Good Companions - performed April 1982
By J. B. Priestley
Director - Dennis Murfitt
|Joe Brundit||Herbert Yeates|
|Mrs Brundit||Viv Wheatley|
|Susie Dean||Janet Green|
|Jerry Jerningham||Dennis Murfitt|
|Elsie Longstaff||Amanda Rowe|
|Jimmy Nunn||Nigel Rowe|
|Morton Mitchum||Adrian Bolton|
|Inigo Jollifant||Ed King|
|Elizabeth Trant||Valerie Taylor|
|Jess Oakroyd||Ron Colbourne|
|Sam Oglethorpe||Simon Patten|
|Miss Thong||Brenda Chapman|
|Mr Billingham||Colin De'Ath|
|Mr Tarvin||Geoffrey Austin|
|Mrs Tarvin||Janet Cousins|
|Harriet Felton||Pamela Talbot-Ashby|
|Monte Mortimer||Peter Talbot-Ashby|
|Miss Callender||Joan Yeates|
|Dinky Doos||Marion Boyce
|All other characters are doubled by various members of the cast.|
The star is undoubtedly Ron Colbourne as Jess Oakroad. At first his North Country accent irritates, but eventually
this and the humour he injects into the part endear him to the audience. Janet Green is delightful as the
rather petulant Susie Dean, and there are good performances also from Nigel Rowe, Valerie Taylor and Adrian Bolton.
BASED on J. B. Priestley’s novel with lyrics by the inventive Johnny Mercer complementing Andre Previn’s
glancing frothy music, the “Manningtree musical” relates the tale of trio of strangers from the most
dissimilar of backgrounds who join up with a travelling group of pierrots down on their luck.
Dennis Murfitt’s cleverly staged presentation fleshes out the basically flimsy theme with a discerning eye for the theatrical impact of movement, grouping and simple but effective choreography amid a positive welter of colourful period costume and only the unfortunate necessity to clear and re-people the stage for each new episodic setting takes away in any appreciable measure from the accumulative impetus and drive of a gay, happy and soundly-based production.
Janet Green’s delicious singing voice and vivid personality deals very tellingly with Susie Dean, the young star
of the Dinky Doos and the director himself takes on the smooth aplomb of the company’s song-and-dance man,
Jerry Jerningham with his customary deftness while among the rank-and-file of the veteran performers who
make up the troupe Vivienne Wheatley is outstanding for her vivacity, vitality and pure acting talent.
Ed King is everything the naïve young composer Inigo Jollifant should be, handsome, diffident and blessed with that indefinable thing called presence and his singing voice somehow comes through the tendency to strangulation he puts upon it so something of a triumph in the duet Suze. Adrian Bolton has a very amusing dash at the “seen-it-all-before, been everywhere” Morton Mitchum and Valerie Taylor gets real pathos into her Miss Trant with Ron Colbourne creating the non-nonsense pawkiness of the North Country Jess Oakroyd splendidly and bringing the house down with his birthday twinkling legs.
Patience Ling at the piano and Greg Garrard on percussion blend tunefully and sympathetically into the vocal resources of particular singers and lighting and make-up also confirm the attention to detail that has gone into this thoroughly entertaining show – the more surpassing then to find plastic rearing its ugly and out-of-period head in terms of things like beach balls, thermos flasks and deck chair coverings.