Players scale new heights with a classic performance

THE St George’s Players in Morpeth scaled new heights last week when they gave a brilliant portrayal of the JB Priestley classic, When We Are Married, in the Church Hall.

The group, which already sets itself high standards, reached an entirely different level with this latest offering, arguably giving its best performance on stage for many years in light of the enormity of the production.

To that end, Director Roy Boulton deserves the highest praise as the esteemed players under his leadership gave a polished showing.

Just to put the icing on the celebration cake, the group certainly appears to have unearthed a gem in 17-year-old newcomer Karina Brown, who was quite simply outstanding.

The players certainly put every ounce of effort into their two stage productions during a calendar year, lending weight to the adage of ‘getting out what you put in’, and playing to three packed houses is the least this group deserves.

Priestley pens a very intriguing script, with a doubt as to whether three couples who come together to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary were in fact legally married on the same day 25 years previous.

The ensuing revelation leads to tempers becoming fractious and hence the opportunity for the players to carry their parts out to the full with comedy, as well as drama, coming to the fore.

However, among a cast of 14, Miss Brown’s debut as maid Ruby Burtle was as good as any I’ve witnessed in many years of being the resident critic.

She made her bow in the first act and ironically had the final say just before curtain call, but the audience on opening night warmed to her bubbly and immensely confident performance.

The three couples were played by Jared Johnson and Sue Elliott (Alderman Joseph and Maria Helliwell); Robin Herron and Margaret Johnson (Councillor Albert and Annie Parker) and George Knox and Heather Robinson as Herbert and Clara Soppitt.

Ron Forster as photographer Henry Ormonroyd and Ilona Hilton as old flame Lottie Grady were excellent in their roles, with support from Carmel Adamson (Mrs Northrop), Tim Clark (Gerald Forbes), Emma Banfield (Nancy Holmes), Graeme Trotter (Rev Clement Mercer) and Harry Adamson as Fred Dyson.

The stage set and the costumes were other notable features.

All in all, it was another highly commendable effort by the players, who continue to go from strength to strength.