Big Bad Mouse - performed January 1981

By Philip King and Falkland L Cary

Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French

Director - Dennis Murfitt


(in order of appearance)

Fiona Jones Janet Green
Harold Hopkins Tim Robinson
Miss Spencer Janet Cousins
Mr Price Hargraves Dennis Murfitt
Mr Bloomer Ed King
Lady Chesapeake Vivienne Wheatley
Doris Povey Frances Brown

Production Team

Peter Westbrook, Jude Hussey, Jenny Rollings, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Kevin Brown, Dennis Murfitt, Christine and Peter Potter, Geoffrey Taylor, Derek Cobbold, Valerie Taylor, Herbert Yeates, Peter and Pamela Talbot-Ashby, Patience Ling, Viv Wheatley, and other volunteers not mentioned.

The Play

In the Orders Office of Chunkbix Ltd., it is decidedly Mr. Price Hargraves who gives the orders and little Mr. Bloome who obeys them until Mr. Bloome is astonishingly accused of chasing a young female across the Common. To his and Mr. Price Hargraves' amazement this reprehensible conduct makes him the hero of every woman and girl in the office, even Price Hargraves' hitherto devoted secretary and the formidable chairman, Lady Chesapeake. So glorious is Bloome's transformation that when the young person in question discovers she has made a mistake in her identification, Bloome is the reverse of pleased and determines to keep her quiet.


Be careful! Inside the office “mouse” beats the heart of a reckless sex fiend. But, inside every woman lurks a ravenous tigress and mouse is on the menu. That’s the theme of the Manifest Theatre Group's latest offering at the Old Legion Hall, Manningtree, the long-running Eric Sykes and Jimmy Edwards farce, Big Bad Mouse, set in the offices of a biscuit company. This intimacy of this venue was ideal for farce. With the action taking place almost at their feet, the audience soon lost their inhibitions and the gently chuckles became guffaws of laughter as the players threw about the funny lines like confetti on Tuesday’s first night.

Ed King plays the nervous and bullied invoice clerk, Bernard Bloome, who becomes the office Casanova after a case of mistake identity sees him branded as a sex maniac. And Janet Cousins is the prim Miss Spencer, a no-nonsense, no-hanky-panky secretary, until she reveals her passion for Mr Bloome at the office party.
Miss Spencer has to share her passion with every female in the company – including the erstwhile chairperson, Lady Cesapeake, played by Vivienne Wheatley. Janet Green makes an attractive Miss Jones, the typical tooty from the typing pool, and Tim Robinson grew in confidence in the role of Harold, the office boy.
But the group’s star is producer/director Dennis Murfitt, who has the hallmark of a a quality actor. He showed just how farce should be played, throwing himself into the role of Price-Hargreaves, the soft-centred office tyrant. Frances Brown make a brief appearance as Doris, the young lady who elevates Bloome to office superstar, identifying him as her assailant.
This first-night performance tripped along at a tremendous pace, knocking ten minutes off the expected running time. That was the only problem – if the cast relaxed and gave their audience a chance to get all the jokes, all the innuendo, we’d all have had even more fun.
Neil Thomas

First made famous by the ad-libbing of Jimmy Edwards and Eric Sykes, this straightforward farce about the new-found status of the little man, previously one of Life’s natural victims, when he is falsely accused of assaulting a girl on Wandsworth Common, is in constant demand and here received a first-class production and enthusiastic reception.
All the acting was a a uniform level of quality and the whole show had that unmistakable air of confidence and authority which is based on good direction and attention to detail.

Ed King’s initially cringing and servile Mr Bloome changed hilariously to the strutting of the aroused sexual athlete and set well against the "Little Caesar" stuff-shirtdom of Dennis Murfitt's equally effective Price-Hargraves in the hierarchical order of things in the Chunkbix offices while Tim Robinson had great fund with the office boy, Harold Hopkins, always in a state of cheeky rebellion or at the mercy of his hormones.
These certainly must have stimulated by the clever, deliberately common charms of the with-it typist, Fiona swivel-hipped into sultry movement by Janet Green and the later transformation of Janet Cousins's dowdy paragon of a secretary, Miss Spencer into a svelte, passionate man-eater.
Vivienne Wheatley had a nice line in aristocratic iciness as the all-powerful Lady Chesapeake and took her "melting" lines very amusingly while Frances Brown to her great credit got more out of the minor part of Doris Povey than was really written into it.
Jimmy James

With its current flirtation with farce, Manningtree's Manifest Theatre Group is presenting an entirely fresh aspect of its rapidly growing reputation. "Big Bad Mouse" by Philip King and Falkland Carey, demands sure-fire timing and fail-safe repartee, and sure enough the show goes like a rocket.
Comparative newcomer Ed King succeeds as the office nitwit who becomes a kind of Incredible Hulk when a molested spinster wrongly accuses him.
In fact, the play demands Jekyll and Hyde split personality characterisations from almost the entire cast.
Janet Green, as the office dolly bird, gets the show off to a cracking pace opposite Tim Robinson, as the man about town – his first part at only 17.
Buts it is Janet Cousins who takes top honours. From the tweedy, disillusioned Miss Spencer she changes into a mature woman of passion and desire, with hilarious costume changes to match.
Player-producer Dennis Murfitt turns in his usual flawless performance as an upright executive with a lecherous heart, and strong supporting roles are filled by Vivienne Wheatley and Frances Brown.

Photo Shoot