ST George’s Community Players are hoping to play to three packed houses when they perform JB Priestley’s When We Are Married next week.
The production is thought to be the biggest the group has tackled since The Darling Buds of May and rehearsals are going well.
When We Are Married is a comedy set prior to the First World War in the heart of Northern England with three respectable and well-to-do couples who were married on the same day, in the same church, by the same vicar, or were they?
As they meet to celebrate 25 years of bliss, disaster strikes as they learn that they are not quite as respectably married as they thought they were.
The home truths begin to fly like confetti and as word spreads of the problem, an old flame of easy virtue returns and other uninvited guests begin to call.
A bibulous photographer is also due to arrive from the local rag. Will the lid be kept on the scandal? Will wedded bliss be restored or will it all end in tears?
The minister of St George’s United Reformed Church Ron Forster is preparing to take his first role for six years – not as the Rev Clement Mercer, who is being played by Graeme Trotter, but as Henry Ormonroyd.
“Other commitments meant I wouldn’t have been able to devote the time necessary in the past, but I’m delighted to be back on stage in what is not a very big part, more of a supporting cameo role,” he said.
“If I couldn’t have landed the part of Ormonroyd, I would have asked for the role of the Reverend – now all I have to do is lend Graeme the costume.”
Director Roy Boulton said: “Rehearsals started in early January and have been progressing well ever since.
“As is often the case with the players the whole cast is rarely seen together prior to the dress rehearsal and with one of our number, Graeme Trotter, abroad until March this tradition is being maintained. However, with a large cast, 14 characters appearing on stage, this is not as serious a problem as it would be with a cast of four.
“Several familiar faces are numbered among the cast, but it is a pleasure to welcome one young newcomer in 17-year-old Karina Brown and two people who have not appeared with the players for some years, namely Ron Forster and Ilona Hilton.
He added: “It is also splendid that our links with other societies, in particular those of Whitley Bay and the Priory Theatre at Tynemouth, are maintained through the tremendous work of the staging and set design and members of these societies having acting parts in the production.
“The fact that the play has not been updated and is still set prior to the First World War has given rise to some anxieties over costumes.
“The local charity shops rarely go back that far and we are indebted to the efforts of members acquiring costumes from other societies, as well as to the skill and ingenuity of our own members in making and adapting.
“With a large cast, obviously some only appear for a short time within some acts, but all have willingly turned up to as many rehearsals as possible, even if they have had to do very little on some evenings.
“Thankfully, all 14 only appear together at the curtain call otherwise the scope for movement on a small stage would be minimal, more like a game of musical chairs.
“Hopefully, we will play to three full houses and the efforts of all involved will be thoroughly rewarded.”
The performances will take place in St George’s Church Hall, Morpeth, from Thursday, March 22, to Saturday, March 24, with curtain up at 7.30pm on all three evenings.
Tickets are available from the Chantry Tourist Information Centre, costing £5 or £4 for concessions.