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Martins Bank Society of the Arts – Drama Section in: Postal Orders by Roland Pertwee

Staged: 24 March 1949 in the basement theatre at Head Office

The basement theatre at Head Office has seen many a drama production, and it represents a place where those on the staff who would like to try their hand at something operatic or theatrical can do so without the harsh judgement of a paying audience. Postal Orders is written by Roland Pertwee, an author popular with small amateur acting groups, and it seems that the bank clerks who played the parts of post office workers revelled at the opportunity – their performance mirroring the perceived inefficiencies and obstructive behaviour of such staff.  This play gave the opportunity to Mr E G (Teddy) Shaw of Liverpool Smithdown Branch, to produce for the first time, and according to martins Bank Magazine’s review, he did really well. 1949 sees many members of the Bank’s Staff being taken out of the workplace for two years of compulsary military service – known as National Service – which continued until 1960. Mr T R Owens, is just back from his National Service in time to build the scenery for “Postal Orders” – later in his career he works for the Bank’s publicity department and is a good artist, having one of his watercolour pictures reproduced on the front cover of Martins Bank Magazine’s Spring 1969 edition…  

The Spring performance of the Drama Section took the form of a one-act play, followed by a mock trial, staged in the little basement theatre in Head Office on the evening of March 24th. “Postal Orders” by Roland Pertwee is a very well-known play, the setting being in a certain Post Office and the theme the inefficiency and obstructiveness of the officials therein. The part of the postmistress was taken by Kathleen Horsburgh and those of her two assistants by Barbara Griffith and Yvonne Simmonds. In the midst of our laughter at their apparently infinite capacity for time wasting we could not help saying to ourselves:—“ Well, thank goodness, they aren’t really as bad as all that.” They were certainly made up to look their parts and each of them did her best to hit off the obstructiveness of minor public officials rejoicing in a little brief authority.

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Yvonne Simmonds, Barbara Griffith, Kathleen Horsburgh, Barbara Phillips and Colin Skelton

They succeeded admirably. The part of the exasperated customer was taken by Barbara Phillips and her portrayal won all our sympathy for her in her predicament. The only male part was taken by Colin Skelton. The part does not give a lot of scope for the revelation of the love he is supposed to feel for the lady portrayed by Barbara, but he managed to give a convincing performance and everything ended happily. The play was produced by E. G. Shaw (Smithdown branch), who is to be congratulated on his first production for the Society. The Stage Manager was Sheila Boote, and T. R. Owens, back again after doing his military service, was responsible for the scenery, assisted by members of the Drama Section.



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