul D'Argenson, the rich, amorous Frenchman who persues Sabrina from France, but finds a business deal with Linus junior more entrancing than the lovely Sabrina, was newcomer David Hill, whose French accent was just right, and his portrayal convincing.
Jennifer Willing was slinkingly glamorous and mad the most of the small part of Gretchen, ex-wife of David, while Irene Price played Margaret, the maid, with suitable unobtrusiveness. Brief appearances by Jackie Langstone, Barrie Stokes and Valerie Evans and Michael Beamish, as party guests, were all played well.
Ken Gibbon's ste had the right atmosphere and the cast obviously enjoyed putting on their best bibs and tuckers for this very well-dressed play. The sophisticated cullottes and trouser suits of Julia and the elegance of Maude were particularly attractive.
The smooth and unhurried production was by R. Keith Booth, who had returned to produce his first play with the company for eight years after producing light opera.
V.L., Local Newspaper
Fair Sabrina missed her cue
The fair Sabrina made her debut a week early - to the relief of at least one member of Wythall Dramatic Society's cast of the romantic comedy "Sabrina Fair," being produced at Woodrush School this week.
Dave Hill, a new member of the company, was immaculately made up for his first part, that of the amorous Frenchman, Paul D'Argentson, and eagerly awaiting his cue at last Friday's dress rehearsal when he received an urgent message to return home at once as his wife was about to have her expected baby.
There was no time to do more than rush home to his home in Wythall, and collect his wife, Helen, for the quick dash to Selly Oak Hospital, where an eight pound girl was born. Said Mr. Hill later: "I got some very funny looks when someone said I looked flushed, and I told them I wasn't - it was just my make-up."
Commented Dramatic Society chairman Mrs Estelle Shutkever: "Thank goodness she had the sense to do it this Friday and not next."
And the name Mr. and Mrs. Hill are thinking of giving the baby? Sabrina, of course.
A debute Mr. Hill will never forget...
Mr. David Hill, was made up for a play dress rehearsal and about to go on stage. But what followed next was entirely unscripted and unrehearsed.
For with minutes Mr. Hill was rushing his wife to a maternity hospital - still wearing most of his make-up. Mr. Hill, a 29-year-old quantity surveyor, said today: "It is my first venture into amateur drama, and I shall certainly remember it."
He was attending a dress rehearsal of Wythall Dramatic Society's production of "Sabrina Fair," which opens tomorrow night, when he had an urgent call from a neighbour that his wife thought the baby was on the way. Mr Hill, of Hollywood, near Birmingham, said: "I managed to take off some of the make-up, but not a lot. The neighbours certainly stared at me when I arrived."
Mrs. Helen Hill, who is 27, was taken to Selly Oak Hospital, where she gave birth to an 8lb. girl - their second child.
Mr Hill said: "The actual production in which I play a Frenchman, cannot be more exciting than this piece of real life. The problem is now to choose a name for the baby. Sabrina has been suggested - but I think we will settle for Rosanne."