Woman in a Dressing Gown - performed March 1987
By Ted Willis
Performed with the kind permission of
Director - Dennis Murfitt
Cast(in order of appearance)
Production TeamVal Taylor, Viv Wheatley, Judi Hussey, Jenny Rollings, Max Eldridge, Bruce Emeny, Michael Monaghan, Dennis Murfitt, Maurice Barber, Greg Garrod, Jenny Glayzer, Gill Baxter, Patience Ling, Viv Wheatley, and other volunteers not mentioned.
The PlayWoman in a Dressing Gown has been described by film historian Jeffrey Richards as "a Brief Encounter of the council flats", taking the scenario of an extra-marital relationship and relocating to a less middle-class setting. However, writer Ted Willis described it more simply, as a film about "good honest fumbling people caught up in tiny tragedies".
ReviewsFirst produced as a memorable film in 1958 with Yvonne Mitchell and Anthony Quayle in the leading roles, Ted Willis’s story of the near break-up of a long-established marriage still makes for absorbing theatre in its stage form.
Dennis Murfitt has directed the ebb and flow of the action with common sense and restraint so that the situation speaks for itself and the emotions generated are achingly real.
His own Jim Preston, driven to frustration by the routine of the mundane rut in which he finds himself,
and taking the almost statutory escape route of an extra-marital relationship in a bid to renew his lost youth,
is quietly developed so that the outbursts at the trap he is in are the more effective by contrast.
Manningtree’s Manifest Theatre Group turned in a lively, entertaining, and moving performance of Ted Willis’s poignant drama. The play, set in London in the 1950s, is a familiar tale of a betrayed wife desperately struggling to prevent the break-up of a 20-year-old marriage.
Val Taylor shows great understanding of the frumpy middle-aged Amy Preston. The audience is moved from
laughter at her drunken despair to tears as we see her maintain pride, dignity and strength in attempting to
maintain the status quo.
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