Wild Goose Chase
Venue : Woodrush High School
Date : February 1970
Genre : Farce
Assistant Stage Manager
Wanted Cinderella with big feet
A company director, Mr. Gerry Solomon, feels he may be on something of a wild goose chase.
For weeks he has been searching, without success, for a woman with great big feet.
All he wants is to borrow her shoes for a short while and he has only a few days left in which to find her.
For Mr. Solomon, aged 40, a father of two, takes a leading role in the play Wild Goose Chase that his local dramatic society is putting on next week, and for the part he has to dress up as a woman.
"But I take size nine shoes and the largest size in ladies' shoes I have been able to get is seven and they do hurt my feet so," said Mr. Solomon, of Colebourne Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, last night.
Mrs. Estelle Shutkever, producer of the Wythall Dramatic Society's play, said: "We have all been trying to help Mr. Solomon without success, because nobody we know has such big feet."
In Search of a Skull
If you've a skeleton in your cupboard (or more precisely a skull complete with a jawbone)-or a suit of armour in your stately pad - or if, like Clementine, you happen to be a lady who takes "shoes number nine," then Wythall Dramatic Society are definitely interested in you!
A wild goose chase is what members of the Society are on - to find these items of property urgently needed for their forthcoming production "Wild Goose Chase" by Derek Benfield to be presented at Woodrush school early in February. Says committee member Mr. Gerry Solomon, "We should be very pleased to hear from and "Indicator" readers who could help," and added gallantly that as far as the donor of the shoes was concerned "complete anonymity would be guaranteed."
We would like to thank the Redditch Indicator and its many readers who helped us in our search for size nine shoes. We had so many offers it was impossible to thank them all.
Thanks also to those who came on any of the three nights to see the play, "Wild Goose Chase."
We apologise to any of the audience on Saturday night who had difficulty seeing. This was the best-attended play ever, with an audience of 870 over the three nights.
There is obviously and interest for amateur drama in Wythall and so, maybe one day in the future, we will be able to seat everyone in our own theatre.
Estelle Shutkever, Redditch Indicator
Found - a woman with two big feet
Gerry Solomon's hunt for the perfect woman came to an end this week.
Perfection, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and he found the woman who had just what he wanted... two big feet.
Now, company director Gerry, aged 40, can gaily trip the light fantastic without a worry in the world.
Gerry is to appear as a woman in Wythall Dramatic Society's play, "Wild Goose Chase."
But Gerry has size nine feet and he couldn't find a pair of lady's shoes to fit him anywhere. He tried sevens, the biggest he could get, but it was no good. They just would not fit.
As the first night approached he became more and more desperate. Then out went the appeal: "Get me some shoes please."
And in came the response.
Offers came to help him from Bridgnorth, Worcester, Malvern, Stourbridge, Wolverhampton and Walsall as well as many local ones.
Eventually the answer to Gerry's problem came from, of all places, Wythall.
A pair of black leather shoes with chunky heels were on those much - discussed feet when the play opened last night.
"We have had two or three dozen offers of one shape or another. the ones I have got fit quite well and I should be able to get through the play now," Gerry said before the opening night at Woodrush County Secondary Modern School.
Breezy 'Wild Goose Chase'
Derek Benfield's present day farce, "Wild Goose Chase" was done full justice by Wythall Amateur Dramatic Society last week.
The one scene play ripped and roared along in somewhat pantomime fashion, and the large contingent of children in the audience enjoyed the clean humour and simple dialogue throughout.
Said the producer, Mrs. Estelle Shutkever: "We aimed this play at family audiences. It is very easy to understand, and it can be easily improvised upon. We have added out own touches quite a lot, and I feel this is the reason why it seems to be running along so smoothly."
It was a laugh-a-minute for grown-ups and children alike as swung from one half of the stage to the other in true Keystone Cops style.
The farce is set in one of the last few inhabited castles in England, belonging to Lord and Lady Elrood, and not surprisingly, the play relies to a large extent on mistaken identity for its amusing confusion.
A Mr. Chester Dreadnought, photographer, escapes two male pursuers by entering the castle and taking the name of a "maniac" friend the Elroods were expecting Roger Neton Strangeways.
He persuades the castle maid, Ada, into keeping his secret, but when the two men after Chester, Capone and Wedgewood, are invited into the castle by Lady Elrood under the pretence of piano-tuner, things begin to get out of hand.
Fortunately, Lady Elwood's daughter, Patricia discovers Chester's real identity, and that he is sincere when he stated that Wedgewood and Capone are out to kill him - enter P.C Pond, and a whole lot more confusion before the traditional happy ending.
Major roles were taken by Gerry Solomon, who played a superb Chester Dreadnought, Valerie Archer as the pretty Patricia, Sybil Parr at the innocent Lady Elrood, Jack Parramore as the shotgun-wielding war veteran Lord Elrrod, Mike Hawkes and Ted Pedvin as the two "tough guys," and Barrie Stokes as P.C. "I've never made an arrest in my career" Pond.
Ada, the newly instated maid, was excellently portrayed by Pauline Hollins, as was Miss Partridge, a keen historian staying att he castle "looking for Norman relics." Her part was taken successfully by Valarie Evans.
Jenny Stewart, a Scottish teenage resident who declares her love for P.C. Pond, was played by Jackie Langstone.
This was Estelle Shutkever's first attempt at producing, and her clever casting of each character made it a tremendous success.
Everyone on stage spoke clearly, and moved easily around the set, designed by Ken Gibbons, and the properties, organised by Brenda Castle and Barbara Cluelee.
The costumes were brought together by Jean Winter, lighting effects were created by George Cope, and Christine Smith took charge of the sound.
Gerry Smith assisted Jenny Deeks and Phillip Lett in stage management must take much of the credit for the flowing manner in which the production breezed along.
G.T., Local Newspaper
Wild Goose Chase for Women's Size Nine Shoes
Nine into seven just will not go, which is why company director Mr. Gerry Solomon is hunting for a woman with great big feet.
"All I want to borrow is a pair of her shoes for a few nights", explained Mr. Solomon this week.
He had landed one of the leading roles in Wythall Amateur Dramatic Society's latest production - "Wild Goose Chase" and for the part he has to dress up as a woman.
But for some weeks now Mr. Solomon with the help of the rest of the cast has been searching for a pair of ladies size nine shoes.
"I wear size nine shoes and up until now the largest ladies' shoes I have been offered are sevens and they do pinch my feet something awful," explained Mr. Solomon.
He went on "I have tried all over the place to get a pair without success. The trouble is that not only are women who wear size nines rare, but those that do just do not like admitting it - especially to a man," he commented.
"I have had some very strange looks form assistants in ladies' shoe shops and from women I have asked," he commented.
Now time is running out for father of two, Mr. Solomon, 40, who lives at Kings Heath, because the curtain goes up next week on the play which is being performed at Woodrush County Secondary School.
Said Mr. Solomon "I do hope some kind woman will offer to help me out and I promise to keep her name a secret so that nobody will know except me who she really is. If nobody does then I will just have to hobble around in the pair that are two sizes too small but it will not be very comfortable."
Commented Mrs. Estelle Shutkever, producer of the play "We have all been trying to help Mr. Solomon without success because nobody we know has such big feet."
Chase went at a trot
Wythall Dramatic Society need more consistency to turn genial trot into riotous gallop in "Wild Goose Chase".
The cast go through Estelle Shutkever's production at the Woodrush School confidently enough and, on occasions, show that they can handle farce the right way.
Some of the situations, however, and, at times some of the characterisations, are handled in too matter-of-fact away.
Gerry Solomon gets through as Chester Dreadnought, pursued unexpectedly into Lord Elrood's castle by a couple of crooks, generally very well.
Mike Hawkes and Ted Pedvin cut good characters drawn appearances as his lordship.
CRITIC RATING **