SMALL HOTEL

By Rex Frost

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed June 1962

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Neville Goldsworthy's review in the Wyong Advocate on a Wednesday in June 1962

(Read full article here)

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Tuggerah Lakes News article and pictures.
Note councillor Wilfred Barret in the photo top right.  Wilf Barret eventually became the Shire President and was the person to officially open the new Wyong Memorial Hall in 1965.

(Read full article here)

This play was produced by Rene Levenspiel in June 1962 and was billed as a comedy.  A note in the programme reads: "our thanks to Lorna Worgan, George Glading and Rene Levenspiel for taking over their respective roles half way through the production".  (It seems little has changed!)  This play was performed on a Monday and Tuesday night in June 1962.  Sorry we can't be more specific than that re the dates, however any definite information (as always) is appreciated.

A new policy for programmes commenced with this play.  Alton Mort (the then graphic arty member of the group) designed a logo and generic outer cover to be roneo'd off and used outside all the programmes.  This process lasted until into the early seventies.  A type-written roneo'd inner layout was then produced for each individual play.  These were done mainly by Aubrey A Brown who obviously used the office roneo machine at his law practice for external work.

Small Hotel Cast in Colour
Small Hotel Cast in Colour

Arthur Gleed, Leila Walmsley, Aubrey Brown, Rene Levenspiel, George Glading, Lorna Worgan, Bonnie Bryant, Hazel Ede, Ted Bryant, Mildred Ede and Kevin Brown

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Small Hotel Set in Colour
Small Hotel Set in Colour

The magnificent set in magnificent colour

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Small Hotel Cast - 4
Small Hotel Cast - 4

Leila Walmsley, Aubrey Brown, Rene Levenspiel, George Glading, Lorna Worgan, Bonnie Bryant, Hazel Ede and Ted Bryant

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Small Hotel Cast in Colour
Small Hotel Cast in Colour

Arthur Gleed, Leila Walmsley, Aubrey Brown, Rene Levenspiel, George Glading, Lorna Worgan, Bonnie Bryant, Hazel Ede, Ted Bryant, Mildred Ede and Kevin Brown

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Use the arrows to browse through the gallery for Small Hotel. Click the images to view them full-size.

The crafty and experienced waiter Albert keeps things running smoothly at the Jolly Fiddler Hotel, and he is the only one who can placate the crabby justice of the peace who is a permanent resident there.  But Mr. Finch, a representative from the chain that owns the hotel, thinks that Albert is too old and should be fired. When Finch visits the hotel, his ideas and his manner quickly antagonise the staff and guests, setting off a lengthy battle of wills.

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

CAST:

SPENCER CROUCH - Aubrey Brown
GLADYS SPILLER - Leila Wamsley
MR. BARRINGTON - Arthur Gleed
ALAN PRIOR - Kevin Brown
ALBERT - George Glading
SHEILA PRIOR - Mildred Ede
MR. FINCH - Ted Bryant
MRS. SAMSON-BOX - Rene Levenspiel
EFFIE RIGLER - Lorna Worgan
MRS. GAMMON - Bonnie Bryant
CAROLINE MALLET - Hazel Ede

 
 

THE OLD LADIES

By Hugh Walpole

Produced by Rene Levenspiel

Performed August 1962

This was the first production done by WDG in the round, and was by all accounts a dramatic triumph for producer Rene Levenspiel.  Rene also had a hand in making some adaptations to the script in order to achieve the setting in the round.  The play was very well received, and a famous audience member, veteran Australian actor Hayes Gordon actually saw Wyong's presentation.  It was presented on Tuesday 21 August and Wednesday 22 August 1962.

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Wyong Advocate: Wednesday, 22 August 1962

(Read full article here)

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Tuggerah Lakes News: Wednesday, 15 August 1962 

(read full article here)

The programme makes mention that "next year" (ie what would be 1963) we would be moving into the new Memorial Hall (ie our current location).  The move must have been delayed for a couple of years beyond the expectations as it did not actually happen until June 1965!

The play is a clever dramatisation of a 1924 novel by Hugh Walpole by playwright Rodney Ackland.  Three old women each living in her own bed-sitting room in a dilapidated house would not, one might imagine, give scope for dramatic episode.  Yet the author has created three characters so inherently different and individual that the mere accident of their coming to live in the same house is sufficient to bring about situations of pathos, humour, intense drama, and ultimate tragedy.  The story is drawn from the characters themselves.  They do not fit into the story; they are the story.

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Tuggerah Lakes News: Wednesday, 22 August 1962

(Read full article here)

Tuggerah Lakes News: Wednesday, 22 August 1962  (Front Page!)

(read full article here)

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Wyong Advocate: Wednesday, 25 July 1962

(Read full article here)

In a particularly harsh winter in a rundown old boarding house in Pontippy Square, Lucy and May have rooms in the house, and through fond memories, simple pleasures and buried hopes, happily help each other through their impoverished days.

But in the upstairs room the dark, brooding presence of Agatha threatens to ruin their friendship.  Little by little she begins a journey of terror as she manipulates, ridicules and undermines the careful fabric of Lucy and May's lives.  Is Lucy's son really alive?  Why does May depend so much on her prized possessions?  And what is the terrible secret that Agatha craves to discover?

The show programme, as well as a link to the E-book, The Old Ladies, on which this production is based, are available below:

PRODUCED BY:

Rene Levenspiel

CAST:

LUCY ARMOREST- Marjorie Gleed
MAY BERINGER - Ivy Zaia
AGATHA PAYNE - Bonnie Bryant

 

CRYSTAL CLEAR

By Falkland L Cary and Phillip King

Produced by Aubrey A Brown

Performed  December 1962

This was described as a "broad comedy" and produced by Aubrey A Brown for Thursday 13 December and Friday 14 December 1962.  Naturally, we were still performing at the Wyong Youth Hall.

Ever since her husband died in a boating accident Jane Shaw rules her stationers and newsagent shop with a rod of iron and her browbeaten son Craig as well.  Her late husband (Sam Shaw) disappeared into the waters of Sefton Bay two years ago while on a fishing expedition with Willie Wilkinson.  Alcohol was involved.

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Article in the Wyong & Tuggerah Lakes News, Wednesday 19 December 1962.
Note audience photo at the bottom.

(Click here to read full article).

The play opens on the second anniversary of the late Sam's death.  Craig is in love with the young shop assistant Penny Matthews (who was introduced into the fold by the late Sam) but is too afraid to tell his mother.  Penny and Craig decide that Jane would be better if there was a man in her life and they persuade one of the customers to propose to her.  Much to his shock she accepts. Then, the supposedly dead husband turns up!

Cast of Crystal Clear - 1
Cast of Crystal Clear - 1

Kevin Brown, Edna Bate and Mildred Ede

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Cast of Crystal Clear - 2
Cast of Crystal Clear - 2

Fred Chapman and Arthur Gleed

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Cast of Crystal Clear - 3
Cast of Crystal Clear - 3

Gladys Goldsworthy and Edna Bate

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Cast of Crystal Clear - 1
Cast of Crystal Clear - 1

Kevin Brown, Edna Bate and Mildred Ede

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PRODUCED BY:

Aubrey Brown

CAST:

CRAIG SHORE - Kevin Brown
PENNY MATTHEWS - Mildred Ede
WILLIE WILKINSON - Fred Chapman
SARAH CRONELY - Gladys Goldsworthy
JANE ANN SHORE - Edna Bate
THE VISITOR - Arthur Gleed

 

LOVERS LEAP (1963)

By Phillip Johnson

Produced by June Colquhoun

Performed April 1963

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The bare set in the Youth Hall

(See full-size image here)

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Aubrey Brown, June Colquhoun, Fred Chapman, Gwen Clarke and John Worgan

(See full-size image here)

This play was "recycled" from 1959 and had three of the original five cast members from the 1959 production.  It was produced by June Colquhoun and was the Wyong Drama Group entry in the 1963 Country Drama Festival as sponsored by the NSW Arts Council.  It's not precisely clear which month this play was produced, however the NSW Country Drama Festival finals for 1963 were held in May, so this play would have been produced at least a month before then.  We have estimated it to be some time in April 1963, however this is only an estimate.

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Article in a paper, almost certainly the Tuggerah Lakes News (unknown date)

(view full article)

Continuation of the above article

(view full article)

Two sisters, Helen and Sarah, seem to have come from queer stock.  All their aunts have been in the divorce court or some other place of trouble.  Helen's husband, Roger, worn out by her tantrums, has left her and been spending the past seven years among the tombs and pyramids of Egypt.  When he reappears in the play he finds her as difficult as ever.

Sarah is loved by a quiet steady young fellow, Cedric Norreys, and returns his affection after a fashion, not having made up her mind whether she prefers to marry him or live with him as his mistress, an idea which Cedric, a decent young man, much dislikes.  How Helen contrives to bring about their marriage using Roger as an unwilling accomplice leads to the amusing and most unexpected climax.

Please find below buttons that give you access to the show programme, and the programme from the 1963 Arts Council Play Competition, in which the Wyong Drama Group entered this play:

PRODUCED BY:

June Colquhoun

CAST:

HELEN STORER - June Colquhoun
POYNTER - Fred Chapman
SARAH TRAILLE - Gwen Clarke
CEDRIC NORREYS - John Worgan
ROGER STORER - Aub Brown

SEE HOW THEY RUN (1963)

By Phillip King

Produced by John Worgan

Performed June 1963

This farce has been done twice by the group.  It was reprised, directed by Fay Carter (vale) in August 1997 as well as this production, produced by new director John Worgan in June 1963.  A "Pensioners' Preview" night was held on Thursday 27 June, and then two normal performances were given on Friday 28 June and Saturday 29 June 1963.

The play is set in 1943 for the original (or shortly after the end of World War II in the rewrite) in the living room of the Vicarage at the fictitious village of Merton-cum-Middlewick (merging various actual village names, such as Merton and Middlewick, both in Oxfordshire, along with the old British usage of 'cum', meaning 'alongside' in the middle of a village name, as in Chorlton-cum-Hardy).  In 1955 it was adapted as a film starring Roland Culver.

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Review by Neville Goldsworthy in the Wyong (& Lakes District) Advocate on Wednesday 3 July 1963.

This is quite a long review of the play from Neville who saw the show on both the Friday night (with an audience of around sixty) and the "much better" Saturday night (with around a hundred and ten in the audience).

(view full article)

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Tuggerah Lakes News: Wednesday 19 June 1963

(view full article)

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Photo to accompany "JW's" review in the Tuggerah Lakes News, Wednesday 3 July 1963.

(view full article)

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Tuggerah Lakes News: Wednesday 26 June 1963

(view full article)

The lead character is Penelope Toop, former actress and now wife of the local vicar, the Rev Lionel Toop.  The Toops employ Ida, a Cockney maid.  Miss Skillon, a churchgoer of the parish and a scold, arrives on bicycle to gossip with the vicar and to complain about the latest 'outrages' that Penelope has caused.  The vicar then leaves for the night, and an old friend of Penelope's, Lance-Corporal Clive Winton, stops by on a quick visit.  In order to dodge army regulations, he changes from his uniform into Lionel's second-best suit, complete with a clerical 'dog-collar' in order to see a production of Private Lives (a Noël Coward play in which they had appeared together in their acting days), while pretending to be the visiting vicar Arthur Humphrey who is due to preach the Sunday sermon the next day.

Cast of See How They Run (1963) - 1
Cast of See How They Run (1963) - 1

Full Cast: Barry Beggs, Ted Bryant, George Geatches, Ellaine Mumberson, George Glading, Bonnie Bryant, Fred Chapman, Gwen Clarke and Arthur Gleed

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Cast of See How They Run (1963) - 2
Cast of See How They Run (1963) - 2

Ellaine Mumberson, Barry Beggs, Fred Chapman, Arthur Gleed, George Geatches, Ted Bryant and George Glading

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Cast of See How They Run (1963) - 6
Cast of See How They Run (1963) - 6

Ellaine Mumberson, possibly George Glading and Bonnie Bryant. Walking past on the floor (out of focus) is director John Worgan.

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Cast of See How They Run (1963) - 1
Cast of See How They Run (1963) - 1

Full Cast: Barry Beggs, Ted Bryant, George Geatches, Ellaine Mumberson, George Glading, Bonnie Bryant, Fred Chapman, Gwen Clarke and Arthur Gleed

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Photos of the Cast and Action in See How They Run (1963 Production). Click the images to view them full-size.

Just before they set out, Penelope and Clive re-enact a fight scene from "Private Lives" and accidentally knock Miss Skillon (who has come back unannounced) unconscious.  Miss Skillon, wrongly thinking she has seen Lionel fighting with Penelope, gets drunk on a bottle of cooking sherry and Ida hides her in the broom cupboard.  Then Lionel, arriving back, is knocked silly by a Russian spy on the run, who takes the vicar's clothes as a disguise.  To add to the confusion, both Penelope's uncle, the Bishop of Lax, and the real Humphrey unexpectedly show up early.  Chaos quickly ensues, culminating in a cycle of running figures and mistaken identities.  In the end, a police sergeant arrives in search of the spy to find four suspects—Lionel, Clive, Humphrey, and the Russian—all dressed as clergy.  No one can determine the identity of the spy (or anyone else for that matter), and the Russian is almost free when he is revealed and foiled by the quick work of Clive and Ida.  The scene calms down as the sergeant leads the spy away and Humphrey leaves.  Miss Skillon emerges from the closet, and she, the Bishop, and Lionel demand an explanation.  Penelope and Clive begin to explain in two-part harmony, getting up to the scene from "Private Lives," when Miss Skillon again manages to catch a blow in the face.  She falls back into Ida's arms as the curtain falls.

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Tuggerah Lakes News: Wednesday 12 June 1963
An announcement about a new member (Nanette Isaacs) who attended a meeting for the first time, and the introduction of a Thursday Night Pensioners' preview before the main Friday and Saturday performances. Note that nothing much has changed in that the paper got the title of the play slightly wrong.

(view full article)

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Review by "JW" in the Tuggerah Lakes News, Wednesday 3 July 1963.
This one contains a very frank review of the play along with the picture.  A classic quote:  One could not be sure whether George Geatches was about to forget his lines as the Reverend Lionel Toop or was playing faithfully the part of a dithering village vicar. 

(view full article)

PRODUCED BY:

John Worgan

CAST:

IDA - Gwen Clarke
MISS SKILLON - Bonnie Bryant
THE REVEREND LIONEL TOOP - George Geatches
PENELOPE TOOP- Ellaine Mumberson
LANCE/CORPORAL CLIVE WINTON- George Glading
THE INTRUDER - Barry Beggs
THE BISHOP OF LAX - Arthur Gleed
THE REVEREND ARTHUR HUMPHREY - Ted Bryant
SERGENT TOWERS - Fred Chapman

 
 

THE DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE

Based on the novel by Richard Gordon

Adapted by Ted Willis

Produced by Aub Brown

Performed December 1963

The popularity of this Richard Gordon novel, which was subsequently made into a film with Dirk Bogarde and James Robertson Justice, was too much for Wyong Drama Group to resist, and Aub Brown put up his hand to produce the play (December 1963).  He also took on the role of Sir Lancelot Spratt.  The play was produced on Friday 6 December and Saturday 7 December 1963 at the Youth Hall.

Adapted from the novel by Richard Gordon about the off duty lives of a group of medical students, this play weaves their happy triumphs and brave failures, love affairs and parties into a many coloured pattern.  Several individuals confined under the same roof employ a blithe exterior to hide their hopes and fears, ineffectually concealing an underlying earnestness of purpose.  The play provides a good variety of character parts: young men, some playboys, some serious; the college porter and the eccentric professor; the dragon matron; nurses pretty and dull; and the landlady extraordinary.

The Cast of The Doctor in The House - 1
The Cast of The Doctor in The House - 1

Standing - Aubrey Brown (Sir Lancelot Spratt), George Geatches (Tony Grimsdyke), Pamela Robinson (Vera), Christine Berridge (Riggie), Frank Lord (Bromley), Edna Bate (Matron), Nanette Isaacs (Janet). Seated - Barry Beggs (Simon Sparrow), Don Watson (John Evans)

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The Cast of The Doctor in The House - 2
The Cast of The Doctor in The House - 2

George Geatches, Pamela Robinson, Christine Berridge, Barry Beggs, Don Watson, Frank Lord, Edna Bate and Nanette Isaacs

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The Cast of The Doctor in The House - 5
The Cast of The Doctor in The House - 5

Aub Brown and Barry Beggs

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The Cast of The Doctor in The House - 1
The Cast of The Doctor in The House - 1

Standing - Aubrey Brown (Sir Lancelot Spratt), George Geatches (Tony Grimsdyke), Pamela Robinson (Vera), Christine Berridge (Riggie), Frank Lord (Bromley), Edna Bate (Matron), Nanette Isaacs (Janet). Seated - Barry Beggs (Simon Sparrow), Don Watson (John Evans)

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Photos of the Cast for The Doctor In The House. Click the images to view them full-size.

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Publicity article, Wyong Advocate Wednesday, 4 December 1963

(view full article)

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Review: Tuggerah Lakes News, Wednesday, 11 December 1963

(Thanks to Barry Beggs & Family for supplying this article.)

(view full article)

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Review by Neville Goldsworthy: Wyong Advocate Wednesday, 11 December 1963

(Thanks to Barry Beggs & Family for supplying this article.)

(view full article)

Shy and naive Simon Sparrow is an enthusiastic, first year medical student who has found lodgings in a rundown flat with two other medics.  Tony Grimsdyke is studying for the fun and a "degree in tavern and women" would be more appropriate.  His rugby playing friend, John Evans is slightly more enthusiastic about the course. Vera a beautiful Sicilian shares Tony's room, and has her sights set on a permanent relationship.  Nurse Riggie Winslow visits regularly, mainly in search of food, but like all the other nurses, she must make sure that she is not caught in the male students' rooms by the matriarchal Matron.  Bromley is a hospital porter who will do any task required for the students – at a price.  Their self-opinionated, bullying professor, Sir Lancelot Spratt has little time for the matron, and so when Simon falls for Janet the trouble really starts.

 

Audiences may remember the funniest line in the film – this is when Simon says to a well-endowed teenage girl, as he places his stethoscope on her chest, "Big breaths" and the reply comes "Yeth, and I am only sithteen!"

PRODUCED BY:

Aub Brown

CAST:

JOHN EVANS - Don Watson
TONY GRIMSDYKE - George Geatches
VERA - Pamela Robinson
SIMON SPARROW - Barry Begs
SIR LANCELOT SPRATT - Aub Brown
BROMLEY - Frank Lord
RIGGIE - Christine Berridge
MATRON - Edna Bate
JANET - Nanette Isaacs

 
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With thanks to Peter Deane and other long-time members of the Wyong Drama Group for the collation of this history.

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