Distinctive amateur drama
in Northampton since 1932

Registered Charity No. 294848


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The Beggar's Opera
by John Gay

Cast & Crew

Beggar Kenneth Gray
Player Maurice Dunmore
Cherry Seller Felicity Baldwin
Peacham William Solley
Mrs Peacham Hilda T Baldwin
Polly Peachum June Sellars
Filch Robin Howard
Macheath Bryan Hall
Crook-fingered Jack Maurice Dunmore
Harry Paddington Bernard Linsley
Jemmy Kenneth Gray
Nimming Ned Kenneth York
Ben Budge Geoffrey Roberts
Mat of the Mint Barry Hillman
Potboy Adrian Emmerton
Jenny Diver Jean McNamara
Sukey Tawdry Audrey Evans
Mrs Coaxer Judith Dawson
Trull Felicity Baldwin
Vixen Mary Wilson
Slammekin Joan Fisher
Doxy Greta Kinch
Lockit Peter Berrisford
Lucy Lockitt Pamela Pusey
Jailer Adrian Emmerson
Mrs Trapes Mary Wilson

Producer Frank Nightingale
Stage Director
Olive Blackett
Stage Managers Bruce Bailey, Joan Butlin, David Williams
Wardrobe Mistress Eve Kew
Stage Carpenter Robert Inglis
Lighting Maurice Robins, Peter King
Business Management Rosetta Baron, Kathleen Tarry
Polly, Lucy and other Ladies coached by Nella Nash LRAM

Production No. 85

More images from The Beggar's Opera


Published in a local newspaper, 27 June 1958


The toast today is Northampton Drama Club, whose annual Abington Park production this year, a special adaptation of John Gay's The Beggar’s Opera, opened last night.

I toast the club not because this open-air presentation is perfect - indeed, it has its faults - but particularly for its enterprise and its essential speed of movement.

Its strength lies in its verve, its main principals, and in the very ambition of its spirit. Its faults are mainly on the singing side, and this is not unexpected from a company that does not usually venture into the musical realms.

The opening is slow, and not until the leading players appear does the presentation shape into anything like a strong dramatic entity. But last night the players whose task it was to open had the handicap of not having played on the courtyard stage before, for rain washed out dress rehearsal.

Again the club has picked a play that blends entirely with the general setting. To compare this production with recent Shakespearean ventures in the park is unfair. Perhaps it lacks some of the polish, but makes up by over-all teamwork and some grand individual playing.

Not long ago I picked out Bryan Hall for his fine performances in the past season, and he bears out my praise as a lithe and vital Macheath. Indeed, he is perfectly cast; his voice is fully capable of delving all the vocal requirements and his acting ability and stage presence, carry off the humour and drama.

And he has June Sellars as an enchanting Polly Peacham. Coquetry and charm are in this fluent and talented performance.

Pamela Pusey as Lucy Lockit was completely right on the straight-actinrg side. but she did not cope entirely with the singing problems.

At odd moments William Solley’s interpretation of Peacham seemed a trifle static but he emerged with credit, and Robin Howard made Filch a very definite character. As Mrs Peaoham, Hilda Baldwin could have attacked a little more early on but the dragging pace was general and probably fully explained by the theory I have already put forward.


Of the small parts, no member of the cast fallls far short, but excellent cameos by Kenneth Gray, Barry Hillman, Maurice Dunmore, Mary Wilson, Jean McNamara, Audrey Evans and Joan Fisher stick in my mind.

Peter Berrisford had to struggle a trifle to make Lockit the gaoler a character that stood out, but in the main his efforts were rewarded.

The task of producer Frank Nightingale was great, but he can be well satisfied with the result.

Sterling work, too, from Jean Watts at the piano, and the dances, arranged by Josie Marsh, were effective.

Others in the cast were Felicity Baldwin, Bernard Linsley, Kenneth York, Geoffrey Roberts, Adrian Emmerton and Greta Kinch.

The costumes were designed and made by the club’s own wardrobe department.

The club has achieved greater successes than this one, but it can rarely have combined ambition with satisfaction so completely. The faults are there, but this, production takes its place among the notable park productions. It runs until July 5, and is presented in association with Northampton Borough Council. - J.M.

26 June - 5 July, 1958
The Courtyard, Abington Park, Northampton

Page last updated: 08/01/2012 Masque Theatre © 2012

A scene from The Beggar's Opera