Distinctive amateur drama
in Northampton since 1932
Registered Charity No. 294848
by Edward Albee
10 - 15 December 1974
The Masque Theatre, Thenford Street, Northampton
CAST & CREW
The Wife Paulina Brandt
The Daughter Marilyn Tresias
The Mistress Lesley Haylock
The Doctor Owen Warr
The Son Howard Bentley
The Best Friend Walter Clarke
The Nurse Alison Dunmore
Newspaper Reporter and Photographers Susan Day, Ben Knight, Paul Warren Roberts
Director Jean McNamara
Stage Managers Greta and Joihn Hendy
Assistant Stage Managers Susan Day, Joan Butlin
Set designed and built by Jane and Michael Featherstone
Wardrobe Janet Hutchinson
Lighting Ian Lovatt
'BEST AMATEUR PERFORMANCE I'VE VIEWED FOR A LONG TIME'
Dick Murray, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, December 1974
Ending up with 'All Over' at Playhouse
The play's title is ironically apropos: All Over. After the final performance on Sunday evening it will be "all over" for the Masque's playhouse in Thenford Street, which the players have occupied for nearly a quarter of a century.
Next February will see them performing in a new venue, not very far away: the Arts Theatre Club in Pytchley Street.
Needless to say, the Masque didn't choose Edward Albee's drama for the aptness of its title: it is, as they say in the trade, "good theatre:. And let me say forthwith that this farewell production will long linger in the memory; excellently directed by Jean McNamara, it is the best amateur performance I have viewed in a long time.
Albee structures his play as a death vigil. A rich and famous man is losing his last battle, and his wife, his mistress, his son and daughter, and his best friend are "sitting it out".
There is no plot and little action, but there is a plenitude of brittle, sardonic dialogue in typical Albee fashion. His play is an intricate study of characters under stress. Their faded hopes and spent passions, their fears and hates burst to the surface as they wait for a man to die.
The wife and mistress brilliantly played by Paulina Brandt and Lesley Haylock, do not, strangely enough, hate each other; indeed there is a bond of affection between them. They have loved the same man!
The wife, as she ruefully admits, has been practising widowhood for years; she had lost jher husband's love to the mistress a long time ago. But she keeps recalling "the little girl I was when he came to me".
The mistress is not as the daughter spitefully charges, a gold digger. She loves the man for what he was, not what he had. And there is more warmth in her than we perceive in the strong willed wife who has even ceased to love her two children.
The hate and fury of the grown-up daughter is givcen full emotional range by Marilyn Tresias.
The weakling son who, his sister claims, "can't do anything," is effectively played by Howard Bentley.
Walter Clarke makes a proper fuddy-duddy of the dying man's best friend and attorney, who has a guilt feeling about the death of his wife.
Owen Warr gives a well-controlled performance as the aged family doctor who says he is too old to retire.
Alison Dunmore deftly provides what little humour Albee allows his play, in the role of the elderly nurse whose recipe for longevity is "fish, raw vegetables, fruit - and sex!"
Jan and Michael Featherstone designed and built the living room set which, combined with Ian Lovatt's lighting, gavce the drama its proper melancholic atmosphere.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Northampton, Councillor John Rawlings and Mrs Rawlings, were special guests at the opening performance on Tuesday evening.
Page last updated: 23/02/2015 Masque Theatre © 2015
A scene from All Over