May 1997 – When We Are Married

Play Name
When We Are Married
Performance Start Date
May 1997
Performance End Date
May 1997
Harrogate Theatre
Joan Mallett

Harrogate Advertiser review: "Audience's trust deserved An outstanding production of Yorkshire's flew the first flag for the amateur summer season and Harrogate Dramatic Society deserves full credit for super entertainment. It is no mean feat, given the anxieties over the theatre's future, to fill the auditorium with satisfied customers. But they continue to do just that, because over the past 51 years, they have consistently delivered high quality productions, which a substantial number of people want to see. A relationship of trust and loyalty has been carefully nurtured which allows for the occasional new play or more unusual subject matter to slip into the programme, without fuss. But with J. B. Priestley's best-loved comedy, it was a case of treading familiar ground for many of the players, certainly for expert director Joan Mallett and undoubtedly many of the audience. A consummate set, designed by Neil Bray provided the backdrop to the action plus the acquired affluence of Alderman Helliwell's sitting room was beautifully realised. The particular shade of green and the wreath motif of the wallpaper just crossing the line into the ostentation of a self-made and self-important man. A Piano, was a nice touch too and how tantalising. The three couples who were married on the same day at the same chapel 25 years before had barely digested their celebratory dinner before learning the awful truth - due to an oversight the ceremony was invalid and their marriage, in theory, was a sham. To make matters worse, the news was delivered by lah-di-dah Southerner, Gerald Forbes. All three couples were excellently cast, each type well drawn. Ian Rattee as the authoritative Alderman was partnered by Sylvia Iveson whos reactions and timing as Maria were excellent throughout. Brian Foster as the timid Herbert Soppit was another success especially when mouthing each word of a damning letter over Gerald's shoulder. And Jeremy Suddards as Gerald positively revelled in the new-found power he had over pompous Coun. Parker, played by Mike Allen. While the masters and mistresses of the tale had to grapple with the new situation and review their respective relationships, other comic characters drew loud applause. One was Mrs. Northrop, who too great delight in mocking her employer's unfortunate circumstances with a throaty guffaw, delivered by Shirley Grimshaw. Neil de Lacy was also good as the sozzled photographer Ormonroyd, in search of happy couples for the Yorkshire Argus. Vicky Blades made a very impressive debut performance in the role of the cheeky maid, Ruby Birtle who made her entrances and exits with all the self-control of a spinning top. But what about the piano? The arrival of Christine Littlewood as the teasing Lottie, provided a closing song and an exceptional voice."