Worm's Eye View

Friday, 9 January 1959 - 7:30pm
Saturday, 10 January 1959 - 7:30pm
R F Delderfield
Bessie Lamb
Hornby Institute, Main Street, Hornby
Pop, a last-war airman, re-enlistedTom Halhead
The Duke, an aircraftman awaiting aircrew trainingJohn Holt
Mark, Coporal in charge of the billetHugh Batty
Mrs Bounty, the LandladyPhyllis Holt
Thelma, Mrs Bounty's maidShirley Fisher
Mr Bounty, Mrs Bounty's husbandBill Yare
Sydney Spooner, Mrs Bounty's sonPeter Smalley
TaffyPhilip Halstead
PorterKenneth Lamb
Bella, Mrs Bounty's daughterDorothy Bracken
Sqn Leader Briarly, C.O. of the unitEdward Hallam

1942 - three airman are billeted with the Bounty family. The irksome rules that have been imposed on them and the fact that the heating has been turned off and the piano locked leads them to rebel.


Enthusiastic audiences acclaim "Worm's Eye View"

ENTHUSIASTIC audiences in Hornby’s village hall on Friday and Saturday evenings proved that, although somewhat dated, K, F. Delderfield’s war - time comedy, “Worm’s Eye View.” is still irresistibly funny.

To-day, when in the minds of most people billeting is probably something to be associated vaguely with the W.V.S., the play has lost much of its point and its effect on a present-day audience is chiefly comic.

In Hornby Drama Groups production, the more boisterous scenes - particularly the return of the drunken Duke with Taffy perched precariously on the shoulders of Porter, his feet squelching in jelly - brought the house down. Unfortunately the players did not wait for the laughs to subside and the audience missed some of the lines.

The setting was perfect - bobbled curtains, wildly floral wall-paper coupled with one of vaguely outer-space design, the inevitable potted plant and an ancient fireplace creating an atmosphere of indescribable dreariness.

This is only the second play which the group has presented and the cast was composed chiefly of members who did not appear in the first production.

Possibly the most difficult part in the play was that of Bella. the repressed daughter of Mrs. Bounty. About the rest of Delderfield’s characters, with the exception perhaps of Mark, the corporal in charge of the billet, there is nothing particularly subtle - they are easily recognisable “types.” Bella could also have been made a recognisable type, yet the story calls for her to be something a little more. Dorothy Bracken made a very creditable attempt to create of Bella a real person with whom one could have sympathy. She had an opportunity to use a sweet singing voice.

As Mark, Hugh Batty’s quiet voice and restrained performance contrasted well with the thoughtless exuberance of the other young airmen. His scenes with Bella were most effective.

Much of the comedy of the play was created by Philip Halstead as Taffy of the wonderful Welsh accent. Kenneth Lamb as the cockney Porter and John Holt as the amorous Duke. Scenes in which they were involved frequently developed into a riot and the audience loved them. The choice of Tom Halhead as Pop, one of the “old-uns” re-enlisted, was perfect. He looked the part and gave a performance which was easy, relaxed and completely natural.

Bill Yare and Phyllis Holt as Mr. and Mrs. Bounty were the recognisable domineering “stage” landlady and the hen-pecked husband and theirs were entertaining portrayals as was that of Peter Smalley as their pompous son Sidney whose black eye was a triumph for the make-up department!

Shirley Fisher's first appearance in a play on the new stage was as a maid with a difference. Her part as Thelma, Mrs. Bounty's maid, was not large, but, pretty enough to turn any airman's eye, she gave an amusing performance. Edward Hallam was a sympathetic C.O.

The play was directed by Bessie Lamb.

Stage managers were Mary Lamb, Harry Dixon, Mildred Parker, Richard Towers; stage electrician, Bert Biddlestone; prompt, Jean Hallam; scenic designer, Hugh Batty and members of the group; garden backing, Leslie Cheeseman.

The group's next production will be in May.