School Play  1956   Alibi  

An Actor's remembrance:  ‘THE PLAY’S THE THING…Geoff Hodgkins (1955)

                                            Railway club as stage hands   Neil Sinclair (1958/9)

                                            House Plays

Before 1950 Plays:  Form Plays

1950's Plays:   Libel   Alibi   Twelfth Night   

1960's Plays:   The Caine Mutiny   The Tempest    Arsenic and Old Lace   Sweeping Reductions    The Long and the Short and The Tall 

1970's Plays:   The Murder of Maria Marten     ,    The Royal Hunt of the Sun     ,   The Alchemist

                            Audience of Alibi below click here.

Reading from left:, Jim Wilson - definitely, Geoffrey Martin  - definitely, D.Bolton (face at back)??, Roger Allen  - definitely, Barry Clarke (white jacket) - definitely, B.H.Whitney (sitting at front), D.O.Tall (but you already knew that!), David Frost  (bearded)- definitely, B.R.Clayton (sitting at front), P.A.Tear (looks like a bit of his head!), Martin Spriggs  (as a woman)- definitely, D.Cooper – assuming this is Poirot, Derek Roberts  Names: Ivor W.Vincent

Audience of Alibi :  2 versions, first numbered, second plain.

5 - Bingham, 10 - R.E.Oberman,  15 - D.J.Payne,  31 - R.Craddock?,  32 - M.J.Newell,  33 - R.C.Manning,  34 -  R.T.Needham,  35 - L.B.Steel,  42 - R.E.Smith  - definitely,  45 - I.K.Reid  - definitely,  46 - C.E.Garley  - definitely,  47 - R.F.Adams  - definitely,  48 - M.J.Walker,  58 - I.W.Vincent  - very definitely!,  59  ie. next to 58 - R.D.Bland  - definitely   Names: Ivor W.Vincent


THE SCHOOL PLAY

 The School Dramatic Society, under the guidance of Dr. Jackson, this year performed Agatha Christie’s “ALIBI” on the four evenings from Nov. 20th to Nov. 23rd. 

This is a thriller in which it is particularly necessary that the suspense should be established immediately and maintained to the end of the play. Consequently its demand upon the actors—and upon the producer, during rehearsals— are very searching, for it is by innuendo, by reaction to unexpected revelations, and by a series of dramatic crises that the tension is increased to the high drama of the final denonement. Dr. Jackson is to be congratulated on having trained his cast so thoroughly that the suspense was achieved naturally as the play progressed, without over-acting or artificiality.

“Alibi” depends for its movement upon the central character, Hercule Poirot. D. J. Cooper, who played this part, made no attempt to imitate the physical appearance of the fat little Belgian of the novels, but by voice, gesture and a fine sense of timing, conveyed the essential qualities of a Poirot who was no less the Poirot because he was tall and slim rather than short and fat. In the second act most noticeably, and also throughout the final act, he commanded the stage with that odd mixture of humility and conceit, earnestness and self-dramatisation which is peculiarly Poirot’s. B. H. Whitney’s Dr. Sheppard provided an admirable contrast. He was so worthy and respectable, and met the awkward situations which confronted him with such guileless composure that many people in the audience were genuinely surprised when Poirot’s stabbing “It was you, M. le Docteur!” eventually revealed him as the blackmailer and murderer.

D. P. Frost was convincing as the unfortunate Sir Roger Ackroyd and stoutly upheld the stage tradition he has by now well established of appearing in a beard and departing in a hearse. D. Roberts and B. R. Clayton dealt capably with the lengthy but relatively unrewarding parts of the Secretary and Major Blunt, patiently with-drawing themselves from undue attention but taking their chances as suspicion fell upon each of them in turn, while P. A. Tear’s dogged Police Inspector effectively underlined, by contrast, the intuitive brilliance of Poirot. B. A. Clarke, side-whiskered in the best butlering fashion, was accepted as Parker, without question.

The women of the play deserve special praise. J. Wilson’s performance as the elderly Mrs. Ackroyd was pleasing in its quiet control and restrained suggestion of genteel dignity. As the young Flora Ackroyd, R. F. Allen achieved a remarkably high standard, both in acting and appearance and is to be commended on overcoming the considerable difficulty of this part. M. A. Spriggs and G. G. Martin also tackled their female roles with conviction.

In supporting parts, D. O. Tall, M. Wyman and D. Bolton performed capably.

The play was pleasantly staged by Mr. Goodman and Mr. Stratfold; both interior scenes providing the effect of realism so important in a modern thriller, and the carefully designed exits effectively disguised the smallness of the stage itself. The lighting effects, too, were produced with the efficiency we have come to expect from Mr. Huddart.