We Found Love... and an exquisite set of porcelaine figurines...
aboard the SS Farndale Avenue

by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin jnr
May 15, 16 and 17 May 1997
Directed by Brenda Courtie
Produced by Terry Bullworthy
Stage Manager, Judith Watson
Wardrobe by Gina Hall

Like all Farndale farces, the whole ambience is part of the show. The Cast, Front of House, the Bar, certain members of the audience, Interval Bingo, Sound, Lights and Music are all supposed members of the Farndale Avenue Townswomens Guild or their other halves.

This show is a spoof of those 1930s musical comedies of shipboard romance and, due to a shortage of actors, three ladies of the Townswomens Guild, together with the unhappy stage manager Gordon, have to play a total of eighteen characters.The production is a farce in more ways than one, for everything must go wrong. The hall is double booked by a local disco, the far from elegant scenery collapses, the props and costumes go awry, the players drop out of character to quarrel or criticise each other and the audience can get thoroughly confused until they get the joke!

This was a most enjoyable production and a great deal of fun was had by all

Act I takes place aboard the luxury cruise liner, the SS Farndale Avenue

Act 2 After being shipwrecked, the four passengers are marooned on a desert island.

The Cast

Mrs Reece...Deborah Hartnett
Thelma...Jenny Hyatt
Felicity...Rita Bullworthy
Gordon...Peter Unsworth

Set design by Alan Watson.
Lighting by Stefan Bullworthy
Scenery by Judith Watson and Carrie Bedford.
Properties by Angela Danks
Sound by John Courtie
Stage Crew: Carrie Bedford, Alan Watson and Mike Jackson
Dressers: Angela Danks, Gina Hall, Janice Webb

Also taking part as members of the Guild and helpers
Brenda Courtie, Jill Tcherniak, Irene Fox, Cathie Hill, Joanne Webb, Emma Crocker, Alun Edwards, Kate Hawes and the Junior Players, with Matthew Tasker as the disc jockey.

The interval entertainment by the Farndale Avenue Ecole de Danse was provided by the very Junior Players, with choreography by Sara McKay

Mrs Reece as Beauregard Thelma and Gordon

On board the SS Farndale Avenue, Beauregard Sinclair [played by Mrs Reece (Deborah Hartnett)] bullies the Porter[played by Felicity (Rita Bullworthy)]

Mrs Reece also plays Act I: Lilian, the ship's Steward and a Jolly Tar. Act 2: A Lobster, Mavis Smith and Captain Brown.
Felicity also plays Act I: Cicely, Daisy the maid, Captain Jones, a Jolly Tar and in Act 2 a Crab.

Two more passengers, the glamorous actress Constance Lombard [Thelma as herself (Jenny Hyatt)] and Noel Nightingale [played by Gordon (Peter Unsworth)]

In Act I Gordon also plays a Jolly Tar and Gwendoline. Don't ask.
Apart from a brief appearance as a Jolly Tar, Thelma plays the glamour puss throughout

NB Behind Noel, see that the ship's rail has broken and the sky backdrop has collapsed, (on top of Felicity).

Dinner on deck

With the backdrop hauled up into place and Felicity revived, a romantic candlelit dinner on deck at the Captain's table. Unfortunately, Felicity's quick change from being Captain Jones to Daisy the maid doesn't quite make it in time, but she does manage a frilly apron.

Meanwhile, Beauregard and Noel romance Constance.

Finale of Act I, four Jolly Tars dance a Hornpipe (Mrs Reece, Gordon, Thelma and Felicity), just before a storm wrecks the SS Farndale Avenue.

Four Jolly Tars

During the Interval, Mrs Reece and Thelma run a Bingo session for the audience. Unfortunately, the hapless Felicity did not realise that all the cards had to be different. Each member of the audience had an identical card on their programme.

The SS Farndale Avenue has sunk and Act 2 opens with an underwater scene of fluorescent sea creatures portrayed by the youngest Junior Players

Noel and Beauregard are saved

Beauregard and Noel make it to the shore of a desert island. Beauregard by virtue of being an Olympic swimming champion and Noel because he clung to the grand piano (also washed ashore).

Constance even manages to be shipwrecked in an elegant fashion. Daisy isn't so lucky and then she is ordered to find firewood.

Note between the two ladies that stalwart of several productions, Olive the Palm Tree, of whom more later.

Constance and Daisy
Noel and Constance meet Mavis

There is a little interlude where Mrs Reece and Felicity dance a Pas de Deux dressed as the Lobster and the Crab. Unfortunately, Mrs Reece gets stuck in her costume and has to appear in her next part as a rather strange hybrid.

Noel and Constance are to be married by lay preacher Daisy, but Mrs Reece re-enters as Mavis Smith, a castaway, who declares herself to be Noel's long-lost wife.

Note: On SL, the grand piano and SR Mrs R wearing lobster outfit, sarong and Ethel the Blonde Wig, making her ninth appearance in an EP production.

Yet another production calamity. The backdrop falls down again, but this time it finally does for Daisy, who has already been struck by Olive the Palm Tree.

Sadly, the constant abuse of Olive resulted in her demise, in spite of much loving care by the stage management and the application of glue and gaffer tape. Gamely, she held out to the last performance before giving her all for her art.

Felicity is felled
The good ship Indesit rescues the castaways

This embarrassing situation is saved by the arrival of the good ship Indesit, captained by Mrs Reece still stuck in the Lobster outfit.

The stage management

Above, The essential underpinning of the show; the stage crew Mike Jackson (L) and Carrie Bedford (R) with Stage Manager Judith Watson(C)

The spider and the albatross Royston on sound Brenda Courtie

Some other important members of the production: the monstrous spider that attacked Constance and the albatross which landed on Mrs Reece's bosom.

Royston on Sound (the Rev. John Courtie) who had to put up with some unkind comments from Mrs Reece.

The director, Brenda Courtie.

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Copyright © 1997. EydonPlayers
Revised -- October 2011 Version 10a
URL: http://www.eydonplayers.co.uk/farndale/