Medstead Players - 'The Late Mrs Early' - April 1982

Written by Norman Robbins, by arrangement with Samuel French Ltd.
Directed by Sandy Chitty

Comedy Success for Medstead Players

The Late Mrs. Early, a comedy with supernatural overtones, by Norman Robhins, was the spring production of the Medstead Players, and it played to full houses for two nights and a matinee.

The play opened quietly with the young lovers canoodling in the parlour and introduces Thor Laslett, making his first appearance at Medstead. In this opening scene, he spoke too quickly and too quietly, but later he settled down to give a very sound performance, and Geraldine Emson returned to the stage as his rather shy girl friend.

Ann Penn gave an outstanding and vitriolic performance as the interfering, nosey parker who plays the final trump card and brings about the happy ending.

The next door neighbour, Sam the victim of her acid tongue, was played very convincingly by Graham Pettit. This was the first major role taken by Graham, and he carried it off very well, particularly in the broad knockabout comedy with his cloth-capped work-mate Joe Gittins. This was Stan Whitcher, be-whiskered, and untidy, who staggers in with an aura of brown ale, and utterly disreputable, but a loyal friend.

Joan Allsop was splendid as the viperish wife, resentful and overbearing, but she seemed rather uncomfortable as the ethereal manifestation.

Max Chitty and Sara Cook, the parents of the prospective bride, and innocent inheritors of a family feud, rounded off an excellent cast, with Sara giving a particularly good study as the injured party.

Dialect plays are not recommended for amateur productions and the Medstead Players, on the whole, managed the Yorkshire dialect very effectively.

Another Success for Medstead Players

Medstead Players' production of the uproariously funny comedy 'The Late Mrs. Early' was yet another success with gales of laughter from an appreciative audience.

Author Norman Robbing dedicated his play to the residents of his home town of Castleford and it is rich in the dialogue of working class family life, particularly reflecting the domination of the male species.

Joan Allsop perfectly cap-tured the domineering attitude of Alice Early and Graham Pettitt as her feckless husband handled the role with panache. Ann Penn played the interfering neighbour, Mabel Sutton, with a penchant for borrowing and listening through the wall with the aid of a stethoscope.

As Joe GIttins, who uses his friendship with Sam Early as his meal ticket, Stan Whitcher was able to give full rein to his proven comic talents.

Thor Laslett, in his first play, and Geraldine Emson played the young lovers, whose liaison and determination to wed provide the theme of the play, with obvious enjoyment.

Sarah Cook and Max Chitty completed the cast as the parents whose objections to the wedding of their daughter are skilfully overthrown by scheming Mabel.

Sandy Chitty's sensitive direction enabled the Players to project the play well and Mike Clapharn, producer and chairman, paid tribute to the team spirit and hard work backstage and front of house. "Our objective is to improve the standard of acting, increase our repertoire and improve the presentation," he said. The Players will soon be saying goodbye to Christine Smith, whose flower arrangements add to the friendly atmosphere; she is moving away from the district. "We try to ensure that the audience is glad they left the comfort of their own homes to enjoy an evening of entertainment in a convivial atmosphere among friends," added Mr. Clapham.

Terry Early - Thor Laslet
Susan Rickworth - Geraldine Emson
Mabel Sutton - Ann Penn
Sam Early - Graham Pettitt
Alice Louise Early - Joan Allsop
Joe Gittings - Stan Whitcher
Reuben Rickworth - Max Chitty
Lucy Rickworth - Sara Cook

picture from 1982 production

Sara Cook, Ann Penn, Max Chitty, Stan Whitcher, Graham Pettitt

Previous Production - Following Production