Bedside The Seaside

Thursday, 5 January 1961 - 7:30pm
Friday, 6 January 1961 - 7:30pm
Leslie Sands
Bessie Lamb
Hornby Institute, Main Street, Hornby
Mrs. AustinMary Lamb
Pat MarlowBetty White
FlorrieSheila Halstead
Tony BrettMichael Goth
Ethel PearsonJean Hallam
Wilf PearsonTom Halhead
SallyJean Whittam
Mr. PepperEric Halhead
Mrs. PepperMary Ashton

The first play in Leslie Sands' trilogy of seaside capers at the Seaview Guest House. The tyrannical landlady Mrs Austin terrorises her lodgers with her bread and butter pudding, while newlyweds Mr and Mrs Pepper realise that marriage is no honeymoon and Wilf and Ethel Pearson try to prevent their daughter Sally from running off with a local 'theatrical' trickster. Chaos abounds in this stormy seaside resort.


HOW many seaside boarding-house jokes have you heard? Ranging,from the landlady’s do’s and don’ts to the inevitable honeymoon couple doing their best to look as though they have been married for 50 years, all are unearthed in Leslie Sands’ “Beside the Seaside” which Hornby Drama Group presented in Hornby New Hall last week.

Although Sands’ comedy is probably as funny as most and certainly as funny as many, its huge success depended more on the merits of the cast than of the play. It was very well cast, character work was excellent and greatly to the credit of the players, they managed to get through the corn and cliché of the third act’s emotional outburst with reasonable conviction.

To producer Bessie Lamb must go the credit for the production's feeling of unity, the imaginative use of playing space and the way in which movement was used to underline the dialogue. There were
very few lines thrown away and although some of the cast forgot to ‘wait for the laughs’ during the opening scene, this quickly improved.

For this production, the group had introduced someone to give special study to the, costuming of the play and to key colours to mood and this, in the hands of Mabel Midgley, was unobtrusively successful.

Individually and collectively the cast worked well. An outstanding performance was given by Mary Lamb in the role of the boarding-house keeper. She had plenty of attack, and was completely within her part and her expression, facial and vocal, was perfect.

Eric Halhead, as a bashful bridegroom, repeated his success of last year’s production when, as in this year’s performance, he brought down the house when he appeared in pair of long woollen under
pants! He was given good support by Mary Ashton who gave a well-thought out performance as his pretty young wife.

Tom Halhead and Jean Hallam gave the play some of its funniest moments and, with Jean Whittam as their daughter, coped well with the near hysterics demanded of them by the third act.

Sheila Halstead’s delicious pertness and Cockney accent created something special in the role of the maid.

Michael Goth, In an unsympathetic part, played with conviction and sustained a Canadian accent with consistency and Betty White created as much impact as was possible in the author’s not very well defined role of the wife.

The thoughtfully detailed decor was by John McClements.

Stage hands were Harry Dixon, Bert Biddlestone, Douglas James; properties, June Batty, Jean James: sound effects Philip Halstead; prompt, Mildred Parker.