Harrow County School for Boys

The Merry Wives of Windsor - Dramatic Society Production March 10th 1949

This photograph of the cast, taken on 12th March 1949, was sent in by David Warman.

Back Row (L_R): X, X, X, X, X, Hylton Oberst (Falstaff), Tony Davis (Mistress Ford), X, Michael Casemore, X, X, X

Front Row: David Warman, X, X, X, X, X, X, Michael Cohen

(Please send further identifications to jeffrey@jeffreymaynard.com

Review by G. K. C.

... The producer has a major problem to face.  The nature of the play and the language require a brisk, lively production of their impact is to be felt as humorous.  On the other hand, the audience will not understand the words unless they are delivered slowly, with clear articulation, studied emphasis and nicely calculated pauses.  My main criticism of the performance given at the School on March 10th is that these desiderata were lacking and one simply could not follow much of the dialogue.  (Of course, the standard of speech throughout the School is not all it should be.)  Apart from the defect, and the stiffness of one or two of the minor characters, the performance was excellent.

My first tribute must be to the cast who were intelligent, confident and lively in their parts.  Falstaff and Mistress Ford were, I think, the outstanding characterizations.  Falstaff, in particular, could hold the stage alone in a most convincing manner.  I particularly liked the way in which he acted all the time and used expression and movement to reinforce the meaning of his lines.  So, too, with Mistress Ford - Davis was never awkward in this feminine roll.  Evans as the Welsh parson and Carroll as Justice Shallow turned two thankless roles into neatly particularised, well-sustained studies.

The production was first-rate, for Mr. Purton had helped, and his skill is always tantamount to success.  The three producers from Form VI (Davis, Oberst and Port) had obviously worked hard, with a real discernment of the requirements of the text, and under the guiding hand of Mr. Purton they overcame completely the hardships imposed by our poor stage.  

A tribute also to Mrs. Purton and Mr. G. Brown for the flawless make-up and to the other unseen helpers who contributed to the excellence of this production. 

It is particularly pleasing that the inspiration and main effort for this venture came from within the School Dramatic Society.  this is as it should be, and it is to be hoped that this will be the habitual procedure in future presentations.

...

"The Merry Wives of Windsor"
CHARACTERS

Sir John Falstaff Hylton Oberst
Fenton, a young gentleman Michael Port
Shallow, a country justice Bernard Carroll
Slender, cousin to Shallow Peter Hammond
Page
Ford, two gentlemen of Windsor
Walter Schoenbeck
Michael Rose
Sir Hugh Evans, a Welsh parson Grenville Evans
Doctor Caius, a French physician Richard Burnett
Host of the Garter Inn James Henderson
Nym
Bardolf, followers of Falstaff
Pistol
Rodney Gibson
Tom Moore
David Irving
Robin, a page to Falstaff Barry Clifton
Simple, servant to Slender John Barry
Rugby, servant to Dr. Caius Brian Seagrove
Mistress Ford Tony Davis
Mistress Page Brian Wilson
Ann  Page, her daughter John Simpson
Mistress Quickly, servant to Dr. Caius Michael Casemore
Servants M. Cohen, D. Warman
Children and Fairies G. Ridley, D. Lockyear
Production by A. T. Davis, H. C. Oberst and M. H. Port
Stage Staff: R. L. Wayte, J. D. Dewar and B. W. Gregory
Lighting by R. Butter, Old Gaytonians Dramatic Club
Loudspeaker equipment kindly loaned by S. Keith Wilson, Esq., and operated by D. E. Lobb.


from The Gaytonian, March 1949

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