Photos Reviews

Ten Times Table

March 1983

by Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Diana Lucas


Ray - Philip Jones

Don - Cass Thorne

Helen - Margaret Butt

Sophie - Gillian Yates

Eric - Jim Orford

Audrey - Marie Berry

Lawrence - Dick Dann

Tim - Gordon Halliday

Max - Brian Bowker

Phillippa - Rosie Coveney

Production Team:

Stage Manager - Brian Bowker

Production Secretary - Alison Lambourne

Director - Diana Lucas

Stage Crew - Mike Trout, Roy Wheeler & Barry Matthews

Lighting - Barry Matthews

Sound - Ben Grimsey

Costumes - Olive Rumford

Props - Sybil Hopson & Louise Wigfield

Prompt - Mary Jones

Music - Margaret Grimsey

Make-up - Diana Lucas

Publicity - Lynn Trout

Front of House - Anne Atkinson

Poster Design - Victoria Gill


From Estuary News:

...a most enjoyable and lively evening's entertain-ment...

With the approach, at this time of the year, of the Topsham Town Fair, Alan Ayckbourn's amusing send-up of a small-town committee planning the First Pendon Folk Festival, was an appropriate choice for the Estuary Players recent production at the Matthew's Hall.

The starting point of the Festival, as envisaged by Ray is a pageant depicting an incident from local history: 'the Massacre of the Pendon Twelve.'

Ray as Chairman (played with restraint and moderation by Philip Jones) is caught between two extremes: it quickly becomes obvious that History, in the form of the Establishment versus the Workers is to be reflected in the rival factions here. Ray's tempestuous right wing wife, Helen opposed to a radical left wing teacher, Eric, a latterday Loveless, eager to use the Pageant as his platform, and flanked by two adoring women - Philippa, shadowy and unobtrusive, and Sophie, the sister of Tim, a local dog breeder, who becomes Eric's devoted slave.

Right wing support is weak. Don a stodgy, pedestrian member of the Leisure and Amenities Council; Don's aged and deaf mother, Audrey, former music teacher, now committee secretary with some research to do on the 'Twelve'. Lawrence, and his absentee wife make up the team, but his world has collapsed with his marriage; glass in hand, he uses the meetings to escape his problems. Thus tensions and animosities develop to be dealt with blandly, if not finally by the Chairman.

Eric works hard, and enlists the support of colleagues and pupils to play the working people and the Twelve, 'John Cockle's' henchman is to be Max Kirkov which confirms Helen's worst fears of a Russian invasion, despite assurances that Kirkov is a Jew, born in Slough. Meanwhile, 'John Cockle' T-Shirts are produced and worn and a 'John Cockle' song - 'Terribly catchy' - is composed.

As the great day approaches, another meeting finds the Right Wing in disarray. The 'Earl of Dorset' Lawrence is to head a charge through the Market Square to disperse the rebels. Safety precautions, do not permit a live mount, so, a 'Styleized' horse is suggested. The uniforms are not ready, nor are there enough men to wear them. The meeting breaks up, and Helen is left weeping despairingly. Help is at hand however: Tim happens to be a retired Army Captain. When Helen appeals to him for help, he goes into action.

Act 2 opens with a secret emergency meeting of the Establishment. The pageant is likely to become an ugly battle ground with milling masses, shocking scenes, bloody heads. Tim takes command: battle action is planned.

The great day arrives, and Eric's moment of oratory as 'John Cockle' arrives. The Establishment find themselves locked in the Ballroom; Tim shoots the lock off the fire door, and he, Ray and Lawrence hurl themselves forward. Chaos ensues. Pistol shots, shouts and ambulance bells are heard; the mob invades the hotel; Helen is carried off by the 'Russian', and returns shaken, bedraggled, but not entirely displeased. Eric departs with Philippa, leaving Sophie betrayed once more. Throughout, Audrey has been running through her piano recital for the evening, oblivious to the excitement. Ray tells her that the pageant is over and she reveals that according to her research, 'Cockle' never existed; however the 'ancient Britons' put up a very strong resistance to the 'Roman invasion', and very bloody battle was recorded near to Pendon. Ray begins planning next years festival, as the curtain falls.

This production provided a most enjoyable and lively evening's entertainment and the cast are to be congratulated on splendid personal performances: Richard Thorne (Don), Margaret Butt (Helen). Gillian Yates (Sophie), Jim Orford (Eric), Marie Berrie (Audrey), Dick Dann (Lawrence), Gordon Halliday (Tim), Brian Bowker (Max), Rose Coveney (Philippa), and Philip Jones (Ray). The Director was Diana Lucas, Production Secretary Alison Lambourne, and Stage Manager, Brian Bowker. They, and the whole of the Production Team did a superb job.

- Reviewed by: Mary Darnley-Smith


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