Mexborough and Swinton Times January 6, 1928
Three One-Act Plays At Denaby
The newly-established Denaby Church Players, whose ambitions are noticed in this week’s “Green-Room Gossip,” produced their first show on Monday, in the Large Hall, Denaby Main, where they gave three one-act plays: “Waiting for the ‘bus (Jennings), “Evening Press Indispensable” (Pertwee), and “The Marriage will not take place” (Sutro).
It will be agreed that this choice of plays was, for a beginning, quite a good one, although the programme might have been re-arranged with advantage to the general effect thereof. I should have been disposed to cut out the Pertwee comedy and; introduce a little ,thriller in order to give more variety to the programme, which would then have arranged as follows: “The marriage will not take place,” “The man born to be hanged” (Hughes) or “A night at an Inn” (Dunsany), and “Waiting for the ‘Bus.”
The comedy would have put the audience on the best of terms with the performers immediately; the thriller would have given them something more solid and I deeper, and the farce, acted in a farcical manner, would have made a riotous finale. But this is not a criticism; it is merely a suggestion which might be adopted if another evening of one-act plays is given, and I hope there will be another such night, because Monday’s performance gave promise of many another enjoyable performance to come.
The evening opened with the farce, “Waiting for the ‘Bus,” in which those taking part were Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Matthews, Misses E. Engledow, E. Wilkinson, F. M. White, M. J. Harding, E. Robinson, K. Dutton, and Messrs. G.. Blenkiron, Harry Robinson, G. A. Robinson, and C. Wileman. ..
Mr Wileman, as the Solemn Lady, and Mrs. Matthews, as one of the Shoppers, were the only two to realise that the piece was a farce, and that it should therefore be played in an exaggerated manner. The other performers (with the exception of Miss E. Robinson, whose quiet characterisation of a harassed mother and wife was quite vivid, and Miss Dutton and Mr. Harry Robinson. who gave good performances as her children), played in too naturalistic a manner. “Waiting for the ‘Bus” is a Cockney character sketch, and needed emphasis in acting and speaking in order to get the more subtle humour over to .the audience. It was well spoken, and, in places, satisfactorily acted.
“Evening Dress Indispensable,” is a comedy in which each character is played off against the other by Mrs. Waybury, who is anxious to marry her high-brow daughter, Sheila, to dashing young Geoffrey Chandler. In Miss Harding the Players have a lady who should prove invaluable to them, for she appeared quite at home on the stage, spoke clearly and definitely, and with the intonations necessary to the character of Mrs. Waybury. She gave us a character which was neither too obvious nor too mystifying, and was good. Miss Wilkinson, as Sheila, appeared a little too peeved in the opening, and so made the transition at the end rather unnatural. Her defence of Geoffrey, and, when her mother seemed to be about to rob her of him, her rounding upon them both, wore well done, and one could follow quite clearly the character’s repressed anxieties. Mr. A. T. Allaby, who took the part of George Connaught, Mrs. Waybury’s lover, is another performer upon whom the Players will be able to rely for bigger things. He has a good voice and presence, though his gestures are at present somewhat too obvious. Mr. Roberts was not sufficiently sure of himself to put the necessary pep into the character of Geoffrey, but one felt that with a little lighter carriage and a slight lifting of the voice, which was rather throaty, he would have been more successful. His performance was a promising one. Miss Engledow played well a small—part as a maid.
“The Marriage will not take place,” is one of the innumerable comedies written around war-time “romances,” and it was the best performed play of the evening. Miss E. Robinson was the outstanding performer, her portrayal of “Charlie” Bell, a revue actress, being as lively, sparkling and unrestrained as one could have wished. Her acting was altogether frank and free. Mr. T. Holcroft, as, Simon Free, K.C.,M.P., gave an acceptable impersonation of a successful barrister, as did Mr. A. N. Robinson of Sir Henry Parker, Bart. Miss K. Dutton’s small part as a maid was well done.
The large audience greatly enjoyed the whole of the programme, and will no doubt be only too pleased to give the Players their support on future occasions. Although the intervals were pleasingly short, they were occupied by entr’ acte music played by a very efficient little orchestra led by Mr J Moorhouse, with Miss D Wathey, A.L.C.M.as P and. Mr T Holcroft was the producer.