Breath of Spring - performed May 1979
By Peter Coke
Performed with the kind permission of R. Wilshaw (now Samuel French)
Director - Dennis Murfitt
Charman's LetterWelcome to the first production by the Manifest Theatre Group. In 1978 a number of local people came together to try and promote a local drama group for Mistley, Manningtree and Lawford areas, as it was felt that such an activity was lacking within the community. Since that time the Group's membership has risen to around the 50 mark and a great deal of local interest generated.
The money for this production, some £450, was raised through the generosity of patrons and sponsors and a lot
of hard fund raising by the Group's members, and we hope that this production will be the fore-runner of
many to come. It is hoped to provide as wide a spectrum of plays and melodramas as possible and we look forward
to your continued patronage.
Cast(in order of appearance)
Production TeamPeter Westbrook, Kevin Brown, Christine Potter, Peter Potter, Frances Brown, Sally Mann, Jan Cullum-Nasta, Bruce Emeny, John Honeywood
The PlayWhen Dame Beatrice is given a mink stole by her maid, she is reminded of the maid's shady past and immediately suspects that it was stolen from the the next flat. A former army officer and other lodgers endeavor to return the stole. The plan is devised with care and all of them take such delight in the secretive scheme that they wonder why they don't do this more often. They form a syndicate for stealing and returning furs. Everything goes well until a loss is reported and the police come charging in. The maid is horrified to discover what has been going on behind her back, but agrees to employ her talents to bail the amateurs out of trouble if they agree to never touch another fur. She succeeds, the police leave, and life returns to its humdrum ways until someone remembers that it was only furs they had promised not to touch!
ReviewsThe first offering of the newly-formed Manifest Theatre Group, Breath of Spring, by Peter Coke, is being presented in the old British Legion hall. An ambitious play for a newly-formed group of actors, this comedy of the early 1950s proceeds at a spanking pace, thanks to the direction of Dennis Murfitt, who also plays convincingly the part of a testy old brigadier, and his assistant producer, Valerie Taylor, also taking a leading part as Dame Beatrice Appleby. The performance of both these players is outstanding for such a newly established group, as are the renderings of Janet Cousins as Alice, Lady Miller, and Vivienne Wheatley as Miss Nanette Parry. Yvonne Cobbold convincingly portrays a nervous and muddle-headed spinster, Elizabeth Hatfield, and Brenda Chapman gives a delightful performance as the not quite reformed ex-jailbird maid. The two policemen, Adrian Bolton and Kevin Brown, arrive on the scene in the last act.
The play is acted in a superb set built entirely by the company over the last few weeks and is approaching professional standards. Stage manager is Peter Westbrook and his assistants Peter Potter, Bruce Emeny and John Honeywell. It is obvious that the hall has limitations as a venue for theatrical production, but the company has succeeded in over-coming them and the public will look forward with interest to future presentations.
Professionalism shows in Manifest group’s debut
A FAULTY fuse plunged the stage into darkness mid-way through a first night performance by the
Manifest Theatre Group – and served to reveal the professionalism of this newly-formed group.
The five-minute wait must have been a nerve-racking one for the members of cast on stage.
But the audience was given no sign of this when actor and producer Dennis Murfitt pointed out that the
place was set in the 1950s when electricity strikes were not unknown.
Valerie Taylor, the assistant producer, was an excellent choice for the part of Dame Beatrice.
She had a great stage presence and a particularly memorable deep and booming voice.
I am sure that no-one will be disappointed in this first production from the group, it their other
performances go as well as the first night – black-outs excepted!
They will be staging Sweeney Todd in the autumn, and would like to hear from anyone -
especially men – who would like to audition.
(standing - Brenda, Dennis, Viv, Adrian, Kevin)
(lying/kneeling - Val, Jane, Yvonne)