The Full Treatment
Venue : Woodrush High School
Date : January 1969
Genre : Comedy
Jennifer Wallcot Brown
"Full Treatment Was a real pick-me-up"
THE LAUGHTER TONIC of the year- that’s how Wythall Dramatic Society billed their last play. And indeed it was a marvellous pick-me-up for those who braved the wintry night for the first night on Thursday.
How right producer Ted Pedvin was to choose "The Full Treatment" a new comedy by Michael Brett for his talented players. In a comedy that ranged from sophistication to slapstick, the pace swung along at a professional rate.
Journalism, people try to tell you, is a glamorous if hazardous profession. Having seen this play, I wonder how we ever get a paper out at all.
George Maxwell, journalist on a country newspaper discovers the Darby and Joan couple of all time - nearly 100 and about to celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary. The papers readers stirred by the tale, start a fund to buy the old folks cottage, and send them on a 3 day London visit that they will never forget, staying in the luxury penthouse suite of a London hotel.
It's a trip the newspaper will never forget either, bringing them close to ruination and exposure by their rival newspaper. For Sarah and Henry Mellowes, are not quite what the newspaper made them out to be. They hate the sight of each other, haven't spoken to each other for 6 months, and when the newspaper staff persuade them for appearances sake to talk, all they do is argue and quarrel. All that's bad enough, but it turns out that the "happy ever after couple" being wined and dined by the marriage guidance council, are bigamously married.
But that's not all for reporter George Maxwell, newly married he is the ideal man for the job - reckons his editor, Frederick Elton. But Maxwell makes a fatal mistake-he takes his bride of a few hours to the Penthouse and then tells her she is sharing her honeymoon suite with the centenarians.
Not surprisingly, wife Brenda finding she has married a man and his job, and that his work comes first, beats a sulky retreat.
The star role must be Stanley Girling's portrayal of Henry Mellowes. Every moment he was on stage one couldn't help but laugh. Imagine Alf Garnett, nearing his century, cantankerous, stubborn, self-willed and still with an eye for a shapely figure-that's Henry Mellowes. A delightful old scoundrel who steals the limelight.
She may look thin and frail, but his "better half" Sarah has her wits about her. In fact, in her own way Mrs Mellowes (Christine Smith) is as wary and as cunning as her Henry. Her visit to her first and loved husband, causes pandemonium but she is quite unperturbed. Yet a new hair do and new clothes make her as excited as a young girl.
George Maxwell (Gerry Solomon) is the man with the heaviest load on his shoulders. Inclined to act before he thinks, the incidents in the penthouse suite, take him through the peril of almost losing his job, to a new maturity, when he realises the mistake of his new marriage.
Brenda Castle as Brenda Maxwell, was impressive as the new wife who finds her second marriage quickly turning sour. The sweetness and love at the beginning of the play turns to tantrums and bitchiness, as her true character is revealed.
The delightful Mrs Maxwell, with her husband trying to sort out the tangle of his work is not above spending her honeymoon with another man, the suave P.R.O
Pamela Davey made her first appearance with the society as the mini skirted saucy maid Susan and seemed completely at home on the stage.
Jackie Langstone as Stella Haley was everything the efficient secretary should be. Organised and a great calmer of ruffled feelings, Miss Haley is the perfect helper.
Press photographer Joan Banstead (Valerie Archer) was equally cool, calm and collected - except perhaps, for loving the newly married George. Self possessed too, and very sure of herself as she handles the "lady killer" P.R.O Philip Scott. A dynamic and vivacious personality came over well.
Mr Scott, Jack Parramore was a real wolf in P.R.O's clothing. As public relations man for the hotel, he is in his element with such celebrities staying under his roof. But beneath the Noel Coward exterior, there lies Philip Scott the "Con" man, cleverly exposed by Joan Bandstead's camera.
Editor Frederick Elton (Gerry Smith) had some peculiar ideas and one wondered just what his newspaper should look like, but Gerry Smith gave a commendable performance as a man caught up in a scheme that misfired. Nurse Elizabeth Welling (Sybil Parr) had a harassing time trying to keep her lively charges in hand and never quite recovered from seeing Henry without his trousers, or for being mistaken for Mrs Mellowes.
Completing the cast was Dorothy Girling as a harassed B.B.C interviewer, Jennifer Wallcott-Brown who abandons an attempt to record the Mellowes' state of domestic bliss when she finds herself involved in their arguments. But it's photographer Joan, who saves her paper from the rival’s exposure. Her husband just happened to be editor of the rival paper, and agrees to forget the whole thing when she offers him the divorce he has been waiting for.
The Wythall stage, used to at it's full width looked convincingly spacious for the penthouse suite, a set designed by Ken Gibbons, and effect heightened by elegant furniture - loaned I understand from the Community Association, and some Impressive paintings.
Full marks all round then to producer Ted Pedvin, stage manager Bob Aldridge and his back stage staff and especially to Jean Winter's costumes, which added an attractive and sophisticated splash of colour to the set.
Aged 80 years to play comedy
Wythall Dramatic Society's production of the comedy "The Full Treatment," was a special success for Christine Smith and the make-up department.
For Christine, who is in her twenties, had to age nearly 80 years in order to play one of a centenarian couple at the centre of a newspaper stunt. And she gave a first rate performance, with voice, expression and movement, perfect for the part.
The other half of the cantankerous couple was ably played by Stanley Girling.
Their series of adventures gather momentum in the penthouse suite of a London hotel.
The wide set was designed by Ken Gibbons, and the comedy was produced at Woodrush Secondary School, Hollywood, by a founder member of the society, Mr. Ted Pedvin.
N.J.B., Local Newspaper