School Players Make Most of Witty Play
With their latest play, ‘Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime’, the pupils of Chipping Campden Grammar School recaptured someof their old lustre, which has been lacking from their last two productions.
The play was a joy, being a witty, elegant version by Constance Cox of a short story by Oscar Wilde. A young nobleman, Lord Arthur, on the brink of marriage, is told by a palmist that he is destined to commit a murder. To avoid upsetting his married life he decides to get the murder over and done with before the ceremony, which is due to take place in a weeks time.
His hilarious attempts to kill off various relatives, whom he feels will not object to meeting their Maker prematurely, all prove unsuccessful. When he turns to explosives as a possible means of destruction, he endangers not only the victim but himself, the rest of the cast and possibly the audience as well.
Most of the cast, but especially the girls, acted with a remarkable sense of style. Vicki Whitehead was an enchanting Lady Windermere, who would deserve a place in an Edwardian scrapbook, and Elizabeth Taylor’s Lady Julia made a formidable matron, uttering her lines with a barbed relish that Dame Edith might have envied.
Anne Welch, as Lord Arthur’s fiance was all that a Wilde heroine should be, pretty, poised & quite unshockable, & Heather Welch gave a convincing picture of impish old age as Lady Clementine . The delightful Janet Whitehead did wonders with the small part of Nelly, the maid.
The boys acting did not achieve such a high stadard, though it included two superb performances. Edward Armitage as Baines, the butler who poisons the port as imperturbably as he decants it , gave a markably assured and polished performance; and Peter Goldby not only spoke with a convincing foreign accent but acted extremely well as Herr Winkelkopf, an incompetent anarchist. Donald Pearce apppeared as Lord Arthur; Terence Armong as the Dean of Paddington and Andrew Palmer as Mr. Podgers, the palmist.
The set was admirable and conveyed a nice period atmosphere with the minimum of fuss. It was made by the art classes, directed by Mr. Howells and constructed by the woodwork classes directed by Mr A Unsted.
The costumes too were a pleasure to see on a drab winter’s night and were a credit to Miss Bint, Pamela Richardson, Paula Warner and Maureen Whatcott who were in charge of wardrobe. Mr A. Fowles and D. Brown were in charge of lighting. Miss Rowe and Miss Secker of properties; Miss Hill of music,; Mr Moore and T.Turner of stage managemet and Brenda Wilkins of prompting and continuity. Mr. D. Meteyard was producer.