Sep 1.jpg

















Martins Bank Society of the Arts – Drama Section in: Wishing Well by E Eynon Evans

Staged: 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!

Sep 1.jpg

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…


1946 02.jpgFOR 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 personality.

Eric 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.

Sep 1.jpg

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.