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Dramatic Society play is a marriage made in heaven

Grantham Dramatic Society's latest production was J. B. Priestley's When We Are Married at the Guildhall Arts Centre theatre for four nights last week.

As one comes to expect from GDS, the play was executed with some aplomb as the packed audience followed the fortunes and misfortunes of three Yorkshire couples celebrating their joint silver wedding anniversaries - or so they thought.

Set in September 1908, the action took place at the home of the Helliwells - Alderman Joe and Maria - played by the haughty Tony Hine and Joy Wilson respectively.

Their guests for the celebrations were the hen-pecked Herbert Soppitt (Andy Antony) and his wife Clara (Heather Butterworth), along with loud, proud Councillor Albert Parker (John Sheppard) and undervalued spouse Annie (Lis Connor).

The celebrations are cut short when the three couples find out that none of them were legally married.

Further agitation was caused by scarlet woman Lottie Grady, played with relish by Geraldine Lee, who appeared to have claims on all three husbands' affections.

This, of course, caused them all much consternation before they then began to re-evaluate their 'marriages' and the worms started to turn - with much comedic effect.

Eventually, the status quo was returned when quintessential vicar Hugh Butterworth, playing the Rev Mercer, discovered that the marriages were legal after all.

The most memorable and amusing character of the play was red-nosed newspaper photographer Henry Ormonroyd - with Nick Croft filling the part much better than his deliberately ill-fitting clothes - who slowly became more inebriated and disorientated as the story unfolded.

Allison Allen was also excellent as housekeeper Mrs Northrop, as was Eleanor Johnson as maid Ruby Birtle.

In fact there were no weak links, as is the norm with GDS productions, with the cast completed by Patrick Randell as newspaper reporter Fred Dyson, Will Clamp as Lane End chapel organist Gerald Forbes and Deborah Owen as his lover Nancy Holmes.

Behind the scenes were director - Rosemary Gibson; producer - Adi Bond; stage manager - Vicky Aves; prompt - Suzanne Slack; set design and build - Martin Brewin; costume - Heather Butterworth, Rosemary Gibson, Marilyn Campbell, Klaire Gadsby; hair and make-up - Chloe Short, Caitlin Hood, Kathy Bradshaw; props - Ophelie Klarczyk; front of house - Mark Brown, Margaret Kendall, Gillie Vincent, Tony Jackson, Christine Sheppard, Klaire Gadsby; lighting design - Nick Elliott; sound effects - Stephen Marsland, Nick Elliott; technical operation - Guildhall team, Nick Elliott; backstage crew - Daniele Petruzzo; marketing and graphic design - Helen Pack, Allison Allen, the company; photography - Adi Bond; programme - Allison Allen, Helen Pack.

With all back to normal in the fictitious town of Clecklewyke, attention now turns to Grantham Dramatic Society's next run in November when their chosen production will be 'Blackadder The Third' - sounds like a cunning plan.


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