Shop at Sly Corner
Venue : Woodrush High School
Date : November 1965
Genre : Drama
Stanley Girling gave an inspired performance...
Stanley Girling gave an inspired performance as Descius Heiss in the Wythall dramatic Society's latest production " The Shop at Sly Corner" by Edward Percy.
The story of the Jewish jeweller who is unknown to his daughter, a "fence" culminates in the old man's suicide. Rather than face the disgrace and humiliation in the eyes of his only child he takes his own life by stabbing himself with a curare dart.
The character of Descius Heiss was skilfully portrayed by Stanley Girling. His fanatical attachment to his daughter, for whom he has strived all his life, is understood but there is something distasteful about this temperamental, unstable jeweller. His dislike of his young assistant Archie, played by Gerry Solomon is well founded.
For Archie is a cunning, effeminate rogue who plots to blackmail his master by threatening to tell his daughter about his disreputable career. Gerry Solomon gave a convincing interpretation of Archie a performance which augurs well for his future with the company.
The rest of the cast maintained the high standard set by the principals particularly remembered as an excellent character study by Sybil Parr who provided the humour of the play.
Produced by Peggy Foster, the set constructed by members of the company was realistic, incorporating a false fireplace which swung aside to reveal a furnace and imposing suits of armour.
Unknown, Redditch Advertiser
"The shop at Sly Corner" a thriller by Edward Percy set in an English antique shop.
"The shop at Sly Corner" a thriller by Edward Percy set in an English antique shop, was performed by the Wythall Dramatic Society at Woodrush Secondary School, Wythall last weekend.
Several tense scenes gave the play plenty of punch, especially in the third act. The players took a short time to warm to their parts before the play got into a good pace.
Stanley Girling as Descius Heiss who is of "French Extraction" and his wife Dorothy as Descius's sister Mathilde played their lead roles convincingly and their accents (Coming from "Brummies") were effective.
Descius Heiss is blackmailed by Archie Fellows (Gerry Solomon) when Archie, while working as an assistant in the shop, discovers he is a fence dealing in gold and jewellery. He cannot inform the police because he has escaped from Devil's Island where he was serving a life sentence for a murder which he did not commit.
He receives the stolen goods in the guise of an antique dealer from Corder Morris (Ted Pedvin) and recasts them in a secret foundry behind his fireplace. But then Archie demands not money, but Heiss's daughter Margaret (Valerie Archer), Heiss throttles him and later commits suicide when he thinks the police have discovered him as the murderer. Ironically the police inspector (Jack Parramore) has only returned to the antique shop to buy a suit of armour.
Valerie Archer and Gerry Smith as Margaret's naval doctor fiancée were slow to get into stride, but both improved by the second act. Gerry Smith took part in a tense scene with Estelle Shutkever as Margaret's friend John Deal, where they find out for themselves that Descius is Archie's murderer.
Gerry Solomon was also a slow starter but a most convincing slimy crook when he got going.
Descius Heisss is a tragic figure. He comments sadly: "Once you have turned your back on the community, you cannot face it again" He has nowhere to turn and suicide to him is the only way out. He stabs himself with a poison dart (a souvenir from one of Robert's Asian Voyages) in the final and most dramatic scene.
Archie who evokes not an ounce of sympathy from the audience, reveals his philosophy with the comment " Big Fleas always have little fleas on their backs to bite them" Archie is the little flea on Descius's Back.
Sybil Parr as the hypochondriac charwoman Mrs Catt, competently injects humorous relief into the play. Her drunken scene brought applause from the audience.
Teenager Steven Smith (Gerry's Son) as an assistant in the shop was performing his first stage part.
The production was of a good standard and lighting props and effects were well incorporated. Two suits of armour flanking a door gave further authenticity to the play.
Unknown, Local Paper