Distinctive amateur drama
in Northampton since 1932
Registered Charity No. 294848
A Man For All Seasons
by Robert Bolt
Tue 3 - Sat 7 December 2013 at 7.30pm
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Sheep Street, Northampton Map >
CAST & CREW
The Common Man Barry Dougall
Sir Thomas More Martin Williams
Alice More Liz Clarke
Margaret More Emma Dyke
Thomas Cromwell Matthew Fell
The Duke of Norfolk Rob Kendall
Richard Rich John Goodman
William Roper Ste Applegate
The Spanish Ambassador David Chappell
Cardinal Wolsey Owen Warr
King Henry VIII Mark Bentley
Archbishop Cranmer Gabriel Abrahams
Woman Denise Swann
Spanish Attendant Gabriel Abrahams
Director Pat Bancroft
Stage Manager Denise Swann
Assistant Stage Manager Emily Riley
Continuity Doreen Wright
Set Construction & Painting Derek Banyard
Assisted by Andrew Banyard
Lighting Technician Jimmy Applegate
Sound Technician Robert Vaughan
Costumes Masque Costumes, The Works, Market Harborough Theatre
Additional Costumes Pam Mann
Lighting & Sound Rig The Works
Programme & Poster Design Tamsyn Payne
Pat Bancroft, director
This is a terrific play with a large cast and should have a powerful impact in the setting of the Church.
The very potted story, with apologies to Robert Bolt and history is:-
Henry Vlll is trying to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon, who could not bear him a son, and marry Anne Boleyn.
His Chancellor, Sir Thomas More, comes under pressure to endorse Henry’s wish. However, he is a Catholic, a man of conscience and of moral conviction, and is unable to do this.
All the other members of the court in positions of power eventually bow to the King’s wish either for greed, expediency or aggrandisement.
More loves his family and, realising his dangerous position, resigns the Chancellorship, drops out of public life and will not comment on the matter so that his loyalty to the King cannot be questioned.
Within the framework of this basic story, Bolt has interweaved More’s family; the interference of both Spain and the Pope and Cromwell’s hatred of More.
Betrayal, rebellion, intrigue and corruption are rife.
All of this brought to the audience through the Brechtian Common Man who asks our questions throughout the play.
Masque Theatre's production is directed by long-time member Pat Bancroft, whose shows for the group include Blue Remembered Hills (2000), Reader (2005) and Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (2010). She last appeared on stage with Masque Theatre in The Beggar's Opera (2013)
Kevin Pinks, Masque Theatre member
Sir Thomas More was a Sixteenth Century chancellor of England who refused to endorse Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. He was a man of principle, loved by the people but envied by his rivals, especially Thomas Cromwell. It is this story of duplicity and double crossing that is explored in this powerful play, directed with skill and no doubt a little patience by Pat Bancroft.
The title is a quote from Robert Whittington, a contemporary of More who described him as 'a man of angels, wit and singular learning... a man for all seasons' and it is these characteristics of More's complicated character that Martin Williams portrayed superbly. I particularly enjoyed his battle with Cromwell (a strong performance from Matthew Fell) and Liz Clarke gave a subtle and understated performance as More's wife Alice, especially in the very moving death scene.
The use of 'the common man' as narrator perhaps betrays the play's radio origins but it worked well and Barry Dougall's natural comic timing added to the part playing, as he did, More's servant, boatman, jailer and executioner.
Though it's difficult not to pick out one or two individuals for mention, this does not belie the quality of the other members of the team. The whole cast was a credit to Pat's vision and hard work and presented a very professional and watchable portrayal of the demise of the fated statesman.
Holy Sepulchre once again proved to be an ideal performance venue for this type of play adding, as it does, to the atmosphere and it is my opinion that Masque are fortunate to be able toi use it. Long may it continue.
Page last updated: 02/03/2014 Masque Theatre © 2014
The trial of Sir Thomas More. Photo by Liz Clarke