From Comedy To Blood and Thunder

From the Worthing Herald of 8 Apr 1938 we read about a new play by the Lancing Amateur Dramatic Society which presented their first play, “A Warm Corner” at the Parish Hall in Lancing from 17-19 Nov 1936 and today are the Lancing Repertory Players:

There are no half measures about Lancing Amateur Dramatic Society. Its first departure from comedy goes to the other extreme.
 “Hawk Island,” which showed in the Pariah Hall on Wednesday and Thursday, was blood and thunder of the ripest kind. It was probably the wisest choice tho Society could have made for its first attempt at “straight” stuff.
In anything more subtle, one or two raw edges might have shown rather badly. As it was, the action carried the show  over the critical spots and the audience enjoyed itself hugely.
If the producer does his job, the Society should be ready for better things after another two shows. It has at has at least three good potential principals.
The thing he has to watch is the general flow of speech and action. In “Hawk Island” there was too much “A” saying his piece and “B” taking over with a click. “A” and “B” are parts of the same scene and they will have to remember it.
Some members of the cast might take Madge Perry as a model. She moves about the stage as though she is not afraid of its falling to pieces, she speaks like a human being, and is not embarrassed by what she should do with her hands. Harry J. Wilcock and M. James Bowies were nearly as smooth.
The great thing about the cast in general was that it never forgot that its job was to keep the play on the move. The production was never dull. As long as a company has this kind of enthusiasm, its shows, whatever their faults, will always be worth seeing.
Other members of the cast were: Reg Green, Archie Thomas, James Bowles, Phyllis Perry, Archie Colbourne, Joan Pearce, Phyllis Young, Reg Perry, Harry J. Wilcock, John Hunt, Madge Perry, William Wiseman, George M Young.
The play was produced by M. James Bowles. Mr Woodhams was in charge of the lighting, and Silas Host managed the effects. – A.S.L.
And we read further in the Worthing Gazette of 13 Apr 1938:

“HAWK ISLAND” AT LANCING.

A FLAY OF UNEXPECTED TWISTS.

Amateur Dramatic Society In a Thriller.

In ” Hawk Island,” a play of unexpected twists, the Lancing Amateur Dramatic Society chose a moat interesting thriller for presentation in Lancing Parish Hall on Wednesday and Thursday in aid of the Lancing Distress Fund. The plot revolves round the murder of one of the members of a party in a lonely island home, and the production suggested very well the eerie atmosphere of the setting. Moreover, the element of surprise was maintained until the end. because one never knew quite enough about the characters to be absolutely sure what they were going to do next.
The Lancing A.D.S. have their faults, of course, as have all dramatic societies—for example, they have yet to master thoroughly the difficult art of timing, which is essential if the point of each line is to be fully brought out—but almost everything they do is done with an easy naturalism which comes from being quite at home on the stage and which is a valuable quality in a play such as “Hawk Island,” which could easily be reduced to mere melodrama.

Light and Easy Touch

In the part of the unfortunate host accused of murder as a result of a harmless hoax, Archie Thomas did very well because be did not take the part too seriously and lent it a light, easy touch which made the character a very pleasant fellow indeed.
As Tom Austen, the real murderer, M. James Bowles, the producer, cleverly suggested the sinister air which surrounded him even in his lighter moments; and as his wife Phyllis Perry gave a sensitive and restrained portrayal of a rather tragic figure.
Reginald Green looked the part to perfection and was very amusing as the detective story writer somewhat out of his depth when it came to real life detection; Archie Colbourne was a likeable Paul Cooper: and as Paul’s wife Joan Pearce dithered most successfully, to the delight of the audience

Rest of the Cast

Peg Perry fitted well into the picture as the ultra-sensitive Stella Wayne: Phyllis Young was reassuringly cool and collected as thrice-married Louise Hollister: Harry J. Wilcox portrayed well the mixture of weakness and gallantry which made up the character of   the light-hearted philanderer who is murdered in the course of that eventful night; George  M Young was direct and reliable as Captain Westover; and a well-drawn study in bluff seamanship came from John Hunt.
The cast was completed by two very good performances—those of Madge Perry, who was refreshingly down-to-earth as the youthful Sally Rogers, and of William Wiseman, who was a perfect butler, efficient, sympathetic and un-exaggerated.
Lighting and effects were in the capable hands of Messrs Woodhams and S. Hunt respectively.
George Maurice Young and Phyllis Young (née Divall) mentioned in the above articles were husband of wife. George being my 3rd cousin 2x removed.
George was born 16 Aug 1907 in Minster, Kent and married Phyllis May Divall on 5 Sep 1934 at All Saints in Crowborough, Sussex.
Wedding
George was a School Teacher in Worthing where they lived at 24 Grand Avenue in 1939. George was also involved in the new Tennis Club at the Manor Ground in Lancing in 1938 and was the club Secretary.

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