Pools Paradise - performed June 1987
By Philip King
Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French
Director - Dennis Murfitt
Cast(in order of appearance)
Production TeamVal Taylor, Jude Hussey, Jenny Rollings, Chris Mason, Dennis Murfitt, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Greg Garrad, Jane Cousins, Jenny Glayzer, Gill Baxter, Patience Ling, Viv Wheatley, and other volunteers not mentioned.
The PlayZany, madcap events transpire at the Reverend Lionel Toop's vicarage in Merton cum Middlewick. The plot revolves around Lionel's wife, Penelope, who dabbles in a football pool with the help of their maid, Ida, and Ida's suitor, the droll Willie Briggs. The most fantastic complications ensue when the triumvirate wins or when they think they have won more than 20,000 pounds. Lending richly comic hands are the old maid parishioner, Miss Skillon, and Penelope's out of this world uncle, The Bishop of Lax. What happens when these assorted characters all get together on one stage has to be seen to be believed.
ReviewsPhilip King’s comfortably dated farce may not be in the same dizzy class as the author’s deservedly famous “See how they run” but the familiar theme of cavorting clerics losing their trousers in a welter of cross-purposes still appeals to an audience bent on undemanding entertainment.
Denis Murfitt’s amusing production has the benefit of a very good set indeed, whose angled walls laugh at the constraints of this small stage and after a one-paced first act, the fun waxes fast and furious.
Alison Brett, very well made up in the style of the period, needs rather more flamboyance in her
actress-married-to-a-vicar and Debi Koval a somewhat lower vocal register to bring out the non-stop impact of the maid,
Ida. Dave Turrell’s incumbent also sounds a little ponderous instead of pompous-labourer rather than stuffy.
Viv Wheatley’s Miss Skillon is a splendid blend of pillar-of-the-community, adoring spinster and forcibly efficient
dragon and is quite the best thin on view throughout, but she is pressed hard by Kevin Brown’s gormless
Willie Briggs who manages to combine engaging vacuity with lubriciousness in hilarious fashion.
Manningtree-based Manifest Theatre Group has added yet another hit to a long line of successes with its
latest production, Pools Paradise, which opened at the Oxford Road theatre on Tuesday..
Bumbling clerics, a scatty maid and a designing spinster are combined with a well-laid plot and a large portion of
general confusion – just the ingredients for a laughter-filled evening.
There was a cast of just seven and it was hard to judge who was the star performer – the vicar or the maid.
Dave Turrell was outstanding as the Rev Lionel Toop while Debi Koval as the maid Ida, after appearing to
overact at the beginning, got better and better as the plot unfolded.
Photo ShootIf you have any photos from this production, then please let us know.
Bert, Alan, Debi, Kevin, Allision, Viv, Dave