Come Blow Your Horn - produced May 1997

By Neil Simon

Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French Ltd

Director - Val Taylor


(in order of appearance)

Alan Baker Ralph Morris
Peggy Evans Jenine Collier
Buddy Baker Isaac Joseph
Mr Baker Mike Johansen
Connie Dayton Jo Simmons
Mrs Baker Viv Wheatley
A visitor Val Taylor

Production Team

Val Taylor, Rosamund Pettet, Derek Butcher, Sue Judd, Heidi Bayley, Bill Chapman, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Greg Garrard, Steve Sadler, Roger Davies, Jenny Glayzer, Alison Baker, Alan Wheeler, Patience Ling, Viv Wheatley, Jane Cousins, Brenda Chapman, Yvonne Cobbold, Tanya Morris, Rene Hacon, Marianne Heywood.

The Play

This fresh and delightful comedy was the surprise hit of the New York season. Harry Baker, owner of the largest artificial fruit business in the east, is the father of two sons. One is a 33 year old playboy; the other a different, 21 year old with an urge to assert himself. These two are continually trying their father's easily abused patience. Alan works only two days a week and goes on skiing or golfing jaunts with attractive female companions the other five. Buddy, hitherto an obedient son who even kissed Aunt Gussie through her veil at Dad's request, has moved into Alan's bachelor apartment, leaving a rebellious letter by way of explanation. The richly comic complications that ensue are unfailingly inventive and arise out of character, are never mere gags.


One of the most enjoyable aspects of this job is that you go to see productions that otherwise you would probably not see and this was my first visit to the Manifest. It is quite the most charming of theatres, the envy of many a group and with a group who put on shows of this calibre, I am sure it will not be my last.
This comedy takes a while to warm up, but once running at full pace it is a riot and the audience have a ball. The small cast gave their all and milked every laugh available.
The two Baker brothers, Alan and Buddy, played by Ralph Morris and Isaac Joseph are a perfect foil for each other and their transformation during the "three week" interval is wonderful. Both actors were comfortable and relaxed and projected all the pathos and emotions well.
The parents were quite delightfully played by Mike Johansen and Viv Wheatley. The domineering father and dutiful wife struggled with their sons, then each other and finally it all ended up happily.
In keeping with the rest of the cast Jenine Collier and Jo Simmons were excellent and each character came across as the writer intended.
Rarely have I seen such a strong cast throughout a production.
The accents were handled well, enough given to have effect without trying to go over the top.
The set was solid in construction, bright in dressing and full of working parts and the costumes were in keeping.
J Crawley

FOR their third and final production this season, the Manifest Theatre Group is staging Come Blow Your Horn, a comedy by Neil Simon. The two-hour production, directed by Val Taylor, is the group’s contribution to Manningtree’s third Festival of Arts and runs until Saturday.
I generally enjoy shows at the Manifest, but this was not my cup of tea and rather disappointing. Perhaps it was the American humour or accents. Others in the audience seemed to find it funny, so maybe I was just not in the mood. It seemed to take a long time to get going and I have never known the prompt to be in action so often before.

Ralph Morris and Isaac Joseph were making their debuts at the Manifest and the latter in particular, gave a promising performance, but Mike Johansen failed to come over as forcefully as the character demanded. The cast all worked have but the accolades must go to Viv Wheatley, a Manifest founder, who says she cannot remember how many plays she has been in. In this one she was outstanding and provided the real humour.
Lesley Pallett

Photo Shoot

If you have any photos from this production, then please let us know.