Bedroom Farce - performed October 1985

By Alan Ayckbourn

Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French

Director - Dennis Murfitt

Chairmans letter

I have great pleasure in welcoming you to the first production in our own theatre. It is the start of an exciting new era for us all and with your help our Theatre Group will thrive and continue to be a valuable asset to the Manningtree area. Our intention is to foster and encourage live theatre in all its forms for your enjoyment in comfortable, well equipped surroundings.
This has been made possible by the unsparing efforts of many of our members and your generous response to our appeal for Life Membership. However, we are not out of the wood yet and I am sure the Group can count on your continual support in our various functions.
Jack Hacon - (Chairman)


(in order of appearance)

Ernest Ron Colbourne
Delia Hilda Breckles
Nick Simon Colbourne
Jan Gillian Riley
Malcolm Dave Turrell
Kate Tracy Amoss
Trevor Michael Caver
Susannah Alison Brett

Production Team

Val Taylor, Viv Wheatley, Jenny Rollings, Dennis Murfitt, Bruce Emeny, Marice Barber, Greg Garrod, Trevor Amos, Geoffrey Taylor, Kevin Brown, Gill BAxtor, Pamela Talbot-Ashby

The Play

A wickedly funny play about the blithe inconsideration of the suffering. Trevor and Susannah are a couple whose marriage is heading towards the rocks and the play depicts an endless night in which they inflict their miseries on their nearest and dearest, three other couples. Taking place sequentially in the three beleaguered couples' bedrooms. Trevor and Susannah implicate the others in their public angst and in the course of one long Saturday night ruffle beds, tempers, marriages and domestic order.


Manifest Theatre Group have bought their own theatre in Oxford Road Manningtree.
The group opted to open with Bedroom Farce, which may require only one set, but needs that set to represent three bedrooms. And here I thought that the producer, who was also the set designer, Dennis Murfitt, went astray. The tiny stage was cluttered with three beds. If the breadth of the stage had been used for the frequent quarrels, rather than just a narrow corridor of stage, as it were, from back to front, then the actors might have been able to make something of their parts. After a slow start, the performances warmed up.

Of the four couples, I liked the Kate of Tracey Amos very much - a convincing characterisation that was very funny and varied. Her husband, Dave Turrell, was almost as funny. Trevor was played with the right amount of zaniness by Michael Caven, and his Susannah (Alison Brett) was nearly as good, with her manic sense of inadequacy. Gillian Riley as Jan, needed more charm and life, and her partner, Simon Colbourne, could have gone a lot further in suggesting someone completely self-indulgent and egotistical.
Ayckbourn, to be successful, needs to be played hard for signs of potential craziness, and the play would have got more laughs, and had a little more pathos, if the actors could have let themselves go a bit more.
Jeremy Tambling

Something to be proud of

ALAN Ayckbourn must surely be one of the more engaging of our modern playwrights.
And Manifest Theatre Groupís production at its new theatre in Manningtree of his comedy Bedroom Farce proved just that. None of the characters go more than skin deep and the plot was very slight, yet the effect was hugely entertaining.
Although hampered by a tiny stage into which too much had been crammed, the players took to their roles eagerly and only occasionally missed the timing on the better lines.
Particularly promising were the performances of the younger members of the cast, especially Michael Craven as unbalanced husband Trevor and Allison Brett as his neurotic wife Susannah.
Tracey Amos as Kate was excellent and her timing near perfect. After an unconvincing start Dave Turrell as her husband Malcolm really warmed to his task.
The play, packed out for the week, was a success and proved the Manifest group members who paid £10,000 out of their own pockets to finance the theatre project had not wasted a penny.

In its theatre Manningtree has an asset it can be proud of.
Ian Pickering

Photo Shoot

(back row - Michael, Alison, Gill, Hilda)
(front row - Dave, Tracey, Simon, Ron)