Society of the Arts – Drama Section in: Wishing Well by E Eynon Evans
11 and 12 December 1950 at Crane Theatre Liverpool
Whilst their colleagues in the music section are
in full rehearsals for “The Arcadians”, the drama section of Martins Bank
Society of the Arts is busy staging “Wishing Well”, a comedy by E Eynon
Evans. The acting skills of the players are tested to the limit by the
requirement for the play to be heard in the Welsh accent!
Eric Wylie, a stalwart of the
Society, gives his usual well-rounded and believable performance – it is not
unusual for customers of the Bank to be entertained by Eric, as he practices
his latest roles, acting OR singing, directly behind the counter! You can
read more about this in our feature SHOTGUNS, WHISKEY AND OLD BATS. Another long serving member of the society,
Colin Skelton, also acts his socks off.
Martins Bank Magazine is as ever, ready to scrutinise every aspect of
the performance, both front and rear of house, and brings us this critique in
its Spring 1951 edition…
their autumn production the Drama Section chose “Wishing Well”, a comedy by
E. Eynon Evans. Production took place at the Crane Theatre on December 11th
and 12th, 1950. The play, which is in the Welsh dialect, demands a high
standard of individual performance in the character parts, and it is to the
credit of the performers that they sustained the accent with comparatively
few lapses. Eric Wylie, as the landlord of the Wishing Well Inn, gave a
first-rate interpretation of this lovable character and his excitable
rushing round on inconsequential errands, his facial expressions and his
clear diction all combined in the presentation of a most attractive
Wylie, J. K. Cornall Ann Smellie, Brian Isaacson, Adeline Smith, Howell Jones,
Ken Johnson, Maud Melville, Thea Bower and Barbara Phillips.
Thea Bower, as the housekeeper
at the inn, tackled the biggest part she has so far played in the Society's
productions. Her Welsh accent was especially good; she was made up to look
the part particularly well, and she gave us a performance which would be
hard to beat. J. K. Cornall as the village postman gave what many of us
thought was the best performance of his career in the Society. He has
studied the art of make up and without the aid of a programme his disguise
would have been complete for most of the audience. His acting was good and of all the actors he it was
who sustained the accent without any noticeable lapses. Another excellent
little character study was that of the old villager, portrayed by Ken
Johnson. Make-up was completely disguising, accent was excellent and so was
the general portrayal of the part. It was his first appearance in our
shows. Colin Skelton as the war-crippled grandson of the old landlord, in
love with the old man's niece, played by Barbara Phillips, gave us a
delicate portrayal of a part which has some pitfalls for the inexperienced;
and Barbara, as the girl who refuses to let him be a martyr on account of
his disability was most sweet and appealing in her acting. The two of them
admirably offset each other.
Eric Wylie, Adeline Smith and J. K. Cornall.
Colin Skelton and Barbara Phillips.
Of the visitors to the inn, Maud Melville scored a hit as the
old lady of leisure who finds her happiness in returning to the kitchen. It
was her first appearance in our productions and we hope to see her again.
Howell Jones, as her chauffeur, did not have a large part, but he has a
perfect stage presence and each of his appearances captured his audience.
The two-character studies, first of the perfect chauffeur and then of the
drunken servant, were little gems, and each deserved full marks. The parts
of the remaining visitors were taken by Brian Isaacson, Ann Smellie and
Adeline Smith. The first two portrayed the bickering couple with startling
reality and it was quite a relief when they made it up. "
Smithy," as we call her, played the pathetic Ann Murray with such
depression that in her case, too, it was as if a cloud had been lifted for
the audience when she snapped out of it. Margaret Shaw, wife of Teddy Shaw,
produced the play, and in her first production for the Society deserved
every praise for her efforts. T. R.
Owens and Sheila Boote stage-managed. The production was well supported by
both General Management and staff, and was a most encouraging enterprise
for the Section from all points of view.