Bank Society of the Arts – Drama Section in: The Mock Trial – an ad lib
24 March 1949 in the basement theatre at Head Office
Ad-lib is not a style of drama that we are used to seeing
amongst Martins Bank’s various acting groups, but by way of exception, in
March 1949, “The Mock Trial” - billed as a comedy - was very much an ad-lib
performance. This was in an attempt to increase the realism of a court case
where only those playing the court officials had been “briefed” about the
“case”, thus giving an “edge” to the performances of those involved.
The review printed in Martins Bank Magazine’s Summer 1949
edition is, however mixed to say the least – they like the idea, they admit
it was very funny, but in trying to be the balanced critic, the writer
makes much of people whose lines were not clearly or loudly spoken, and of
times when the whole thing seemed to drag on.
Having seen the reviews of more than one hundred performance of music
and drama by the Bank’s various societies, we are struck by how each of them
receives this kind of critique – what used to be referred to as “bouquees and
brick-bats”. We do wonder what some of the performers felt about the things
that were written about them, which whilst always constructive, were often
lacking in sensitivity!
“Grouse v. Winsome and Cheap” was unrehearsed, except that Counsel had
studied their briefs. It was extremely funny, particularly the early part,
and some first-rate talent was revealed. The life and soul of the
proceedings was Keith Scott as the Plaintiff—one of the “barrow boys.” From
beginning to end he never lost an opportunity of either an interruption or
a smart retort, interspersed with plenty of byplay. Derrick G. Hanson took
the role of Counsel for the Plaintiff and made an extremely good job of it.
He had obviously studied his brief carefully and his questions and the
general conduct of his case were workmanlike and to the point.
Barbara Griffith Keith Scott W Brookes
Colin Skelton Derrick Hanson Howell Jones
Thea Bower Betty Jackson Edward G Shaw
(Teddy) Shaw and John Pugh
Jones played the part of Counsel for the Defendants.From a histrionic point
of view his acting was of a very much higher standard than his material.
Many of his questions seemed to lack point but the manner in which they
were presented covered this up to a large extent. The defendants were
played by Betty Jackson and Edward G. Shaw. Betty could not be heard very
clearly, a fact which somewhat spoiled the effect of the cross-questioning
at this part of the trial. Neither counsel made use of the fact that there
was no case against the Assistant Editor, who should have been discharged.
The Editor and the Proprietor are the people responsible for what is
printed in a publication—not the Editor’s assistant. The verdict was given
for the defendants. The witnesses were Thea Bower as the Plaintiff’s
mother; Barbara Griffith as his ex-fiancee, R. W. Bywell as an ex-Staff Manager
and John Pugh as a police constable. Each added his or her quota to the
hilarity of the proceedings and helped to make things go. Colin Skelton
took the role of Clerk to the Court and George Oxton acted as Court Usher.
The part of the judge was played by Mr. S. G. Urmson. There was one point
about midway when the action dragged a little, and there is something to be
said for rehearsal beforehand, but apart from these comments it was highly
entertaining and well worth the experiment. It will bear repetition, using
a different case.