East Lane Theatre, Vale Farm, Watford Road, Sudbury, Middlesex, HA0 3HG Registered Charity Number 1183134
THE PLAY’S THE THING
Part Two 1997 to 2003
Click on any of the show titles to go to the galleries.
OUR FIRST production of the 1997/1998 season was LETTICE AND LOVAGE, Peter Schaffer’s
comedy about a stately home and its rather eccentric guide. It was directed by Rosemary Hourihane.
After Christmas John Young directed A TOUCH OF DANGER, a Francis Durbridge thriller involving the CIA and the CID. This was followed by JEFFERY BERNARD IS UNWELL, Keith Waterhouse’s play based on the life and writings of the well-known inhabitant of the Coach and Horses pub in Soho. Making a return to the director’s chair after a long gap was David Hight.
The season ended with ROUGH JUSTICE by Terence Frisby, a courtroom drama about a murdered child, again directed by Rosemary.
Alan Ayckbourn’s ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR, with John Ayres making his directorial debut.
In January 1999 Rosemary devised and directed another popular evening of music hall and melodrama, IT GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE. Our next production was an amateur première; David Hight designed and directed STANLEY, Pam Gems’s play about the painter Stanley Spencer, and the season ended with OUTSIDE EDGE, the cricketing comedy by Richard Harris, directed by John Young.
The first play in our tenth anniversary season was NASTY NEIGHBOURS by Debbie Isitt, Andrea Miller joined our team of directors for the autumn production. This was followed byJohn Young’s production of ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, Joseph Kesselring’s classic comedy about two sweet old ladies with a penchant for mercy killing.
Another American play came next, MORNING’S AT SEVEN by Paul Osborn was a gentle family comedy about relationships; it was directed by David. The summer saw a double bill of short plays, Tom Stoppard’s THE REAL INSPECTOR HOUND a tale of two theatre critics, and BED AMONG THE LENTILS, one of Alan Bennett’s monologues from his sequence of TALKING HEADS, Both were directed by John Ayres.
The first production of the next season was Brian Friel’s family play DANCING AT LUGHNASA set in County Donegal in 1936. This marked an appropriate return to directing by Brian Hourihane. In January the Club staged Barry Serjent’s SCROOGE, a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL, with John Young directing a large cast and Stella Young at the piano. Then David directed TAKING SIDES, Ronald Harwood’s drama about Wilhelm Furtwangler’s alleged collaboration with the Nazi regime.
After that came a light comedy CAUGHT ON THE HOP by Derek Benfield directed by Andrea.
Another new director, Linda Mallett, was in charge for our next production, Terence Rattigan’s drama THE DEEP BLUE SEA, which the Club had first presented in 1958.
Ronald Harwood’s versatility as a playwright was well represented by QUARTET, the next production. This was a delightful comedy set in a musicians’ retirement home. Once again David directed. John Ayres returned to directing with Arthur Miller’s powerful drama THE CRUCIBLE set in Massachusetts in the Spring of 1692.
Bryan took over the director’s chair again for OTHERWISE ENGAGED, a modern play by Simon Gray about a man continually frustrated in his efforts to have a quiet afternoon.
It was during this summer that we fitted air conditioning in the theatre, which was much welcomed by all.
In September we staged THE GINGERBREAD LADY, which introduced another debut director, Graham Watson. This was a typical Neil Simon American comedy about the fragile relationship between an alcoholic actress and her daughter, and was followed by a typical English comedy THEFT, by Eric Chappell, about a rather whimsical burglar. It was directed by John Young.
In January 2003 there were three performances of THE YOUNG ONES which, with a cast of twelve and an age range of 7 to 24, allowed our more junior members to show off their talent in a miscellany of sketches and extracts. Directing was shared between Linda Hampson and Bryan. Then David directed SONGBOOK by Monty Norman and Julian More, a small scale, but marvellously witty musical play covering the life and times of a fictional song writer from the 1920s to the 1970s.
AMY’S VIEW, David Hare’s family drama about a West End Actress followed and was directed by Andrea,
Bryan then took on J.B.Priestley’s WHEN WE ARE MARRIED, the North Country comedy about three respectable married couples who discover that they probably weren't married or respectable!
The new season started in October 2003 with Linda Mallett’s production of STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Robert
Harling’s play set in a beauty parlour in Louisiana.